CollabNet Ups ALM Ante

CollabNet offers a new version of SourceForge Enterprise, an ALM system that provides a single interface for Visual Studio and Eclipse IDEs.

CollabNet Corp.'s integration of the technologies it acquired last year from VA Software continues apace.

The Brisbane, Calif.-based maker of software lifecycle management tools recently released a new version of its SourceForge Enterprise application lifecycle management (ALM) system. The company also introduced a new desktop-configuration tool. Among other things, CollabNet's new offerings sport a single interface to Microsoft's Visual Studio and Eclipse IDEs.

CollabNet's core platform is designed to connect geographically distributed software development teams and provide them with integrated tools. It's also the corporate backer to the popular Subversion build- and change-management package.

The company has been integrating its core products with its assets acquired last year, says Rob Cheng, CollabNet's director of product marketing. The result is SourceForge Enterprise 5.0, which offers a Web-based tool suite for software configuration management (SCM), issue tracking (which CollabNet calls "artifact" tracking), collaboration and product management.

Essentially, the suite centralizes the management of users, projects, processes and assets, Cheng says, with the aim of providing a high level of transparency that bumps up productivity and cuts costs. "Because it's all linked together, you have this very clear visibility and traceability into each release," Cheng says.

ALM Focus
There are two key improvements in SourceForge Enterprise 5.0 emphasizing ALM. The first is customizable project pages, which are designed to allow dev teams "to capture and share workflows, best practices and other project content," the company says.

"Project pages are flexible, portal-style project homepages where anybody who has access can create rich, nested Web pages that have within them portlet-like components that give you real-time data on the status of your project," Cheng explains.

The second ALM-focused feature in the system is the new product templates.

"Once you've created these project pages that model what you want to do as a group," Cheng adds, y"ou can capture that and save that entire structure -- including the content, components that you want to deliver real-time data from, and the customized workflows and fields -- all that information is captured as a template, which can then be used as a blueprint in future projects."

This "enhanced project-templating functionality" standardizes dev processes by capturing and re-using both the structure and the content of existing projects, Cheng says, "from project pages and discussion forums to custom issue-tracker fields, saved searches and workflow definitions."

Inside SourceForge Enterprise 5.0

The new ALM tool includes:

  • Project pages-portal style interfaces to development projects
  • Product templates-standardize dev processes by capturing and re-using the structure and content of existing projects
  • Common interface for both Visual Studio and Eclipse

Of key importance to .NET developers is the fact that the project pages are integrated into Visual Studio and Eclipse, says Forrester Research Inc. analyst Jeffrey Hammond. "If you look at some of the newest ALM tools, they're focused on one IDE more than others," Hammond says. "To use Microsoft TFS with Eclipse you need a partner product, and IBM Rational Team composer only supports Eclipse-based IDEs at this point."

Additional Offerings
The company also announced new releases of its CollabNet Desktops for Microsoft Visual Studio and Eclipse. This application is designed to provide automatic configuration and unified access to Subversion repositories, documents, issues and other SourceForge Enterprise artifacts. The company also disclosed that the source code for the Eclipse Desktop is now an open source project; the company plans to open source the Visual Studio desktop sometime later this year.

This isn't CollabNet's first collaboration with Microsoft. The company partnered with the Redmond software giant a year ago to develop AnkhSVN, which provides a basic integration between Subversion and Visual Studio. CollabNet hosts the project, while Microsoft provides technical services and marketing support. AnkhSVN 2.0 was released in July.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].

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