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With JDeveloper Upgrade, Oracle Begins New ALM Effort

Among the numerous elements of its Fusion Middleware 11g launch, Oracle is embarking upon a new application lifecycle management (ALM) strategy.

Oracle introduced its ALM offering, called Team Productivity Center (TPC), as a component of the company’s JDeveloper upgrade that accompanied the Fusion launch last week.

TPC aims to bring teams together inside the IDE, said Ted Ferrell, Oracle’s chief architect of tools and middleware, speaking on a conference call with media immediately following the Fusion launch event.

"You can see different team members, what they are working on, you can track your bugs together as groups or individuals, you can share code, you can chat with each other right from within the IDE," Ferrell said.

TPC includes a server with pre-configured connectors to key lifecycle tools such as Atlassian’s JIRA, Microsoft Project, and namesake tools from Rally Software. The new JDeveloper 11g Release 1 (11.1.1.1.0) also comes with an extension to support other lifecycle management and collaboration tools within the environment.  Among them are Bugzilla, Ant and Maven, CVS, and Subversion, Ferrell said.

Traditional ALM solutions, require developers to change the way they do things, he said. "Our approach is an adaptor-based best of breed approach where we plug in to whatever you use," Ferrell said.

Developers can also create their own custom adapters. "We find a lot of our customers have home grown build and deployment environments and they don’t want to change that," he said.

Nevertheless, Oracle had little choice but to go this route, given that traditional ALM vendors were reticent to support JDeveloper, according to analysts. "They describe their strategy as a best of breed strategy but to me that’s code for ‘we don’t have our own so we’re going to integrate with everybody else’s,’ " said Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond in an interview.

"There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that strategy given where they are. The ones they are looking to integrate with are the ones that people are using, so it’s absolutely the right strategy, but it is kind of symptomatic that they don’t have their own."

Ovum analyst Tony Baer agreed that it makes sense to interface with other tools, saying in an interview that TPC is likely to appeal to JDeveloper programmers managing code built for the Oracle applications and for Fusion. "In terms of getting the most out of their ALM strategy, it’s only as effective as your software environment is Oracle," Baer said. "It really doesn’t apply outside the Oracle environment."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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