Last week Telelogic sent out a last-minute announcement that they were holding a Webinar detailing features of DOORS 9. According to the hosts of the Webinar, this was one of their biggest Web events yet, with about 200 attendees.
I’ve been holding off on writing my opinion of this seminar for one reason: Telelogic said that they were going to release the seminar for public viewing. I have yet to receive an announcement that they have done so but did find these slides on the forums (thanks guys!)
Update: Telelogic finally sent out the link to the Webinar. You can view it here.
It’s obvious to me that DOORS is one of Telelogic’s most popular products. Indeed, it seems to me that DOORS Is Telelogic’s flagship product. It’s the most popular requirements management software in the world.
And therein lies the problem.
The features announced in the above slides were, for the most part, underwhelming.
In the webinar, Richard Wilson spent a bit of time detailing a single sign-on for multiple DOORS databases using Telelogic Directoy Server (TDS). I can see how this can be a nice thing. If a company has multiple DOORS databases, users only need to be created one time and they can have their passwords synchronized across databases automatically.
Rather than being a feature of DOORS 9, it seems to me to be a feature of TDS. And it’s a nice feature, and it was likely very complex to code and implement…but is there *really* a need for it?
If they polled DOORS users and administrators asking “What feature would you most like to see in DOORS,” my guess is a single sign-on would not be high on that list. Again, it’s nice to have, but it’s not must-have.
They also showed off some sort of integration between Microsoft’s IDE team development environment, Team Foundation Server and DOORS. This is nice, but I have not yet worked in an MS development shop that used DOORS. For those that do, I’m sure this is positive. After demoing this, Richard Wilson announced that it would be released for free, and then apologized for this, saying he didn’t like announcing things like that. I am hoping he simply misspoke, as free is generally good.
The last thing that was demonstrated was what some of you know as ALFRED (which, incidentally, is one of the worst project codenames I have ever heard). DOORS 9.0 will feature a Web interface.
The person who was demoing this basically admitted that Telelogic has done nothing to improve DOORSNet since it was initially developed 8 years ago. He didn’t say that outright, it was something more like, “Since we developed DOORSNet 8 years ago, the Web has drastically changed.” Meaning, DOORSNet has not.
For those that haven’t ever used DOORSNet, it is an interface for DOORS to publish Web pages and it looks like it came straight from 1997. I evaluated DOORSNet for a company that had purchased a license for it, and we decided that even though we paid for it, that DOORSNet was nowhere near enterprise-ready. But I digress….
Anyhow, DOORS 9.0 will ship with a Web component, and details of how that Web component will work are pretty scarce right now. They didn’t go into how the server topology would work or anything like that. They did demo DOORS and a new discussion type feature that would work with both the Web and software clients. But editing of requirements in DOORS won’t likely happen for at least another year.
This is a good step forward, but still underwhelming.
In this day and age of huge product announcements, Telelogic needs to get on the ball, and they need to start listening to what their user base wants instead of what their internal marketing team wants. Case in point–they have to figure out pricing for DOORSNet users who will want to be able to edit requirements in the Web interface. Translation: Web editing is going to cost extra. Further, Web editing is going to dilute some of the need for DOORS/Traceline, so why not roll Traceline into the basic DOORS implementation?
There will still be no garbage collection for DXL. I’m guessing multi-threading is nowhere near the horizon. And the UI will likely still need to be cleaned up (ex: why is Copy Objects not located within the Edit menu?) Again, there is some ok stuff here, but nothing that I would call a major upgrade.
Finally, I recently attended a webinar devoted to Synergy’s new release. And it was night-and-day compared to the DOORS webinar. They went into very technical details and it was obvious that these improvements to Synergy were something to get excited about.
I would really, really like to get excited about DOORS again. In my opinion, the biggest feature of the past 6 years has been link history, and if you really think about it, it should have been implemented long before that. We just got smooth scrolling last year, and that technology has been around since, what, 1990?
DOORS is long in the tooth and I really hope IBM can push it to where it really needs to be.
There’s always next year, or two years from now, right guys? Maybe DOORS will get some real competition one day and Telelogic will start to sweat. Having nearly no real competition leads to unimaginative product development nearly every time.