Developer 2.0: Gung-Ho or Ho Hum?

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-04-28 Print this article Print

title=IBM's Jazz} 

Several companies are trying to tap the Web 2.0 craze to benefit developers and to deliver new tools and tool functionality. Among them is IBM, with its collaborative development platform known as Jazz.

Rod Smith, vice president of emerging technologies for IBM's Software Group, said that from a developer's perspective, the focus on Web 2.0 and collaboration puts the focus back on what should matter most for a team-sharing their ideas and interacting with customers.

"Today the thought of a stand-alone, desktop IDE [integrated development environment], where a developer toils away heads down to get his piece of code completed, would be completely wrong," Smith said. "Well, maybe just a little strong, but developers need to find the best code in some cases [and] share it quickly with their collective teams, using wikis in most cases, and with customers through agile or extreme programming techniques. A good example is most Apache projects start with a wiki to invite broad participation."

He said that is one reason for IBM Rational's messaging around Jazz. "It's a developers collaboration platform that is also an excellent IDE," he said. "When code is checked in, feeds are produced that can be read from a browser or incorporated into a project management dashboard for LOBs [line-of-business users] to monitor critical progress of a software asset. So I think most developers and development teams have already embraced many of the social collaboration techniques in Web 2.0, such as wikis, blogs, etc."

CollabNet also is pushing Web 2.0 technology in its offerings for developers.

Rob Cheng, director of product marketing at CollabNet, said developers are skeptical of buzzwords such as Web 2.0, "but if we are talking about the actual business of building software, there is a related trend that developers are gung-ho about: the shedding of more formal, abstract, structured development processes in favor of organic, bottom-up, task-specific methodologies."

Cheng said Web 2.0 advocates like to talk about democratic, grassroots activities where creators and users jointly contribute to and evolve content. The software development analogy is allowing developers and users to collaborate much more frequently, transparently and directly, such as is the case in open-source development, partner co-development and agile development, he said.

And, "in these situations, like with the Web 2.0 concept, value/functionality and demand/requirements flow freely in both directions, making the consumer of software much more of an invested and contributing partner in the production of software," Cheng said.


Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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