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Show blog day 2: IBM Rational Software Developer Conference 2008

IBM really did bring out all the news on day one of this show, so this morning a little space cleared for the partners to try and get a little attention.Before I mention a few of the IBM partners that have proffered forth their wares this week, we were been given a few little extras today.
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Written by Adrian Bridgwater on

IBM really did bring out all the news on day one of this show, so this morning a little space cleared for the partners to try and get a little attention.

Before I mention a few of the IBM partners that have proffered forth their wares this week, we were been given a few little extras today. There was a tour of the IBM labs to meet the men in white coats – actually just part of the exhibition floor area, but it was a pleasant distraction between the bagels and the boxed lunches.

We also had a boardroom style meet and greet with the man at the top of the Rational tree, Dr Danny Sabbah. I put a few of last year’s open admissions to him where he had pinpointed IBM’s failings such as poor customer service, overly complex all-or-nothing installs and the high cost of his company’s software. Sabbah said that there was still work to do – sorry I can’t be more insightful, but that’s the company line at the moment.

It’s a culture thing

The real trouble (said Sabbah) with globalised software application development is that it has to try and transcend location, time, space, culture and language ... IBM is staying sensibly clear of saying that it can manage and control human elements as huge as culture and is instead asking for implicit transparency in the lifecycle process to try and combat the gaps that exist between teams around the world.

Anyway, partner time...

Canadian company Protecode whose software focuses on Bill of Materials (BOM) management and Intellectual Property (IP) determination did a bit of flag waving. These guys claim to have a product that resolves IP uncertainties by detecting 100% of external content in any stage of software development projects. Well, anything that claims to be 100% of anything is usually not so in software –approach with care but interest then perhaps.

Not so much an announcement, but a vendor I spoke to personally (Philippe Cohen, VP of products at Mainsoft) was happy to go on the record with the following comment in relation to this week’s show.

“When you look at the software development process, about 50 per cent of the people in the process are not developers. They are program managers, operation managers, security officers, project managers, marketers and so on. The new Jazz platform and Rational Team Concert product are open and process-aware and that’s a good thing,” said Cohen.

Strangely from a timing perspective, Microsoft is actually hosting TechEd Developers right across town on the same days as this IBM event. I’ve been too Big Blue’d out to focus much on it to be honest, but one company that clearly has had to spread themselves over both shows is Coverity.

The company announced a product called Prevent for C# which uses an analysis engine designed specifically for detecting defects in applications built on Microsoft’s .NET framework.

Then there was Instantiations Inc, who made a few waves (well, ripples I suppose) about its quality and productivity solutions for the Eclipse platform. The company’s GUI building tool, WindowBuilder Pro, got some kind of badge from IBM too by all accounts.

As a side note, just to bring in some comment from a competitor, I also this week spoke to Damon Poole, CTO of AccuRev, to see what he thought of IBM Jazz’s Rational Team Concert product. He said, “It’s still overly complicated, especially for Agile, complex parallel and geographically distributed and offshore development.”

He went on, “Jazz looks like a nice framework for managing your instant messaging environment. But IBM’s customers might find Rational Team Concert, Jazz’s software change and configuration management (SCCM) capabilities, primitive compared to ClearCase UCM. While Jazz provides interesting framework capabilities, Jazz customers will find themselves relying on Team Concert to do the heavy lifting of software process and configuration management.”

Grady Booch: The Developer’s Developer

Rounding out today we got a chance to meet and chat with The Developer’s Developer Mr Grady Booch who kept us entertained with his relaxed approach. He talked about the weight of software and the inertia that can exist in legacy systems if they are not given a lift. For him, much of that buoyancy will come from open source initiatives.

Grady'

“I’m pretty unmanageable. Part of my role is to make IBM uncomfortable so that we don’t get complacent,” said Booch.

Although as an IBM Fellow (just about the most senior position in the company) one can only imagine that they don’t feel too uncomfortable about him.

Always keen to amuse, he also said, “Don’t forget – 80 per cent of everything is cr@p! Including this statement.”

Tomorrow I will step aside and ask you – if you have had any interest in reading about this show – to take a look at my wife Terry-Lynn’s blog. She has attended classes and intends to write up her perceptions of the event – in particular, looking at the requirements management side of programming.

Roll on Captain Kirk tomorrow am. He probably will.

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