IBM Jazzes Collaboration

IBM looks to contribute code to open source to facilitate collaborative development and the creation of collaborative development tools.

ORLANDO, Fla.—IBM is doing some very interesting things in the area of collaborative development, and it wants the world to know.

Danny Sabbah, general manager of IBMs Rational business unit, said IBM is about to move swiftly and surely to add enhanced support for collaborative development to its Rational tool set.

"Were going to add a dimension that says most development today is not only individual developer productivity but is also organizational productivity," Sabbah told eWEEK in an interview. "In other words, think in terms of how I put the developers together and how I get them to communicate more effectively. … Were going to add that particular dimension to how people think of building development tools."

/zimages/3/28571.gifIBM is wooing developers to its Rational tools platform with new tools and technology. Click here to read more.

IBMs collaborative development story will play prominently at the companys Rational Software Development Conference here this week, the company said.

IBM customers will see the notion of collaborative engineering manifested "in some very interesting ways," Sabbah said, not only in the just announced "Baltic" release of the Rational development tools, but also in IBMs governance messages.

Indeed, Sabbah said his goal is to extend what IBM has done in the open-source world with Eclipse, "and were going to start this notion of collaborative engineering in the Eclipse community. Were going to start using the Eclipse community to start building out collaborative development. Just like we did with Beacon, the open-source version of RUP [Rational Unified Process]." IBM donated a subset of RUP to Eclipse in an effort known as Project Beacon.

Sabbah said he can envision IBM doing the same thing for collaborative development as the company did for software development process around RUP.

In this case, however, IBM would be contributing code from its Jazz effort. Jazz is technology that started in IBM Research and later found its way into IBM Software Group and Rational developers hands.

IBM hopes to get the community at large thinking about going beyond individual developer productivity to organizational productivity, with developers communicating and working together more effectively, according to Sabbah.

"Collaboration is going to become an integral element of individual development tools because its no longer enough for developers to work by themselves and become efficient by themselves," he said. "Its like social networking for developers."

Sabbah said collaboration needs to be integrated not only into the development process but into development tools.

What IBM intends to do is "invite the broader community to start down this path with us," he said. "Were going to launch our view of how collaboration and governance are going to fundamentally change how people think about development."

IBM is in the process of "starting the conversation" about this, Sabbah said, and will eventually "launch a bunch of code."

Indeed, he said, "were going to be talking code, and were going to be establishing, through open source, a way of thinking and talking about it. And were going to invite the rest of the community to come and join us."

/zimages/3/28571.gifIBM is revamping its Rational software development platform. Click here to read more.

IBM is demonstrating Jazz at RSDC. But this is not your big brothers Jazz of a couple of years ago, an IBM insider said. The Jazz of today is much different and more mature than the Jazz prototypes IBM trotted out of IBM Research in 2004, the source said.

As for the open-source vehicle for the collaborative technology, Sabbah said that is still being considered.

"It wont be exactly like Eclipse," he said. "Im not sure [the collaborative development scheme is] subject to the same type of open-sourcing that Eclipse was. Its more important in a platform like this to talk about the standards that enable the evolution of integrated globally collaborative engineering tools. Well propose standards and push those in open source and allow the community to comment."

The technology that IBM will drop into open source to support this collaborative development theme will include open-source versions of things from IBMs J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) technology base, as well as Web services and XML, Sabbah said. "Then were going to build scalable implementations on WebSphere and DB2 using Web portals and collaborative tools coming out of Lotus," he said.

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