Calling it their most significant release in the last four or five years, IBM's Rational Software division on Wednesday formally rolled out its Rational Software Platform, code-named Atlantic, intended to better unify software development across IBM's line of server software.
Based on the open Eclipse 3.0 development framework, the new platform is designed to better enable both corporate and third-party developers to craft complementary offers that will bolster IBM's existing software development offerings.
"Our focus on this release has been threefold. First, to complete the vision we had at the time IBM acquired Rational. Second, to address the needs of users migrating towards an On Demand strategy by supporting the notion of business driven development. And third, to deliver a large number of improvements around ease-of-use and support for new standards," said Mike Devlin, general manager of IBM's Rational division at a press conference Wednesday morning.
Devlin said the release also represents the embodiment of IBM's overarching goal to provide a set of common components that allows the company to deliver products more quickly, improve ease of use, and lower the total cost of ownership through a common technology base.
"This is all part of the larger IBM solution, which is to integrate with other technologies from the WebSphere base of technologies, the Tivoli base of technologies, and DB2. The key element is to allow users to define from a business standpoint what results they are trying to achieve, to manage their development and investments so they can actually see how those development activities are performing," Devlin said.
In concert with the announcement, IBM also introduced its Ready for IBM Rational Software, a program that helps developers integrate their solutions with the IBM Software Development Platform.
IBM also unwrapped several new products all aimed at better unifying the business, development, and operations teams.
First is the IBM Rational Portfolio Manager, described by company officials as a life cycle solution for "prioritizing, planning, managing, and measuring IT projects" that helps business and development managers maximize the value of technology investments by managing IT as a business. It is intended to help development managers make the most of the value of technology investments by running their IT shops more like a business, a company spokesman said.
The IBM Rational Software Architect is a new design and development tool that helps software architects more efficiently specify and maintain all aspects of software application architecture, a company spokesman said. The product is intended to improve the quality of software by allowing architects to validate that their application's architecture was constructed as designed.
The IBM Rational Software Modeler is a new Unified Modeling Language (UML) 2.0-based visual modeling and design tool for documenting and communicating the different views of a system. It helps architects, system analysts, and designers ensure that their specification and architecture are clearly defined and communicated with their stakeholders, a company spokesman explained.
The IBM Rational Manual Tester is a manual testing solution, aimed at business analysts and testers, that has a technique for manual test authoring and execution that helps reduce the impact of software change, according to company officials. Based on the Eclipse platform, the Manual Tester reportedly helps improve a team's ability to produce more reliable manual tests for use by distributed teams.
The electronic availability of the new products starts on Dec. 3 of this year, with all products physically available by Dec. 31.
Pricing for the IBM Rational Software Architect is US$5,500 per user with the IBM Rational Software Modeler going for $1,795 per user. The IBM Rational Manual Tester costs $1,500 per user and the IBM Rational Web Developer for WebSphere Software is $1,000 per user.
The IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software costs $4,000 per user, the IBM Rational Functional Tester is priced at $4,120 per user, and IBM Rational Performance Tester is $1,500 per user.
Users and developers interested in obtaining more information about the products can go to http://www.ibm.com/rational.