IBM raises the tempo with Jazz

The company has announced a group of new products for its Eclipse-based team collaboration platform Jazz, which it says will help improve processes such as data gathering

IBM has announced a group of new products for its Eclipse-based team collaboration platform Jazz, which it said will aid integration among geographically distributed software development teams.

Coming one year after Jazz was first announced, the new products were unveiled by IBM's vice president for marketing and strategy Scott Hebner during Monday's keynote sessions at the company's Rational Software Development Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Principal among the new releases is Rational Team Concert, which IBM said has been built to incorporate social networking and Web 2.0 technologies to help monitor version control and project health. The company says these 'collaborative' functions will improve processes such as data gathering, in what it describes as the increasingly globalised nature of application development.

"Globally distributed development is another of those normative buzz phrases — of course people like to think they do it, but a lot of them may simply be performing local development in lots of places and 'duct taping' the results into some sort of whole," said David Norfolk, practice leader, software development at analysts Bloor.

"We need to define our terms and make sure that we distinguish the real thing, with real process behind it, from something which merely pays lip service to the idea and glues together badly connected components into what ends up as the usual clunky solution," added Norfolk.

During his own keynote session at Monday's conference, general manager for IBM Rational Software, Danny Sabbah, underlined the importance of accountability for software within the total business process. Calling for a renewed approach to governance, software downtime is costing industry $300bn (£150bn) each year, according to figures quoted by Sabbah.

"Our goal for governance is to reach a continuous fact-based analysis to achieve a dynamic balance between competing interests. The way we build software now has changed and there is a lot more conversation and communication to keep track of. We now use an increased set of metrics, beta releases and pilot programmes to measure product improvements as we aim to produce better software," said Sabbah.

Also among the new products announced was Rational Requirements Composer, a tool to help software teams agree on how a project should be designed through the use of storyboards, sketches and models. Additionally, IBM's test planning and process software Rational Quality Manager was unveiled to help teams trace where a project stands in the software delivery lifecycle.

In an effort to promote collaboration under its own auspices, IBM says that its portal invites community members to provide input on requirements, report bugs and ultimately contribute to the wider development of its software.


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