Tasktop Updates Mylyn-based Task Federation Platform

Tasktop Technologies has released Sync 2.0, the first major upgrade of its tool for synchronizing existing application lifecycle management (ALM) servers from multiple vendors and open source projects. Among other things, the new version adds a quick start wizard; a visual editor for configuring sync mapping; and Groovy-based scripting support.

"The majority of organizations with more than 100 developers have ALM stacks that are so diverse and disconnected that they lack traceability and cross-stakeholder collaboration," Tasktop CEO Mik Kersten told "They've got HP Quality Center, they're deploying one of the best-of-breed Agile tools -- Rally or maybe Rational Team Concert -- and they have different SCM and CI systems. These tools by design are meant not to talk with each other, which means you don't have visibility or traceability across your software development lifecycle. This is causing a bottleneck of large-scale software delivery. We're breaking that bottleneck with a single tool that captures an organization's ALM architecture."

Tasktop launched the first version of Sync in August at the Agile 2011 Conference in Salt Lake City. Sync 1.0 was built on the company's Eclipse Mylyn-based technology to provide, the company said at the time, "real-time ALM server synchronization to unify and connect heterogeneous technologies with development and IT operations teams that are scaling Agile methods in the enterprise." Essentially, it's a server-based system for federating tasks. Kersten actually created Mylyn, a Java-based, task-focused framework, and then contributed it to the open source community. It has become the de facto ALM interoperability framework.

Tasktop Sync is designed to unify heterogeneous ALM stacks by allowing developers, testers, business analysts and managers to work within their preferred tools, while automatically maintaining traceability across ALM artifacts. Tasktop Sync brings "task federation" to ALM servers, by providing "real-time, bi-directional, fully automated synchronization between ALM servers." The company's Tasktop Dev product line supports Tasktop Sync by federating tasks and other ALM artifacts on the developer's Eclipse and Visual Studio desktops.

Tasktop is hitting a real pain point with the Sync product, said IDC analyst Melinda Ballou.

"Complex sourcing has become the norm for most companies -- including off-shoring and open source -- and deployment across a multitude of platforms, such as mobile, embedded, cloud and on-premise, drives software development challenges," Ballou said in a statement. "In this context, lack of coordination across lifecycle management phases and automation undermines business innovation and agility. Companies urgently need ways to effectively connect a broad range of lifecycle tools to enable visibility, metrics and control."

Tasktop Sync 2.0 includes several innovations for connecting ALM stacks and stakeholders. It provides new visual tools that allow ALM architects and administrators to connect to ALM repositories, conduct introspective analysis of repository schemas and intelligently connect previously disconnected tools via ALM artifact mappings. It also comes with a new software lifecycle artifact linking facility built on the Open Services for Lifecycle Management (OSLC) interoperability protocols (it serves as a broker for linking ALM artifacts). The OSLC is a standards group working to standardize the way software lifecycle tools can share data. Tasktop is collaborating with IBM to define the OSLC protocols.

This version of Sync provides OSLC-based REST API access to more than 20 Tasktop Certified Mylyn connectors, as well as dozens of other community-driven or in-house Mylyn connectors, Kersten said. Companies using IBM's Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) tools in their ALM stack, for example, can link with artifacts from a range of third-party and open-sourced ALM tools, including HP ALM and Quality Center, Atlassian JIRA, and Mozilla Bugzilla, among others. The OSLC linking extends Tasktop Sync's synchronization facilities to support live connectivity and embedding of ALM artifacts in a way that's similar to the way social networking tools can embed each other's feeds (think Twitter button in Facebook). 

Tasktop Sync 2.0 is available for download now.


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].