IBM Rational's Big-Band Jazz Release

IBM's Rational Software division yesterday unveiled 20 new commercial products based on its Jazz collaboration platform and opened up the Jazz community to all interested parties.

IBM Rational Team Concert is one of the 20 products, and something of a focal point of the multi-product announcement. It provides, said IBM Rational Director Dave Locke, a kind of hub for the other offerings. Essentially, Team Concert is a collaboration portal designed to keep distributed software teams connected through such Web 2.0-type social networking technologies as instant messaging and presence awareness. It focuses on collaboration, process instantiation and bringing the teams together, he said.

Team Concert comes in a free Concert Express-C Edition, which is available for download from the Jazz.net Web site. It uses the open source Apache Derby Java relational database management system and Apache Tomcat Web app server to "help teams gain experience with the concept of global software delivery and see how it could work in their environment," Locke said.

There's also a Team Concert Express Edition, aimed at software delivery teams with 10 to 50 members, and a Team Concert Standard Edition, optimized for mid-sized companies and smaller teams in large companies. This latter edition includes such additional capabilities as customizable process, real-time project health, enterprise scalability and extensibility. All three of these editions of the product are available now.

An enterprise edition, featuring "the broadest array of capabilities that any size team can use," will be available next year, the company said. This edition is expected to include full equivalent versions of IBM Rational ClearCase, IBM Rational ClearQuest and IBM Rational BuildForge. Big Blue also plans to introduce IBM Rational Requirements Composer, a tool designed to help software delivery teams to gain project consensus, and IBM Rational Quality Manager, a test planning and process solution. Both are Jazz-based.

This is the first commercial release of a Jazz-based product since the company launched the Jazz.net community portal last June. Jazz started as an internal project, a joint effort of IBM's Rational and Research divisions to build a scalable, extensible team-collaboration platform for integrating tasks across the software lifecycle. Jazz is not open source software, but an "open commercial" platform, Locke explained. It's a model that IBM hopes will foster an "open, transparent approach to community development" that will improve team agility and collaboration. The company claims that 15,000 people have contributed to the project since its inception.

Eleven IBM Rational partners are also announcing Jazz-based products, which are expected to ship by the end of this year. Among those partners:

  • Black Duck Software is working on an integration of its Governing IP Compliance solution with Team Concert.
  • CAST Software is integrating its Automated Application Intelligence solution with the product.
  • CM-Logic is working on a connector that will link its Change Management solutions to Team Concert work items.
  • iRise is developing a way to integrate its Application Simulation solution with Requirements Composer.
  • QSM is integrating its Estimation and Project Control solution with Team Concert.
  • Ravenflow is working on an integration of its Requirements and Diagram solution with Requirements Composer.
  • Source IQ is integrating its Management Metrics for ALM Governance solution with the platform.
  • Surgient and VMLogix are integrating their Virtual Test Lab management support solutions to Quality Manager.
  • WebLayers is integrating its Automated Design Time Governance product with Team Concert.

IBM Rational made the announcement today at its annual user conference in Orlando, Florida. One of the partners set to preview its Jazz-based offering at that show is Mainsoft. The Milpitas, Calif.-based company plans to provide attendees with a look at its upcoming integration of Team Concert with IBM Lotus Quickr and Microsoft SharePoint document libraries. The integration, the company said, will allow developers to have direct access to the Quickr and SharePoint document libraries from a documents browser in the Eclipse and Visual Studio IDEs.

Comparisons of this multiple-product release with the Eclipse community's Callisto and Europa coordinated multi-project releases of the past two years are unavoidable. Locke offers another comparison: Jazz, he says, is the server-side counterpart of Eclipse. "Eclipse consolidates the desktop," he says. "It provided a common infrastructure for desktop tools to work together. Jazz is doing that for the collaboration piece, the server side of the equation. We think it transform how the industry collaborates on software delivery."

Locke called the commercial release of the Jazz-based technologies "the most important, internally transformational launch since Rational was acquired by IBM… Behind the scenes, all this data comes to life because it has much more semantic richness, which gives us so much more insight into how the project is moving. It's great for our customers, great for the industry, and it's changing how we think about software development."

The IBM Rational development team is using Team Concert internally to develop Team Concert, he said. "We have development centers in Canada, North Carolina, Massachusetts, California, India, France; we are the epitome of a large distributed team. And we're using this stuff, and it works."

This year's Rational Users' Conference is the largest so far, Locke said, with 25 percent growth over last year. Organizers are expecting 3500 users and assorted business partners to attend.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance journalist and author based in Palo Alto, CA.

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