IBMs Rational Makes Integration Inroads

At its annual user conference, IBM's Rational division updates its integration into IBM, as well as some new directions.

ORLANDO, Fla.—IBMs Rational division, holding its annual user conference here this week, gave an update on its integration into IBM as well as some new directions.

One such new direction is a standard Rational is contributing to the development community, known as the Reusable Asset Specification (RAS).

Mike Devlin, general manager of IBM Rational, discussed the OMG (Object Management Group) standard in his opening day keynote at the conference Monday. Although led by Rational, the standard is backed by a group of companies that make up the RAS Consortium, including Microsoft Corp., ComponentSource, Flashline Inc. and Merrill Lynch. RAS defines standards for the specification, cataloging and reuse of software assets—not limited to code, according to IBM Rational officials.

In an interview with eWEEK, Grady Booch, an IBM fellow and Rationals chief scientist, who gave the Tuesday keynote address, said, "Weve been pioneering a thing called the Reusable Asset Specification, which will also become an OMG standard—under the idea that there are many assets beyond just code things that can be expressed in UML [Unified Modeling Language] that are reusable. So if you tie together your developer platform with a modeling tool, the next thing thats cool to do is to start injecting those patterns in an automated way—to apply some degree of tooling to the problem of identifying patterns and pushing those patterns into your system."

In an interview with eWEEK, Devlin gave a report card on what he called the "six-month anniversary" of Rational being an entity under IBMs corporate umbrella. He said the acquisition has been going well, even exceeding expectations in some areas. For instance, "our attrition rate is not any different than it was when we were an independent company," he said.

Rational has already begun to integrate its products and contribute to IBMs bottom line, as well as work with IBMs Global Services unit and research divisions, he said.

The company continues its asset-based development strategy and delivered the IBM Rational Suite 2003 in June.

Meanwhile, Rational is coming to a common architecture based on the IBM-sponsored Eclipse open-source application development framework. "This will be a major focus of our engineering team for the next 18 to 24 months," Devlin said.

Next page: Rationals .Net platform support.