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New IBM Rational change management interfaces boost interoperability

“Software development teams work with a wide range of tools, and their biggest challenge is making all the tools work together in a way that’s effective for their software delivery process,” Scott Bosworth, Open Service Lifecycle Collaboration (OSDL) program manager, IBM Rational, told me yesterday.

Today, IBM addressed that problem, announcing new change management interfaces for three IBM Rational products available now: IBM Rational Team Concert, IBM Rational Quality Manager and IBM Rational ClearQuest. OSDL spec support for IBM Rational Change is due in September.

The new IBM Rational interfaces are the first released on OSLC change management specifications released this summer. A 20-member software industry group founded by IBM, OSLC wants to increase tool data interchange via widespread adoption of industry standards. A similar IBM initiative achieved standards adoption for Eclipse client IDE.

“The promise is that in any part of the life cycle in which you need to see a change management interface, you could now integrate with any system that supports OSLC,” Bosworth said.

Bosworth explained that the OSLC change management specification and new IBM interfaces target common problems quality assurance (QA) and testing teams face in the software development process.

QA analysts will be able to use their tools at every step of the development and application life cycle, he noted. Tools are often used only for specific roles in the life cycle, Bosworth said, and they typically have their own ways of storing data and presenting data. This change management specification was driven by the need for integration between quality management tools to be able to find, locate defects stored in a change management system.”

Software testers will be able to upgrade their tool choices as more and more tools provide the interface, the tools become more pluggable, Bosworth said. “They get more choice and easier-to -maintain integrations.”

These kinds of integrations would be applicable to any type of change management systems, according to Bosworth.

“People have existing change management systems for different reasons, like for a project that has some complexity like the technical purchase of a company. They need to have a common way of integrating change management systems with other tools.”

As an example of such integration, Bosworth mentioned recent work on IBM Rational Quality Manager.

“We set out last year to have Rational Quality Manager and Rational Team Concert integrated. We could have done that in a one-off fashion, which is traditionally how these things are done. Instead, we used the OSLC approach in which we defined common set of resource descriptions and described common services interface that would interact with any change management system in a consistent way.”

Over time, OSLC plans to move beyond change management area to requirements and quality management, software estimation, reporting, software configuration management and more domains, Bosworth said.

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