IBM Unveils Change Management Software for System i
Published: December 2, 2008
by Alex Woodie
IBM last week unveiled and delivered Rational Team Concert for i, a new suite of change management utilities for System i and Power Systems shops. The software, which plugs into Rational Developer for i (RDi), is an i OS version of Rational Team Concert, and provides System i shops with integrated source control, change management, and build management capabilities, according to IBM.
For years, IBM has relied on third-party software developers to provide source control and change management capabilities for its AS/400, iSeries, System i, and now Power Systems server platform (with some exceptions). With the acquisition of Rational, IBM obtained a first-rate change management product, but like so many IBM products, it was really geared toward so-called "open systems" platforms like Windows, Unix, Linux, and other operating systems.
With the delivery last week of Rational Team Concert for i, IBM has shown that it's become more serious about giving the Rational change management product legitimate System i capabilities. The product does this by delivering a native i OS version of Rational Team Concert version 7.5, and support for some of the unique aspects of the proprietary platform, including programming languages used primarily on the System i server and its Windows-like IFS file system.
At the heart of Rational Team Concert for i is the Rational Team Concert for i repository, which gives customers the capability to store, control, and track changes to source code modifications to RPG, COBOL, EGL, and Java applications. The software lets managers set project milestones, assign each member of a team to a particular role, and monitor development work.
On top of this repository, IBM provides functionality to coordinate teams of developers, and allows them to work in parallel without stepping on each other's toes. Developers can check out a particular item that needs work or debugging, and Rational Team Concert for i's workflow tracking capability will ensure that any changes follow a logical progression and are merged back into a controlled development process.
Also included in Rational Team Concert for i is build management functionality for scheduling and executing software builds across multiple local or remote servers. The product includes build agents that run natively on IBM i (the official IBM name for i5/OS V6R1), and automatically run commands to extract RPG, COBOL, and Java source code from the repository and compile it at set intervals.
Teams of developers also gain new ways of communicating and collaborating. The product's "work item management" capabilities enable individuals to discuss a particular item, and to receive updates about modifications to specific parts of an application through RSS feeds, among other capabilities. However, this functionality is only available when using Rational Team Concert for i with RDi.
Rational Team Concert for i includes a Windows interface that plugs into the Eclipse-based RDi product set. The product also includes an AJAX-based Web client that allows occasional users to view reports and see what all those crazy programmers are up to.
Rational Team Concert for i supports development on i5/OS V5R4 and i 6.1. The client portion runs on Windows XP or Windows Vista, while the server portion runs on WebSphere Application Server or WebSphere Express.
Rational Team Concert for i shipped last week on electronic media, and will be available on physical media December 19. IBM is offering free 60-day trials in hopes of building a customer base. For more information, see Software Announcement 208-384.
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