See Through the Technology Framework Cobweb to Rationalize IT Projects


The value of using established technology frameworks is proven. By adopting a software component for which many are skilled and experienced, it is easier for developers and IT managers to maintain a lingua franca.

For example, using a third-party framework decreases the risk of having specialized and abstract software components that can complicate application builds and potentially make them inoperable with other systems. Frameworks also offer distributed quality. If a new feature or bug fix is delivered for an application, all components using that framework are automatically impacted in a positive way.

Popular frameworks have also paved the way for mass collaboration in open source communities, where users can report issues, share fix ideas and eliminate defects in commonly used software. Indirectly, they also help HR look for the right profiles. Absolutely no debate.

The Dark Side of Frameworks

While frameworks can offer a baseline for progress, the wide variety of languages used today can often cause challenges at the Project Portfolio Management level. Because microservices is still a relatively new concept, applications developed in this manner still tend to be siloed from the rest of the organization. This can lead to a discrepancy in the consistency of frameworks used within a single IT shop.

As IT organizations look to become more agile and interoperable, it is important to ensure that:

  • Applications which share the same technical needs (for example, data persistence management) also rely on the same set of frameworks. Why do three related applications need to use Spring MVC, OpenXava and Apache Struts to perform the same command? Multiplying frameworks which are intended to do the same job increases maintenance cost at application portfolio level but also affect your tech talent acquisition strategy.
  • There is a minimum version discrepancy for frameworks implemented in different applications. This is key to anticipate and rationalize migration efforts and guarantee that all applications receive the latest bug and security fixes.

In order to combat framework discrepancies, some IT shops adopt offline approaches to manage this potentially huge list of languages used. However, manual lists present several challenges:

  • They are non-exhaustive and are painful to keep up-to-date.
  • This non-automated process presents big challenges for DevOps teams who require accurate information to communicate on and optimize the infrastructure and technical software roadmap.

Overcoming Framework Challenges with CAST Highlight

CAST Highlight presents a unique value-add for IT project managers and software developers who want to gain full transparency and control over their frameworks. Highlight’s quick portfolio-level IT health check conducts inventory of applications to illuminate the application’s structure in addition to an overview of application risk, complexity and cost. This is a huge benefit, especially for organizations grappling with cloud migration and digital transformation initiatives.


For example, CAST Highlight can:

  • Conduct code-level and fact-based information checked by application owners. Many Highlight users end up saying “Wow, I didn’t know my app was using this library, and this is the only app using it in the entire portfolio!”
  • Detect more than 100 frameworks and libraries used in JEE, Javascript, .Net, C/C++ and PHP projects such as Hibernate, AngularJS, Backbone, Qt, Zend and Symfony (see the full list here).
  • Aggregate framework information into a dedicated dashboard based on technology, usage type (for example, web/mobile, UI framework, logging, API management, etc.), license type (LGPL, MIT, proprietary, etc.) and version numbers.

CAST Highlight aggregates essential data at the portfolio level to help App Managers and DevOps teams quickly identify framework redundancies, establish technical roadmaps, reduce the heterogeneity of framework landscapes to rationalize integration cost, and better allocate resources while defining required skills for future hiring.

To learn more about how Highlight can streamline your framework and application development processes, check out our free trial offer.

  This report describes the effects of different industrial factors on  structural quality. Structural quality differed across technologies with COBOL  applications generally having the lowest densities of critical weaknesses,  while JAVA-EE had the highest densities. While structural quality differed  slightly across industry segments, there was almost no effect from whether the  application was in- or outsourced, or whether it was produced on- or off-shore.  Large variations in the densities in critical weaknesses across applications  suggested the major factors in structural quality are more related to  conditions specific to each application. CRASH Report 2020: CAST Research on  the Structural Condition of Critical Applications Report
Open source is part of almost every software capability we use today. At the  very least libraries, frameworks or databases that get used in mission critical  IT systems. In some cases entire systems being build on top of open source  foundations. Since we have been benchmarking IT software for years, we thought  we would set our sights on some of the most commonly used open source software  (OSS) projects. Software Intelligence Report <> Papers
Making sense of cloud transitions for financial and telecoms firms Cloud  migration 2.0: shifting priorities for application modernization in 2019  Research Report
Michael Muller
Michael Muller Product Owner Cloud-Based Software Analytics & Benchmarking at CAST
Michael Muller is a 15-year veteran in the software quality and measurement space. His areas of expertise include code quality, technical debt assessment, software quality remediation strategy, and application portfolio management. Michael manages the Appmarq product and benchmark database and is part of the CAST Research Labs analysis team that generates the industry-renowned CRASH reports.
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