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LoadRunner 11.5 VuGen – Why SharpDevelop?

Many folks are probably wondering why HP decided to change the engine for VuGen to the SharpDevelop platform in LoadRunner 11.5. I recently posed this question to Shane Evans, the product  manager for LoadRunner:

“There were a lot of reasons for the decision. We looked at Visual Studio and Eclipse as options, among others, but each had challenges. Eclipse would have been nice, [but] the whole Java thing was a deal breaker…The team was able to build in SharpDevelop in just 2 months…  We also had the experience of our Service Test development team to build on.  There were a lot of other factors, of course. It actually took over 2 years to make the decision, but we feel pretty confident it was the right one.”

SharpDevelop is an open-source integrated development environment (IDE) for C#, VB.NET and Boo projects. If you can’t afford to purchase Microsoft’s Visual Studio project or don’t want to use their “express” versions for free, this is an alternative for you. There is only one book available on SharpDevelop, called “Dissecting a C# Application: Inside SharpDevelop”,  which you can read about here. There is also an open -source .NET assembly browser and decompiler called ILSpy, which you can check out here.

This does not mean that Vugen scripts are now written in C#. It means that Vugen the product is based on this underlying IDE. Scripts are still recorded as usual, and the code within “script view” in Vugen is still good old C code – for now at least. We believe that this move to SharpDevelop represents a sea change in the fundamental engine the automation tools are based on, and you should probably be looking for this to expand to other areas like Service Test, Unified Functional Test (QuickTest Pro), and other places. We’re hoping that this makes additional features and bug fixes easier to develop and release to the user communities, as well as opens the door to extending the capabilities by anyone. Stuart Moncrieff of JDS Australia had a great session at HP Discover about being able to make Vugen extensible.

However, as Stuart notes in his blog entry for the new 11.5 release, this doesn’t mean Vugen is now open-source:

SharpDevelop is licenced under the LGPL, which means that anyone who extends SharpDevelop is only obliged to release their own code if they make changes directly to the LGPL code i.e. they can freely use the SharpDevelop DLLs in their own products and can extend SharpDevelop with add-ins. Also, it is likely that HP has negotiated an even more liberal license directly with the SharpDevelop copyright holder (AlphaSierraPapa), so it is possible that they have made changes to the SharpDevelop core. HP has used many open source components before without having to release their source code.

We’d like to hear from you about this major shift in the LoadRunner product and the change to SharpDevelop. Do you like the new IDE?

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