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At IBM Rational Conference: IBM rolls out Workplace tools

[GRAPEVINE, TEXAS] -- IBM Rational lifted the lid on improved developer technologies, including a new diagram navigator for Rose; support for UML 2.0 capabilities, including diagram sequencing, client remoting and management for ClearCase; as well as faster UI building with JavaServer Faces (JSF) technology.

Included in the rollout are tools that help developers to create apps based on IBM’s new Workplace rich-client platform. A range of tools were unveiled, including WebSphere Studio Device Developer (WSSD) 5.7 for “Micro Edition” Workplace clients, the Workplace API toolkit, a Workplace Builder for VB-style developers and Workplace designer.

The announcements came as part of the Rational Software Development User Conference 2004, held in Grapevine, Texas, where, according to company estimates, more than 2,000 attendees gathered for news on upcoming developments.

In a conference keynote, Mike Devlin, general manager of the IBM Rational Group, said these and other product line enhancements were a continuation of Rational’s efforts to create sets of collaborative development tools that could improve the speed and precision of software development.

IBM Rational’s goal is to create a “business-driven development process,” said Devlin. He said teams can improve the value of software assets by integration and collaborative teamwork.

Ideas of the software development life cycle will give way to an overall approach that is, essentially, asset-based development, Devlin indicated. “It is a change in the way we talk about software,” he noted. Moreover, he admitted, this notion is somewhat similar to component management ideas and “we have as an industry tried and failed before with this.”

Nearly two years after its merger with IBM, Rational would appear to be a very integrated part of IBM. The Rational products can be sold into IBM accounts, many of which are pre-disposed to the “Rational message” of achieving development objectives through process and planning. Integration was the driver over the first years of its marriage to IBM, Devlin indicated.

Rational Eclipse-based tools were key among many elements that went into the creation of Workplace.

The Rational approach is also being used to support IBM’s push further into ISV markets. For that matter, the role of Rational tools is growing in importance as IBM continues to work to integrate its own technology portfolio within the IBM Software Group itself. Finally, Rational tools serve to help IBM Global Service’s field efforts.

Here is IBM’s estimated timing for some of its new development tools offerings: WSSD 5.7 will be available July 30; Workplace Builder is part of Version 2.0 of Lotus Workplace, which is due in Q3/2004; the first Workplace API Toolkit will be available for download in Q3/2004; and Workplace designer is scheduled for beta release later this year.

Anticipated this week in Grapevine are further details on IBM Rational’s tools for Eclipse, which will be extended for the creation of C/C++ apps, JavaServer Faces development and UML 2.0 modeling.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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