IBM hails Jazz collaboration platform

Jazz community portal is expected in June, and products built on Jazz should be offered in 2008

IBM's Jazz platform for collaborative application lifecycle management has leveraged Eclipse in terms of processes used to develop both initiatives, an IBM official said during TheServerSide Java Symposium conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Jazz and the Spring Framework for Java were focuses of the conference on Wednesday morning. Attendees learned of a possible extension to Spring to make it suitable for developing applications for mobile devices, such as phones.

Jazz was defined by IBM as a joint project between IBM Rational and IBM Research to build a scalable team collaboration platform for integrating tasks across the software lifecycle. IBM anticipates opening a community portal for Jazz in June and offering products built on top of Jazz in 2008, said IBM Distinguished Engineer Erich Gamma.

These products are expected to address areas like requirements and the development lifecycle. The portal will feature source code, a mailing list, and discussion groups as well as source code and internal builds. Participants will be encouraged to provide feedback.

Jazz development has leveraged open, collaborative processes used when IBM developed the Eclipse open-source tools platform, Gamma said, noting, "Eclipse was always done in a globally distributed way."

Jazz features both the client and server-side technologies. "It's an extensible platform, a platform where we can build lots of interesting stuff upon [it], and you want to do that on both the client and the server," Gamma said.

IBM will allow use of open-source components, such as the Apache Derby database and Tomcat Java servlet container, to power Jazz. IBM's WebSphere middleware and DB2 database also can be used.

The Web UI in Jazz will use OSGi (Open Services Gateway initiative) and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) technologies. The client is Eclipse-based, and the server leverages OSGi and the Eclipse Equinox runtime.

Jazz includes components for source control, work items, builds, reports, and a repository. Jazz tries to understand how a team works and associates processes with a project area. Processes can govern how a team behaves.

IBM is using the Jazz technology itself, Gamma said.

"Jazz is developed in Jazz," he said.

Two conference attendees from the University of Toronto, however, were disappointed with Gamma's presentation.

"I was expecting it to be more inspirational," said Haroon Rafique, Web architect at the university.

"That was [a] product pitch more than anything," said Zarar Siddiqi, a university senior developer.

With the Spring Framework, meanwhile, builders of the project are pondering extending it to the Java 2 Platform Micro Edition, said Rod Johnson, CEO of Interface21 and the founder of the framework. This would make Spring usable for building applications running on phones or devices.

"Basically, what I'm trying to do is stimulate discussion about it," Johnson said.

Spring is a popular Java application framework for increasing developer productivity.

Links between OSGi and Spring, meanwhile, are expected in about three months. This integration is likely to make its way into OSGi specifications.

"There is a Spring-OSGi project, which essentially contains the integration code between Spring and OSGi," Johnson said.

OSGi enables partitioning of applications into modules or bundles. "It enables us to break an application up into components that are fairly coarse-grained," Johnson said.

OSGi complements Spring, which offers an easy-to-use component model, he said. OSGi does not offer an easy programming model, according to Johnson. 

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.