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A slight change in direction

By , June 16, 2014 4:11 pm

When we started the business in 2002 we just wanted to launch a C/C++ memory analysis tool that could do things none of the other memory analysis tools could do. We succeeded. And 12 years later the other C/C++ tools still don’t offer the features that C++ Memory Validator does.

After a while we realised that some of the techniques we had developed for C++ Memory Validator could be used to develop other C++ related tools. This resulted in tools for Code Coverage, Performance Profiling, Thread Analysis and Flow Tracing. The last one is still an experiment – we’ve never been quite sure where to go with it.

Lots of Languages

Then we got a bit ambitious releasing versions of these tools for Java, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP, Lua and an experimental in house version for Tcl. We even considered creating versions for Erlang, Eiffel, Go! and other languages. You could say we got a bit enthusiastic with the idea of trying to support all languages with a similar user interface. We created the first commercial tools for Ruby in 2005 before Ruby on Rails had really taken off. We also created some interesting tools for JavaScript (for the Firefox browser) but keeping up with the very brittle changes made each release by the Firefox team placed ridiculous demands on our software team. It was very flattering to be approached by a leading router manufacturer regarding our Lua tools and could we build them a custom version?

But when you are first you can’t always predict the way the market with go. With all of the above languages, except possibly Java, the market has resoundingly chosen Linux. Which leaves tools that run on Windows in a precarious position. As for Java, Eclipse and the toolsuite around Eclipse are the dominant tools.


Maintaining all these tools has become a distraction. We have lost sight of where we should be focussing. So we have come to a decision.

C++ and .Net

Effective immediately we are only going to focus on our C/C++ tools and .Net tools. This will allow us to provide better tools, a better experience and better results for the users of our tools.

Beta Tools

With the exception of C++ Bug Validator all other beta tool programmes will cease immediately. There will be no more software updates for any beta tool other than C++ Bug Validator.

Java, JavaScript, Lua, Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby

All tools for Java, JavaScript, Lua, Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby will be removed from evaluation programmes and are no longer available for sale. Existing customers will continue to receive software updates until the end of their software maintenance period.

Of course this will come as a surprise to some of our customers and we’re very sorry about that. But you have to admit when tools have reached the end of their life.

The whole purpose of this change is to allow us to provide a better result for the users of the core tools of our business rather than a not so good result for a larger group of people. Excellence requires focus and that is what we are going to do.


In the future we may re-package some of the retired tools as free tools. But we’re not sure what direction to go with that. It’s not just a case of making them available for download. The most likely tools to make a re-appearance are for Lua, Python and possibly Perl.

What about JavaScript? Well, maybe. But if they reappear it will be commercially as they take a lot of effort to make work with Firefox.

Why don’t we open source them? Sorry, we can’t do that. Large parts of these tools are part of the C++ and .Net tools.

An easier way to work

By , June 6, 2014 10:30 am

April 8th 2014 heralded a new era – that of no security updates for ageing Windows XP machines. Many people still use Windows XP and they are now being forced to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 or to a different operating system altogether.

For users of our software tools the natural jump is to Windows 7 as Windows 8 is just too much of a change. That said I’m writing this on a Windows 8 machine. Either way it doesn’t matter, after Windows XP you are in the world of User Account Control where any action requiring more privileges than your account has is met with a challenge dialog to ensure the action was requested by you and not a malicious piece of software.

Until now our software has always run with a “requireAdministrator” manifest so that the software runs with the maximum privileges available. This made the software easy to write but not so pleasant to use: Everytime you started the software you would be greeted with a User Account Control dialog – even when run from the command line for automated use.

For some people the solution was to disable User Account Control for the specific tool. That works, but it requires effort. But the whole point of software tools is for us to do the hard work to make life easier for the user of our software.

A better way was required – make our tools work without needing to run with any special privileges. We’ve just released an update to all our software tools that fulfils this aim. You can still run the tools with administrator privileges if you desire, but for most actions with the exception of a few specialist uses the software tools run perfectly in interactive and command line automated forms without the need for administrator privileges.

All existing customers with valid software maintenance have been notified of the updates (check your inbox). All evaluation versions have been updated to run without administrator privileges.

For a more technical insight into this work, read An End to Unwanted UAC Prompts.

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