Serena upgrades team-based app dev suite

Serena Software on Monday is upgrading its ChangeMan Professional suite for team-based application development, formerly called Merant Professional, by taking out the Merant Tracker product and replacing it with Serena TeamTrack for change control.

Improvements in collaboration and integration with the Visual Studio .Net and Eclipse IDEs also are highlights of the new release, called Serena ChangeMan Professional 9. Serena merged with Merant last year and the suite has been called Merant Professional and PVCS (Polycon Version Control System) Professional in various incarnations. The suite also is classified as an application lifecycle management package by Serena. It is used to develop systems such as financial applications.

Serant believes users will welcome the switch to TeamTrack, which has been integrated with Version Manager. TeamTrack manages change requests and tracks defects and issues.

"TeamTrack has rich process and workflow capabilities that Tracker did not have. It has Web-based access so it's available to more users in a distributed mode," said Steve Pisenti, a senior product marketing manager at Serena.

TeamTrack and Tracker are alike, according to analyst Melissa Webster, a research director at IDC.

"It turns out some of the same team that wrote the Tracker product actually wrote the TeamTrack product, so they're very similar," Webster said.

Other components of the suite include Serena ChangeMan Version Manager for version control and Serena ChangeMan Builder, which is an enterprise build system for performing builds of software artifacts.

Collaboration capabilities include a new Web-based interface to extend benefits of Professional to internal and external persons such as outsourced developers, QA managers, and build managers, Serena said.

Tighter integration of TeamTrack and Version Manager with Visual Studio .Net and Eclipse-based IDEs lets developers work within their familiar environment. "What it means is that developers now stay inside the IDEs to utilize all the capabilities of these products," Pisenti said.

Electronic signature support has been added to TeamTrack, enabling authentication of authorized personnel and recorded audit trails. This functionality helps IT persons enforce requirements pertaining to regulatory and audit compliance.

Serena views its product as competing with offerings from Borland Software, MKS, and Rational. Professional has an edge in distributed support for Linux, mainframes, Unix, and Windows as well as in regulatory compliance, according to the company.

Available now, Professional 9 costs US$1,700 for a named user license.

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