Much of the IBM effort centers around the Eclipse open-source development environment, which all development tools will support. John Pritchard, software architect at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems, agreed. Pritchards group, which develops command-and-control systems for the defense industry, uses development tools from Rational as well as WebSphere Studio.Eclipse makes it easier to recruit at college campuses too, Pritchard said. "Our young engineers know Eclipse, theyre learning it in college," he said. Mike Devlin, general manager of the Rational division, said future initiatives at IBM-Rational will focus on integrating testing tools with design tools so that software testing can happen at any stage of the development process, rather than just the end of the process. "Too frequently, testing occurs only at the end of the development life cycle," said Devlin. "Theres a very immature attitude toward quality and testing throughout the industry." Other initiatives under way include support for change management processes across the enterprise, support for best practices within the development process framework, and support for more componentization and customization, Devlin said. Devlin said Rational has made "considerable progress" in integrating with the rest of IBMs software development products. WebSphere was the first priority and Tivoli is the second, he said. IBM Fellow Grady Booch said integration of Rational tools with other IBM tools would "reduce complexities and improve efficiencies." "One of the great drivers to cost is complexity," Booch said. Booch outlined future development initiatives at IBM-Rational, which include support for collaborative tools for distributed application development, the coding of software development patterns on top of the development platform, and still further out, support for "aspect-oriented programming," which incorporates things like logging, system selection and asset indexing into programming.
"One area theyre tackling thats a big issue for us is using Eclipse as the standard development environment," said Pritchard, whos based in Colorado Springs, Colo. "That should minimize the number of tools our developers have to get trained on."