Jazz Gets Visual Studio Support

IBM Corp.'s Rational Software unit is set to release version 1.0 of Team Concert, the commercial client to the company's Jazz collaborative software development environment, later this month.

Jazz is an application lifecycle management (ALM) platform based on the Jazz Team server that supports source control, workflow and build management for distributed dev teams, much like Microsoft's Visual Studio Team System. However, Jazz focuses on collaboration, according to IBM, and is designed to keep distributed software teams connected through such Web 2.0-type social-networking technologies as instant messaging and presence awareness. The Eclipse-based Jazz will also look to offer an alternative to .NET developers via a Visual Studio version of the Team Concert client later this year.

"We're a VSIP [Visual Studio Industry Partner] with Microsoft and we're in the process of building out that client," says Dave Locke, director of offerings marketing for the IBM Rational group. "We support Visual Studio for our other products as well. Regardless of what's used to develop, or what your target platform is -- whether it's a mainframe or a Windows box -- people need to collaborate."

Yaacov Cohen, CEO of Mainsoft Corp., a partner of both IBM and Microsoft that's among the companies that have pledged to support the Jazz technology platform, says: "Visual Studio Team System is a really good product, but it only supports Visual Studio. It doesn't support Eclipse clients -- what Jazz is doing by going cross-platform."

Jazz Fest
Big Blue used its annual IBM Rational Software Development Conference in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month to officially launch Jazz, a year after releasing the first beta version and five months after the second beta shipped.

At the conference, IBM also announced that up to 20 products will support Team Concert. Those products include several Jazz-enabled IBM Rational products and two new offerings: IBM Rational Requirements Composer and IBM Rational Quality Manager.

IBM also launched Team Concert Express Edition, aimed at software delivery teams with 10 to 50 members, and a Team Concert Standard Edition optimized for midsize companies and smaller teams in large companies. This latter edition includes such additional capabilities as customizable processes, real-time project health, enterprise scalability and extensibility.

Team Concert comes in a free Concert Express-C Edition, which is available for download from the Web site. It uses the open source Apache Derby Java relational database management system and Apache Tomcat Web app server to "help teams gain experience with the concept of global software delivery and see how it can work in their environment," Locke says.

This is the first commercial release of a Jazz-based product since the company launched the community portal last June. Jazz started as an internal project, a joint effort of IBM's Rational and Research divisions to build a scalable, extensible team-collaboration platform for integrating tasks across the software lifecycle. Jazz is not open source software, but rather an "open commercial" platform, Locke explains. The company claims that 15,000 people have contributed to the project since its inception.

Kathleen Richards contributed to this report.

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