Rational Spreads Wealth of Process Tools With RUP

Platform includes more plug-ins, added flexibility.

Rational Software Corp. wants to grow its set of software engineering process tools into an industrywide platform.

The Cupertino, Calif., company this week is introducing an enhanced RUP (Rational Unified Process) that includes a more configurable framework and a greater number of plug-ins for technology from such vendors as Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and BEA Systems Inc.

The enhanced RUP, part of the companys rollout of its Rational Suite Version 2002 and available now, is designed to be more flexible for companies running software development projects, said Rational officials.

Not only does it include plug-ins but also tools that can be used by small projects as well as larger ones.

Those include the Rational Process Workbench, which enables process engineers to create plug-ins with drag-and-drop functionality and automatically packages the plug-ins.

The new RUP Builder enables project managers to choose the right size of their projects process, to visually configure the process and to check the consistency of the plug-ins.

RUP Exchange includes training materials on building plug-ins and includes new plug-ins for such technologies as J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) and Microsofts .Net and tools such as IBMs WebSphere and BEAs WebLogic servers.

Liz Barnett, an analyst with Giga Information Group Inc., said that businesses are clamoring to find tools that will help them with their software proj-ects, whether they are Web design initiatives or new applications, and companies such as Rational are trying to meet that demand.

"Its a good move," Barnett, in Norwalk, Conn., said of Rationals initiative. "RUP is quickly gaining ground as a popular method- ology used by a lot of companies and consulting firms. What companies have been doing is buying RUP and then adapting it to meet their needs. Ration-al is being proactive by doing what their customers were going to do anyway."

Other consulting firms and tool vendors are doing the same thing, Barnett said.