IBM is moving forward with its Jazz application lifecycle management platform Monday, expanding access to the Jazz.net community and touting Project Bluegrass, which seeks a virtual world for developer collaboration.
The company also is readying a second beta release of the first Jazz product, called IBM Rational Concert Express.
"The first thing we're doing is we're opening up the Jazz.net community to everyone," and allowing them to participate in the evolution of Jazz, said Scott Hebner, vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM. Previously, the year-old Jazz.net community was open only to IBM Rational customers, academics and partners.
Allowing greater access to Jazz.net boosts exposure, noted Liz Barnett, principal analyst at EZinsight. "They're going to expose the technology to a much wider audience, certainly [to] many people who are not IBM tool customers," she said.
Jazz represents IBM's approach to enabling better collaboration in software development projects that can be distributed across the globe.
"The Jazz technology is designed to help people work together more [effectively] and collaborate in the development and delivery of software," said Hebner. What is different about Jazz is it provides real-time collaborative technology to manage under the covers all information pertaining to the health of a software development project.
Unlike previous ALM products, Jazz offerings will adapt to the way that users want to use them instead of users having to adapt to the products, Hebner said. Featured in Jazz products is a central repository to store information about different software development projects.
With Bluegrass, IBM is attempting to bring the visual, collaborative nature of virtual worlds to software development. Hebner cited the Second Life 3D online environment as offering the kind of functionality IBM wants to bring to ALM with Bluegrass.
Developers could work together while viewing interactive representations of ideas and data. Avatars, or graphical representations of participants, would be used as well. Geared toward new, younger workers used to Web 2.0-style communications, Bluegrass is a research effort that may result in products from IBM or other companies.
Bluegrass will be demonstrated at the Lotusphere conference in Orlando, Fla. next week. Bluegrass also is available on the IBM Codestation kiosk in Second Life.
IBM Rational Team Concert Express is intended for smaller development teams looking to use agile development techniques and collaborate across the globe, Hebner said.
The product should appeal to the agile community, Barnett said. "It's a lightweight toolset, and it's really easy just to pick up and use and extend on your own," said Barnett.
With the second beta, IBM has added capabilities for team collaboration and gauging project health; Web dashboards are featured. Also, users also can leverage a broader set of underlying infrastructure, including Oracle databases, Lotus Sametime communications software, and Apache servers.
The first beta arrived last summer; general release of Team Concert Express is planned for later this year.
At the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Team Concert Express has been used to develop a tool called Emergent Expertise Locator, which recommends members for development teams based on an examination of how files have changed hands and who has participated.
"Essentially, the tool's looking at the story of how changes have been committed to the code base," said Gail Murphy, computer science professor at the university.
Over time, key IBM Rational products, including the ClearCase software configuration management system, ClearQuest for software change management, and Build Forge for build and release management, will incorporate Jazz technology. This will enable participation in a more collaborative real-time ALM platform, Hebner said. These upgrades will begin to arrive later in 2008.