IBM to Microsoft: Let's Do It Again

In Orlando, the land of Disney magic, IBM invites Microsoft to some standards magic as in days of old.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- At its Rational Software Development Conference here, IBM proposed an open architecture to help ensure the interoperability of software development resources, such as project requirements and test plans, and is hoping Microsoft will join forces with Big Blue in the effort.

IBM and Microsoft have successfully worked together on several key standards, perhaps most notably the Web services stack of specifications often referred to as the WS-* or WS-Star stack. However, in this instance, IBM is asking the industry at large, including Microsoft, to join it in building out the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration initiative.

Martin Nally, chief technology officer at IBM Rational, said that currently, software-development tools vendors work with private vocabularies, formats and data repositories, which act as barriers to openly sharing resources across the software lifecycle. IBM officials said Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration would ultimately allow customers to assemble their ideal software development platform using preferred tools and vendors. Interested participants can join the initiative at

The initiative is a proposed lifecycle for sharing resources. "We're looking at REST [Representational State Transfer] as the foundation of this," Nally said. "This is sort of a first step."

"There is a huge amount that can be done with existing communities and the Internet protocols," he said. "Having Microsoft work with us would be helpful. Microsoft would be one of the companies I would love to talk to about the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration."

At Microsoft's TechEd Developer 2008 conference, also here in Orlando on June 3, Steve Martin, director of product management for the Connected Systems Division at Microsoft, told eWEEK: "We have a long, rich history of collaboration with IBM on standards. This is something we'd like to take a look at and better understand, and if it benefits customers we might be interested. We would also need to find out more about the rules of engagement."

IBM's Nally said the invitation to join the initiative is open to IBM partners, customers and ISVs, and also "to our competitors as well."