IBM Rational Tool Set Gains Momentum

IBM is wooing developers to its platform with a host of new tools, content and technology for building applications.

ORLANDO, Fla.—IBM ushers in its annual Rational Software Development Conference that began June 4 touting the momentum the company has made in reaching out to and attracting developers to the IBM Rational tools platform.

In addition to announcing a broad-based new release of its application lifecycle development platform known as IBM Rational Release 7, Team Products, IBM announced that many of the initiatives the company has launched to bring more developers to the IBM Rational fold have been paying off.

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At the conference here, Buell Duncan, general manager of ISV and developer relations for the IBM Software Group, said after IBM decided to get out of the application software business in 1999, the company realized it needed to rely on an ecosystem for developers to advance its middleware strategy. As part of that effort, IBM launched developerWorks and the IBM Academic Initiative program to help drive innovation and get more developers to rally around the IBM tools platform.

Duncan said developerWorks is part of a family of IBM online communities for developers that includes alphaWorks and the IBM Academic Initiative Web sites. developerWorks provides developers with online skills, tutorials and resources around open standards, open source and IBM technologies.


Market researcher IDC recently named IBM developer programs a best practice in the industry, growing to more than a 5.3 million developer population worldwide in just five years. This trend is even more pronounced in the emerging markets, Duncan said. In 2005, more than 500 developers a day joined IBMs ecosystem in emerging markets, he said.

"This is going from practically nothing to 5.3 million in five years," Duncan said.

Moreover, the addition of Rational technology to developerWorks has had an impact, he said.

IBM closed its deal to acquire Rational in 2003. And since its integration into developerWorks in April 2004, the Rational developer community has grown 72 percent and now features nearly 200,000 unique visitors per month, Duncan said. It is currently the second largest brand community on the developerWorks site, second only to Lotus. And in 2005, developerWorks hosted 53,000 attendees at technical briefings in over 50 countries, Duncan said.

Meanwhile, also since its integration into the developerWorks community, Rational online skills activities—such as Webcasts and tutorials—have grown 255 percent, Duncan said. In 2006, developerWorks has featured more Rational online skills activities than any other software brand.

Overall, developerWorks hosted 288 technical briefings in which Rational content was highlighted, Duncan said, with 30,000 developers attending those events. Rational-specific briefings included the following sessions: Process & Portfolio Management, Designing Applications for SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture) Integration, and Leveraging Eclipse with the IBM Rational Software Development Platform.

Also this year, the developerWorks team has expanded its technical briefing mix to include business-level briefings covering compliance, SOA and software quality, Duncan said.

Meanwhile, the IBM Academic Initiative offers universities and student developers a wide range of technology education benefits that spreads the adoption and skills around open standards and IBM technologies around the world, Duncan said. Through this initiative, IBM is working with 1,900 institutions, 11,000 faculty members and 450,000 students.

And going beyond just the initiative, nearly 2,500 universities have incorporated more than 6,700 courses on Rational tooling in their curricula, Duncan said. More than 290,000 students are getting educated on Rational technologies, he added.

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