IBM extends SOA tools for desktop

Rational products are tuned for architecture enhancements

Focusing on the global architecture of SOA, IBM on Tuesday is introducing IBM Rational Software Delivery Platform 7.0 for the desktop.

The product unveiling features a multitude of integrated products tweaked to the needs of SOA. With the rollout, IBM reasons enterprises need tools to visualize an architecture that has composite applications residing in multiple locations, said Dave Locke, director of offerings marketing at IBM Rational. SOA testing also is a critical component.

"We're empowering the A in SOA," Locke said.

"We've added functionality to help line-of-business people communicate more effectively with the IT people, so that IT can understand what to implement, and help the implementers, if you will, be more efficient and work as a geographically distributed team," Locke said.

IBM's SOA tool rollout addresses the process side of development, said analyst Bola Rotibi of Ovum. "It's about looking at the development process within the context of the business," she said. "It's not just bring tools out for the sake of tools."

As part of the rollout, Rational Unified Process, which provides process guidance, now will cover SOA governance. IBM envisions governance as understanding what teams are doing in an SOA as well as assisting with regulatory compliance. 

The 7.0 desktop tools, which are based on the Eclipse platform, complement previously released server-side products such as IBM Rational ClearQuest 7.0. Among the tools being upgraded, all bearing the name IBM Rational at the beginning, include:

* Application Developer for WebSphere Software, featuring an IDE for developing SOA, Java and portal applications.

* Software Architect, for model-driven development of SOA, J2EE and portal applications. New models are featured for SOA.

* Software Modeler, a visual modeling tool for architects, systems analysts and designers to ensure that specifications, architectures and designs are clearly defined. It is based on Unified Modeling Language 2.1.

* Systems Developer, a systems design and development tool for building hardware and software systems. This product adds SysML (Systems Modeling Language) support.

* Functional Tester, for functional and regression testing.

* Functional Tester Plus, for teams to test applications.

* Manual Tester, for manual test authoring and execution.

* Professional Bundle, featuring desktop tools for constructing and testing applications for Windows and Linux and testing of .Net applications.

* Data and Application Modeling Bundle, featuring Data Architect and Software Modeler.

Other elements of the rollout include integration between Rational team and desktop products to accommodate SOA. IBM Rational RequisitePro, for requirements management, has been integrated with WebSphere Business Modeler, enabling requirements to be captured within a model. RequisitePro also integrates with Software Architect, which visualizes an architecture including business workflow.

Also, a Rational Method Composer Plug-in allows for integration with SOA governance infrastructure. IBM with the desktop tools is extending support for integrating components from SAP, Siebel, and Oracle applications as well. This support is being added to the Performance Tester and Functional Tester products in the IBM Rational line.

As part of the rollout, IBM is announcing availability of IBM Rational Elite Support for Eclipse, a previously detailed program providing enterprise-level support for the Eclipse open source development framework.

IBM's 7.0 tools are available now, except for Performance Tester, which ships in the first quarter of 2007.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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