This topic introduces and explains CAST Application Intelligence Platform (AIP) and its functional components in a brief.
- What is CAST AIP
- Understand CAST AIP Functional Components
What is CAST AIP
The CAST Application Intelligence Platform (AIP) is the leading enterprise-grade software quality assessment and performance measurement solution that analyzes and measures the structural quality, complexity, and size of software applications. Using highly-sophisticated language analyzers and almost a thousand industry best practice rules for building software, CAST AIP identifies the quality lapses in an application and provides precise guidance on how to fix the problems to IT executives and their teams. It reads and analyzes, by semantically including scripting and interface languages, 3GLs, 4GLs, Web and mainframe technologies, across all tiers of a complex application at the source code level and measures adherence to architectural and coding standards. CAST AIP is available for all the major programming languages, databases and integration middleware used for enterprise application development.
After the static analysis of the application, CAST AIP generates actionable information that is ready to consume by key players of the organization. The information is based on numerous computations that are performed on the delivered application source code.
CAST AIP has a four-step high level workflow. The main stages of the workflow to analyze and measure a software application are –
- Information Collection - Collects application specific information from project, source code management system, databases, and so on.
- Delivery of application source code as a software package – Creates a software package using the information collected at previous step and delivers the software application for analysis and measurement.
- Processing of the software package - Analyzes and measures the application by performing various checks such as dependency management, simulation capability, code pattern scanning, architecture checking, dataflow analysis, quality rule management, transaction finding Function point estimation and so on.
- Displays appropriate output for different users – displays the analysis result or output of appropriate information depending on different users and their needs through various dashboards, Reports, 3rd party integration and so on.
CAST AIP workflow (click to enlarge):
The workflow is based on CAST Management and Operations Technology and takes into account all your specific details and requirements related to application structure, involved technologies, assessment business case and so on.
Understand CAST AIP Functional Components
From a macroscopic standpoint, the CAST AIP functional workflow components are as follows (click to enlarge):
Register the application
Project Managers use the CAST AIC Portal to register the application they want to analyze and measure.
The CAST AIC Portal is a web application provided in the form of a WAR file and needs to be deployed on a supported Application Server. It is made available to all those that are responsible for delivering source code for analysis (Delivery Managers). It can either be installed on a dedicated machine, or on a machine that is already being used by another CAST web application. Files are exchanged directly between the CAST AIC Portal and the CAST Management Studio via the Delivery folder therefore each component must be able to interact with the other either directly (same machine) or via a network share.
Deliver the source code
Delivery Managers use the CAST Delivery Manager Tool (DMT) to deliver the source code for the application (that has been registered by the Project Managers).
The CAST Delivery Manager Tool is a standalone application that can be downloaded from the CAST AIC Portal and installed on Delivery Managers' workstations. It entirely manages the discovery, selection, extraction, packaging and delivery of source code of an Application (or part of it) ready for analysis in the CAST Management Studio. Packaged source code is delivered to the Delivery folder via the CAST AIC Portal and is then retrieved by the CAST AI Administrator using the CAST Management Studio.
Analyze and measure the application
CAST AI Administrators use the CAST Management Studio to:
- retrieve the delivered source code from the Delivery folder
- configure the analysis of the application's source code
- run an analysis of the application's source code
- generate a snapshot of the application's source code
- make data available to the CAST Health Dashboard / Engineering Dashboard for investigation
The CAST Management Studio is installed as part of the CAST setup. It is a traditional Windows software application that is used to manage all aspects of an Application's source code analysis and snapshot generation. Data generated by the CAST Management Studio is fed into data storage services for use by the CAST dashboards.
Other software Applications can be used to configure and exploit analysis data:
- CAST Architecture Checker
- CAST Transaction Configuration Center
- CAST Enlighten
- CAST Report Generator/Report Center
Access analysis and measurement results
End-users (consumers) use browser based dashboards to investigate the analysis and snapshot data generated by the CAST AI Administrator using the CAST Management Studio. There are various dashboards:
- Health Dashboard (CAST HD) - this dashboard is the default entry point for data investigation and must always be installed. It provides visibility into applications and portfolio structural quality that includes CAST health measures, compliance scores, risk indicators, critical violation counts and lists top critical violations to coding best practices, technical sizing and all related statistics
- Engineering Dashboard (ED) - this dashboard is optional and its use is dependent on your license agreement - it can be accessed directly from the Health Dashboard and provides more detail about the violations and their root causes at specific application component level.
Legacy CAST Engineering Dashboard (CED) - this dashboard provides the drill-down capability from the Health Dashboard into the underlying AIP repository.
- Legacy CAST Discovery Portal (CDP) is a browser-based portal that provides a variety of technical information that describes the application architecture down to the source code level.
Each dashboard is provided in the form of a WAR file that is deployed on a supported Application Server and data is taken directly from the data storage services.