Mylyn-Based Tasktop 2.0 Brings Together ALM Tools

Agile application lifecycle management (ALM) tools vendor Tasktop Technologies this week announced a major release of Tasktop Enterprise, its commercial implementation of the Eclipse Mylyn task-focused interface. Version 2.0 comes with new "federation" capabilities designed to unify disparate ALM tools within the developer IDE.

"This is a real problem for any organization with more than a couple of employees," explained Mik Kersten, CEO of Tasktop and creator of the open source Eclipse Mylyn project. "They've more than one vendor's or open source project's tools in place. A company with 2,000 developers that has acquired two different companies; they're ALM stack looks like an ALM history museum. It's a big problem for the developer and the tools manager that these tools don't talk to each other properly." 

Tasktop enterprise is currently integrated with more than 60 ALM tools. The task new federation capability takes the integration of these tools to the next level, Kersten said, by providing bi-directional synchronization of all key tasks and fields among the different tools and repositories. The result is that different stake holders see a view that spans, potentially, all ALM systems via a new Agile Planner for the Eclipse IDE.

"Let's say you're doing agile planning," Kersten told, "and you've got your defects in HP's Quality Center (QC), and you've got your user stories and your plan in Rational Team Concert (RTC). In a common use case, RTC has the state needed for planning, while QC remains the system of record for quality management. The Agile Planner uses the task federation facility to show you one view and a plan that spans those different systems -- you could have 10 defend issues trackers linked, and you would see this one view."

Kersten is the creator of the Eclipse Mylyn open source framework for integrating task and ALM tools with the Eclipse IDE. Mylyn is a "task-focused interface" designed to reduce the information overload developers often face. It does this by extending the GUI metaphor and showing only a subset of the content that is relevant to the task-at-hand. The result for developers is less time spent searching for information and more time coding.

"Mylyn has a way of dealing with unstructured text that is very popular among developers," said Michael Coté, industry analyst at RedMonk, in an earlier interview. "It has a way of cross-linking among your source code, your bug-tracking system -- all of this stuff that developers and development managers use to track a project in the actual code itself. It provides a lot of meta-information tracking around the development process that's extremely helpful."

Tasktop made the announcement at the annual EclipseCon Conference, being held this week in Santa Clara, Calif.

Tasktop Enterprise 2.0 adds several new integrations, including: HP Agile Accelerator, Accept 360, SmartBear CodeCollaborator, Polarion ALM, and Hudson/Jenkins. Kersten said additional federation support will be added for other Tasktop Certified connectors in future releases.

"There's been this need for something like a Switzerland in the ALM space," Kersten said. "Someone who is happy to talk to all the different servers, has a close relationship with all the vendors, and make sure all their Web service APIs meet all the needs to do this kind of federation."

Tasktop also announced the general availability of Tasktop for Visual Studio, which brings the ecosystem of Tasktop connectors -- and Mylyn's functionality -- into the Visual Studio IDE.

Tasktop Enterprise 2.0 is available now. More information is available here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].