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Mindreef Splits SOAPScope Into Four

SOA testing vendor Mindreef has announced version 6.1 of SOAPScope, its flagship product for verifying that XML documents and Web services comply with industry standards and internal polices. The main new features are support for the WS-Security stack and a new XML-based scripting language, aimed at documenting test procedures in an executable format. Most users will probably find XML scripting more useful in the short term, as a machine-readable spec is both faster and less error-prone than a person trying to follow a manual. Support for WS-Security is currently driven mostly by compliance mandates, but could become genuinely useful to an increasing number of customers as Web services grow to span multiple organizations.

With the new release, Mindreef also has split the product into four editions, each aimed at a different type of user. As with Windows Vista, the aim is to target different customers by their differing requirements (and their differing budgets), but the effect could be customer confusion. Mindreef says that the user differentiation is driven in part by the different groups within an organization that develop applications, with Web services often developed by individual business users rather than a central IT department.

Three of the editions have overlapping feature sets, but some unique features so that none is a subset of the others. SOAPscope Developer is a single-user desktop product aimed at individual developers, many of whom may be in departments other than IT. SOAPscope Tester is aimed at quality-assurance, and can execute scripts written using Mindreef's XML format. SOAPscope Architect extends into design-time governance, competing in part with SOA repository products. SOAPscope Server includes all the features of the other three editions, alongside multiuser versioning and the ability to create testing scripts.

Mindreef says that a majority of SOAPscope customers buy it through a subscription license, with annual fees ranging from $299 for the Developer to $1,499 for the Server edition. Perpetual licenses costs the same as two years' subcription, so most users choose the subscription model to gain access to support and updates rather than for short-term cost savings.