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Collabnet Pushes Agile ALM into the Cloud

Application lifecycle management (ALM) software provider Collabnet rolled out a new version of its flagship TeamForge ALM platform this week, as well as a general-availability release of its free Subversion Edge product.

TeamForge 5.4 continues the evolution of the "dynamic planning" feature introduced in version 5.3. Dynamic planning is a fundamental Agile architecture that allows teams of developers to manage and model a project’s scope and timeline through a single user interface. This release adds the ability to "dashboard" some of the Agile metrics collected to portal-like project pages, explained Chris Clarke, CollabNet’s vice president of product management and strategy. Among the dynamic planning improvements in this release are drag-and-drop sequencing of backlog items, and direct links between planning folders and file releases.

This release also comes with a new set of personalization features that allow users to manipulate data in ways that best suit their needs and save their settings as their default view. Reporting enhancements in this version are designed to make it easier for dev teams to see release status at a glance with things like dynamic charts that can be embedded directly within project pages.

The newly GA'd Subversion Edge 1.1 is a software stack that combines the open source Subversion version control system, the Apache Web server and the ViewVC repository viewer with a Web-based management interface, designed to simplify installation, administration, use, and governance of the entire stack.

The Brisbane, California-based company, best known for starting the open-source Subversion project, unveiled the products at the ninth annual Agile 2010 Conference, under way this week in Orlando, Florida.

CollabNet’s core platform is based on the Subversion project, which was started in 2000 by the company’s founders, technology book publisher Tim O’Reilly, and Apache project co-founder Brian Behlendorf. Subversion Edge has been in beta since June 17.

Victoria Grigg, CollabNet’s senior director of product marketing, pointed to the new Web UI in Subversion Edge as perhaps the most significant enhancement. "Up to now, the Subversion server hasn't really had a face," Grigg said. "There is no Web UI that's layered on top of the server that provides the level of admin control that this does. For the first time, administration can actually be remote, which means you no longer need physical access to the server."

CollabNet’s original ALM product, SourceForge Enterprise, was rebranded last year as TeamForge. With that release, the company began providing developers with tools for defining and modifying profiles and software stacks provisioned on both local servers and clouds. The company’s OnDemand Cloud service uses Amazon’s public EC2 cloud service, but also works on private clouds.

Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, sees the Collabnet releases as an aggressive move to drive Agile practices deeper into the enterprise.

"The concepts around Agile development are becoming more mainstream, entering into how IT and even businesses operate," Gardner said. "Long cycle times and large, up-front capital-intensive projects are being replaced with iterative services from a variety of sources. CollabNet's latest releases move the needle for Agile benefits across the application development spectrum. But businesses are more receptive to Agile concepts than ever. And the interest in cloud computing is helping make this a reality sooner for more elements of IT and business."

Collabnet also unveiled a new TeamForge licensing option that provides the collaboration, enterprise-wide governance and centralized management capabilities of TeamForge to organizations that use Subversion for source code management, but who don't need the artifact tracking, task management and document sharing capabilities.

"This TeamForge SCM option scales Subversion to the organization," said Grigg, "with a centralized role-based access control (RBAC), project workspaces, tools such as wikis and discussion forums, and the secure delegation of repository administration to project teams."

"The SCM licensing option is unique, because it's not just at a site level, but user-by-user," Grigg added. "So you can have a mix of team members with different access rights and views into the system, which helps the large ALM platform to be a bit more digestible."

"We feel that an important application of TeamForge is using it to centrally manage Subversion," Clarke added. "This new option allows you to adopt TeamForge at your own pace and get the level you need to manage Subversion."

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John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on ADTmag.com, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at john@watersworks.com.


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