Rationals Road Ahead

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2006-06-05 Print this article Print

Rationals road ahead

IBM has been using the names of major bodies of water as code names for its tool platforms. In 2004, IBM at RSDC launched its "Atlantic" desktop tool set, which integrated IBMs tools with the Eclipse platform. And later this year the company will announce "Caspian," the next major revision of IBM Rationals desktop tools platform, sources said.

Sabbah said IBM is aiming to provide governance for the software development process by building discipline into the tools themselves so developers do not have to bother with red tape or bureaucracy.

"Geographically distributed, Web-centric solutions are becoming the norm, and this requires focus, discipline and accountability," Sabbah said.

IBM also is enhancing its tools line as competition in the ALM software space continues to heat up, with Microsoft moving into the space with its Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server, Borland dropping its integrated development environment line to focus solely on ALM, and others such as Mercury Interactive and Serena Software making moves to chip away at IBM Rationals leadership position.

Sabbah said he is nonplussed by analysts comments about competition from Borland and Microsoft, both of which have hired former Rational developers and architects. "Theres a big difference between hiring people who know how to do it [software development process] and changing the culture of a particular organization to actually produce and systematically execute in the marketplace around a particular theme," said Sabbah.

Mills said the $2.1 billion IBM spent on Rational was well-spent because the company needed to deliver tools to build complex enterprise applications. However, Mills said IBM has more work to do on Rational.

"Theres sort of a nirvana, an end state where you have true end-to-end life-cycle tooling and true end-to-end traceability," Mills said. "We have more work to do. We know what the end state is. The smoothness with which the tools interconnect is a priority for [Sabbah]," Mills said, adding that integration between the various tools is always an area for improvement.

Nevertheless, Mardis said the new Rational platform is a step in the right direction. "The ClearQuest client provides the same look and feel across our Windows and Linux development environments," said Mardis. "This has become very important, as we often need to share resources between the product development teams and things are complicated when the tool sets behave or look different."

Meanwhile, Sabbah also said that, at RSDC, IBM will start a discussion about collaborative development. The goal? To spin out an open-source initiative to spur collaborative development and create better tools to support it. Sabbah said IBM will donate code and work to establish standards and perhaps an organization akin to the Eclipse Foundation that is focused on collaborative development.

In addition, IBM will be making partnering announcements, including a new Ready for IBM Rational software program, new tools on the companys AlphaWorks site and more, Sabbah said.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

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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