IBM Vies for Developers

The company competes against Microsoft as both tout products at conferences.

ORLANDO, Fla.—Both Microsoft and IBM are chasing the same goal of empowering their customers to have more agile, dynamic businesses.

At the companys TechEd conference here June 4-8, Microsoft officials talked about giving customers agility in creating applications and providing services for their constituents and their own businesses. They demonstrated how Microsofts application platform can be used to enable customers to collaborate better and to respond more quickly to changes, as in SOAs (service-oriented architectures). Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsofts Server and Tools Business, called this "dynamic IT."

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead more here about Microsofts focus on agility.

Separately, at its Rational Software Development Conference here June 10-14, IBM will announce a slew of new and enhanced developer tools to help customers not only develop applications faster and better but also help customers better manage and support projects throughout the development life cycle.

In addition, the company will introduce its new collaborative development community known as Jazz. IBM is announcing, a community site where developers can look at and contribute to upcoming developer code from the company. The Jazz project—which initially came out of IBM Research, with input from IBMs Lotus division and others—is an open community aimed at improving team agility and collaboration.

IBM is launching the first beta of a new technology coming out of the Jazz effort, said David Locke, director of offerings marketing for IBM Rational. Locke said Jazz represents a vision for community-driven development and comes with new software to help clients drive visibility, intelligence and collaboration in software delivery projects.

Meanwhile, IBM is ex­­pected to announce the availability of for partners, customers and the software development community. Locke said that at, customers can collaborate with IBM and one another, provide input on requirements, report bugs, and contribute to IBMs software development and delivery platform. Moreover, by opening up its Jazz development platform as a software supply chain, the community is driving the evolution of standards and common components to be incorporated in future IBM software releases, Locke said.

"Jazz is a highly innovative Eclipse-based product built by many of the same developers who created the Eclipse platform," said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, in Ottawa. "We hope that it becomes a very successful initiative for IBM Rational and helps to further grow the Eclipse commercial ecosystem."

/zimages/1/28571.gifFor more on Jazz, click here.

Meanwhile, the first offering to come out of Jazz is IBM Rational Team Concert, a collaborative portal aimed at improving software delivery team productivity, Locke said. The software is made for agile development teams in midsize and large enterprises, he said. Over time, IBM expects to deliver a family of IBM Rational Team Concert offerings and extensions to existing IBM products, he said.

Danny Sabbah, general manager of IBMs Rational business unit, said collaboration will be a key element of independent development tools "because its no longer enough for developers to work by themselves and become efficient by themselves."

IBM is updating its Rational Portfolio Manager with a new zero-footprint Web client, Locke said. It also is enhancing the Rational Method Composer with six new process plug-ins, he said, as well as updating its Rational ClearCase, Rational ClearQuest, Rational Build Forge and Rational RequisitePro tools.

IBM will highlight its new Rational Asset Manager, a product officials introduced at IBMs Impact conference in May. The company plans to show four incubator projects that have been created for a story authoring project, a team reporting project, a process authoring project and a code analysis project, Locke said.

"IBM and Microsoft tend to work at opposite ends of the spectrum," said Anne Thomas Manes, an analyst with Burton Group. "IBM focuses much more on top-down, enterprisey things, while Microsoft focuses on bottom-up, KISS [keep it simple, stupid] things. In truth, an organization needs to adopt a combined strategy of top-down planning and governance, and bottom-up lean and agile project implementations."

/zimages/1/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.