Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Jazz and Rational Team Concert
On 7 november 2008 in Warsaw, there was an inspiring conference about new technology upcoming from Rational (currently IBM). It's called the Jazz and it's a complete platform for new Rational product portfolio. You probably know RequisitePro, ClearCase, ClearQuest or FunctionalTester software from Rational. These tools were developed for long years. Yes, they have its downsides but they offer great functionality as well. I guess that it would be very hard to tell how much good software came out thanks to them. The conference made me to ponder little bit about todays software developement tools.
Since IBM bought Rational, it aimed to unify all the Rational functionality, which were provided by couple of separate and very different software products. Because IBM is one of the biggest donators of the Eclipse platform, it wanted to use it as the new cornerstone of its products. They have to be functional, very high quality and up to date (which not always was meet by Rational itself). Eclipse enabled IBM to do so.
So then, is all that Jazz-buzz only the well known Eclipse? Well, not quite. Its more like a philosophy. The Eclipse is only a technical capability to let people do their work as good as posible. In theory a good team, which works under an IT project should work like a clock. All the people should know their roles in the project and they should focus on their specialites - just like a good music band (jazz band to be precise). Creating beautiful music is very difficult, but when we have good musicans and proper instruments, thay can create amazing things.
In IT project we don't play music but we also need specialists and proper tools. Jezz is the tool, which simplify comunication between each of the roles. It standarize the protocole, with which team members comunicate with each other in order to produce the end product. Thats why Jazz is so connected with the RTC, the Team Concert product. This software has everything you need to help you create, track the progress or the right way of your project developement (including source control, reports, statistics, etc.).
You probably think that it is just a marketing crap. Well, not quite. I really am working with RTC for a while. First, I didn't like the idea to learn another project-tracking tool, but soon I realise that someone who designed it, knew what he is doing. RTC is an effort to implement an open source way of work. IBM liked the way Eclipse is beeing developed and it tried to formalize it inside the RTC product. What is the best - it is not the end of connections between RTC and open-source. IBM gives a free of charge, express version of RTC with almost all the features, but limits number of users. What is more important it is not only for Java technology projects. By 2009 there will be an RTC version for .NET developers as well (connector in the latest Visual Studio is actualy ready already).
Another great thing about RTC is that, IBM doesn't enforce you to leave all the legacy versions of Rational software that were used in your projects behind. RTC will have special conectors to integrate those products with it. In future, they all will be fully integrated (rewriten on new platform). The whole line of the Rational version 7 software will stand to be a full end to end solution to create software.
From this point, I thing that finally, after decades of history of creating software, someone made an attempt to make the software developement an official process based on this Jazz-tool-concept. Just like Ford created first line of car production, IBM probably tries to formalize the way to do software and make developement easer, eficient and repetitious.
Well, we will see about it. I am very excited because of Jazz. I'll write further immpresions of using RTC and other, next generation Rational jazz-products.