IBM advancing global


Building on its Jazz strategy for collaboratively building software, IBM Rational will offer versions of its products geared toward global cooperative development with an eye toward boosting SOA in 2007.

In an interview last month, Daniel Sabbah, general manager of Rational, said the company is re-architecting core elements of its product set to leverage the Internet and Web 2.0 concepts such as Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX)-based Web interfaces. The goal is to accommodate community-based software development, he said.

New products bearing these changes will start to appear toward the end of the first half of this year, Sabbah said. IBM seeks to make software engineering more flexible and more reactive with its plan, accommodating agile processes.

“The aspect of it that’s much more interesting is really building software engineering communities,” Sabbah said.

Noting the trend toward collaboration between U.S. and offshore developers, IBM seeks to provide a platform accommodating a global, distributed model. These developers can then work on aspects of development such as requirements modeling, architecture, changing legacy code, documentation and bug fixes.

According to Sabbah, the company seeks to optimize SOA development with its plan. SOA is largely about decomposing large parts of monolithic software into more flexible components, he said.

As part of the effort, Rational products will add capabilities to manage architectures and software lifecycles for building more flexible software in a globally distributed fashion. Internet-based community project efforts also will be enhanced, according to Sabbah. “There’s plenty of examples of people doing organizationally distributed and globally distributed development, and they need better tools to be able to do that, and they need to understand the coherent architecture,” Sabbah said.

“[IBM’s effort is] certainly related to ALM (application lifecycle management), but it’s a different dimension of (ALM) because in this particular case, the application itself has to be dynamically assembled with many of the parts coming from places where you couldn’t predict,” Sabbah said.

“Every single element of our product portfolio will have a globally distributed element to it” and feature the ability to be hosted under Internet standards, Sabbah stressed.

He raised the notion of offering Rational products via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, but did not openly commit to this.

“As we transform our product portfolio down this particular path, our ability to deliver a software development platform will enable a SaaS model.

“But we’re not announcing today any kind of a SaaS model,” said Sabbah.

A service supplier, whether it is IBM or someone else, could, for example, host a quality management process for distributed teams worldwide, Sabbah said. Such a process even could be used by different companies, he said.

He called IBM’s plan “a natural evolution of the capabilities that we provide today.” 076843


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