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IBM readies first Rational product rollout

IBM readies first Rational product rollout

IBM has rolled out new Rational software development products, its first since officially acquiring the company in February.

Products to be announced under the IBM Rational nameplate include Rapid Developer, a rapid application development environment for building J2EE applications, and XDE Tester for testing in the WebSphere Studio 5.0 and Eclipse 2.0 environments and an enhanced XDE Developer product, formerly known as XDE Professional. All products will ship by June 30.

IBM has also enhanced the Rational Unified Process for software development to make it more configurable for a broader audience. Rapid Developer was tailored to shops that wanted to build Java applications but lacked Java-based technical resources, vice-president of marketing for IBM Rational, Eric Schurr, said.

"It allows [development of] n-tier applications by people who are not J2EE experts," he said. "The importance of that is that lots of people want to build on the J2EE platform but they don't have the resources to do it."

The product, according to IBM, also simplifies legacy integration. In addition, it functions with other Rational products such as ClearCase and Rose.

An early user of Rapid Developer vouched for its ease of use.

"It's easy to learn, and it takes away all of the mundane tasks that are normally associated with application development [such as doing builds, screen design, and layouts]," said Steven Edwards, senior manager in the financial services group at BearingPoint, a systems integrator. BearingPoint was using the tool to build a claims application for the insurance market, Edwards said.

XDE Developer is a modelling tool that features a new debugging capability for tracking runtime errors and developing associated UML (unified modelling language) models. It also includes Rational PurifyPlus, for debugging and diagnostics.

XDE Developer also extends reusability through asset-based development, according to IBM.

It works with both Java and Microsoft .Net development and can be run inside of the Eclipse toolset or Microsoft Visual Studio .Net.

"We want people to understand that we're continuing our support for .Net," Schurr said.

XDE Tester is an automated testing tool that tests Java and Web applications with Java as the tool's scripting language. IBM also has added new content to the Rational Unified Process, which is a set of base practices and guidance on how to run a software product.

The company has added more information about data modelling, business modelling and developer testing. Developers also can more easily modify core content to devise their own set of best practices and configure it at a project level.

IBM announced its $US2.1 billion acquisition of Rational last December and closed the deal in late February.

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