IBM hails ALM standards participation

But important players Microsoft and Micro Focus are absent from the effort

IBM will use the occasion of the 2009 Agile conference in Chicago on Tuesday to trumpet its ongoing support for an industry initiative intended to make it easier for different application lifecycle management products to interoperate. But Big Blue's efforts may not mean much given that other critical ALM vendors, including Microsoft and Micro Focus -- which now owns the former Borland ALM line --- have not signed on to the initiative.

The initiative in question is Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC). It was proposed in June 2008 and IBM is a founding member. IBM plans to emphasize its support for the change management aspect of OSLC in the latest versions of IBM Rational's Team Concert and ClearQuest products as well as in upcoming releases of Rational Change, which formerly was a Telelogic product, and IBM Rational Quality Manager. Additionally, IBM will note support of OSLC change management by partner Tasktop Technologies, which is using OSLC to integrate with IBM Rational products.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Micro Focus recently acquired Borland. | Cut straight to the key news for technology development and IT management with our once-a-day summary of the top tech news. Subscribe to the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. ]

"We're actually kind of bearing the first fruits of this OSLC initiative," said Scott Bosworth, OSLC program manager for IBM Rational. The effort is intended to make life easier for software delivery teams having to accommodate differences in lifecycle tools in areas such as data representation, Bosworth said. Provision of common definitions, reduction in complexity, and commonality in the interface also are goals of the OSLC.

But Bosworth said that Microsoft and Micro Focus, which are high-profile ALM vendors, are not participating at this time. ALM companies such as Rally Software and Tasktop are, however.

"I would expect that adoption of the [OSLC] standard is going to happen over time," he said.

A Micro Focus representative in a statement emphasized the company might yet become involved.

"At this time, Micro Focus has not begun any formal activity to become involved in the initiative," the representative said. "However, the company is really focused on evaluating everything post both the Borland and Compuware ASQ (Automated Software Quality) acquisitions. This may be an initiative [Micro Focus] will become involved with in the not-so-distant future. However, right now the focus is on working out the new product roadmap for the testing division."

Other OSLC efforts are under way in such spaces as management of requirements, quality, architecture and assets, as well as software estimation and metrics, Bosworth said. A planned version 2 of the change management specification will add reporting and schema capabilities.

Also at the Agile conference, Rally Software plans to unveil what it calls the first ALM data warehouse in the cloud, offering options for custom reporting and eliminating the problem of "canned" reports, the company said. It is featured in Rally 2009.4, which is a hosted ALM platform. This release also will include a new customizable interface, social media collaboration tools, and role-based dashboards.

A release of the Rally platform later this year will feature a Kanban mashup capability for managing pull-based, lean software development projects, in which features are tested on an ongoing basis.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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