IBM Sets Roadmap for Future Rational Tools

IBM will upgrade its Rational tool set in Q4 and move to a major revision in 2007.

ORLANDO, Fla.—IBM announced the roadmap for its Rational tools and will enhance its desktop developer tools suite by the end of 2006, followed by a new version of the overall tool set in 2007, company officials said.

In an interview at the IBM RSDC (Rational Software Development Conference) here, Lee Nackman, vice president, Product Development & Customer Support at IBM Rational, said that in the fourth quarter of 2006, IBM will deliver enhancements to the IBM Rational Release 7, Team product suite.

Among the key enhancements will be support for Eclipse 3.2, the upcoming version of the Eclipse open-source application development platform that is expected at the end of June.

Eclipse 3.2 is the "Callisto" release of the Eclipse platform, where the Eclipse organization will release 10 top-level Eclipse projects simultaneously.

Nackman said Eclipse 3.2 support will mean support for the JDK (Java Development Kit) 5. And Rationals tools also will support the latest versions of IBMs WebSphere application server and WebSphere Portal server offering.

In addition, IBM will continue to make improvements in performance and memory usage, as well as make simplification and usability improvements to the tool set, Nackman said.

And not only is IBM going to move to Eclipse 3.2, but the company is expanding its Eclipse support in various products.

"Were working on an Eclipse-based client for RequisitePro that brings that product fully into the Eclipse fold," Nackman said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifTo read more about IBMs Rational revamp, click here.

Meanwhile, IBM is working to separate many of its desktop tools so that customers will be able to select the kind of capabilities that they want to install for users in particular roles.

The IBM Rational tool set offers capability for several different roles, and not every developer needs all of it, Nackman said.

Moreover, there is a capability for defining different roles and then tailoring the installation for those different roles.

For instance, there could be a role of an enterprise Java developer and an organization could put together an installation that would install just the capabilities that the enterprise Java developer needs, Nackman said.

And IBM will deliver small, focused component offerings targeted at specific user segments, Nackman said.

Other enhancements include improved product deployment, and configurable silent installs and managed updates, he said.

Rational also will beef up its support for model-driven development in the fall release.

Rational will deliver support for SAP AG environments in the Rational Functional Tester, Nackman said.

"This is really important because we see lots of customers who build a mixture of custom code, but who also work and integrate with SAP," he said.

Meanwhile, noting that he could not discuss specifics for what will be in version 8 of the Rational team tools, Nackman shared his view of the overall themes for the next major revision of the tools.

Themes for version 8 include: further improvements in lifecycle management; enhancements in support for working in a distributed environment; improved WAN performance; Web client functional parity; and improved Web server infrastructure.


Other themes of version 8 include improvements in security and total cost of ownership, Nackman said.

Moreover, "Were going to continue on refining the traceability in the lifecycle," Nackman said.

"Were going to continue enhancing our Web-based clients because of the pressure for geographic distribution, and were going to continue to enhance the security of the infrastructure products."

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