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CLM Beta 3 now available

This week we’ve released a Beta 3 for our three Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) products:

As a team we practice continuous betas. Each milestone we produce is expected to have beta quality and is deployed for our own use. We promote some milestones as beta and invite users to provide feedback. This is typically done after one week of self hosting on the milestone. Last week we self hosted on M14, addressed the critical issues we found, and are now making beta3 available to you.

Rather than focusing on what’s new in this beta, I’ll provide a summary of what we’ve been working on. There is really good progress on the key themes.

Easy Setup and Install – Get up and running in less than an hour

Your mileage may vary, but we did several things to help you achieve this goal. The installation continues to include all three applications in a single download. Simply download once and install all three applications.

Once applications are downloaded you use the setup wizard to guide you through setting up the server and registering the applications. The setup wizard provides many default values that you do not need to change. This includes setting up the application databases and a data warehouse. The data warehouse is now shared across all the applications. For a trial set-up you can do this all on your laptop using Tomcat as the application server and Derby as the database. The set-up wizard can also be used for more advanced deployments, e.g., where the applications and the Jazz Team Server are deployed to different servers.

Next you can create the sample application, Money That Matters, using a single menu action and start to explore the applications. The sample has become much more interesting and now includes a rich set of requirements, plans, work items, source code, build definitions, test plans, test cases, and test scripts that you can use to explore the best practices for lifecycle collaboration. The sample is easily deployed from the Lifecycle Administration user interface. In addition, there is a scenario that guides you through the sample.

Finally, to gain access to the capabilities for productive use, we provide role-based client access licenses. They allow each role to access artifacts across the lifecycle. For example, a developer who needs to review a requirement or view a test result can do so simply by navigating the links without the need for an additional license.

Reduced cost of Administration

To reduce costs you can now do more administration centrally. For example, you can add users once and they are available for all applications.

In particular we have introduced and improved the concept of lifecycle projects. Whereas a project area is specific to an application, a lifecycle project provides you with project areas that are associated with each other so that you can track artifacts across the software development lifecycle.

When setting up a lifecycle project you first pick a life cycle project template that aligns with your licenses and in the template you select the process templates you want to use for the individual project areas. The life cycle project administration support does the rest for you and creates and associates the underlying project areas. Once the lifecycle project is created, you can manage its members and their roles centrally using a single interface.

Stay on top of your artifacts across the software development life cycle

We have supported mashing up widgets from different applications on dashboards for a while. We also had a personal dashboard per application. What is new is that we provide a personal dashboard for you to create your dashboard across all applications. This dashboard is easily accessible in each application and you can configure it according your personal needs.

In addition, there is now a mini dashboard. This dashboard follows-you around as you navigate the system. It is available in each application as a dockable side bar with your configured contents. It is a great way to have quick access to the work items assigned to you or to stay on top of recent changes to your work items. Finally, in addition to populating your dashboards with widgets from the CLM applications, but you can also add OpenSocial and IBM widgets as well.

UI Alignment – Feeling at home in each application

During this release cycle we not only focused on improving the integration across the applications, but also on aligning their user interfaces better. All applications now share a common banner with common navigation and administration support. Quick search is now available from the banner in all applications. The Home menu is a central access point for navigation in each application. It provides access to the personal dashboard and allows you to easily navigate to your project areas.

Collaborate using Tasks across the life cycle

Knowing what I have “to do” and what others expect from me is a key to effectively collaborating in a team. Tracking development tasks, tracking progress on test artifacts, or tracking issues with a requirement can now all be done using a shared work item service provided by the CCM application. You can add viewlets that show tasks in your dashboards or the mini dashboard. In addition, the team can add these tasks to their plans to estimate and track progress at the whole team level.

Improved tracing artifacts across the life cycle

Links between artifacts are the vehicle to trace them throughout the life cycle. During this cycle we have enriched the link types available to link artifacts.

For example the type “Tracks/Tracked by” – was introduced to support tracking issues or changes to requirements using work items. There are queries provided in both the Requirements Management and Change and Configuration Management applications to find those requirements that have open tracking items.

We have not only enriched the link types, but also leverage these types to provide more traceability, for example, when a test case fails, the defect is not only linked to the test case but also linked to the plan item (e.g. a Story) or the requirement that relates to the test case.

Once you start to establish links among artifacts you also need to able to easily view what your linking coverage is and whether there are gaps. For example, you can see when test cases exists for work items on the plan. If there is a traceability gap you can easily create linked artifacts like test cases to improve the coverage. We now provide enhanced traceability views and provide life cycle queries or filters to find these gaps. For example, you can add columns to tables showing artifacts that show the links to other artifacts.

Behind the scenes, the CLM applications implement the Open Services for Lifecycle Integration (OSLC) v2 specifications to support the linking mechanisms.

If you have additional traceability needs, then you can now define reports for artifact relationships across the applications. The key mechanism behind this is a shared data warehouse. Each application extracts, transforms, and loads data into this shared data warehouse.

Cross application reporting was introduced in Beta 2 and is improved in Beta 3 with the support of additional reports out of the box. You can optionally install Rational Reporting for Developer Intelligence and edit the reports to match your organization’s needs.

We Self-host on what’s new

We self host on our milestones and are also expanding the self hosting at jazz.net. The team is now using RQM for managing test cases and tracking test executions. This is our short guide of the setup and how we use it. As an example, this  is the RQM test script, we use to verify CLM builds.  The system test team is also using RQM to trace our top-level plan items from the CLM plan to trace to their test cases. Not all of these tests are public and many more are run behind the firewall.

The beta 3 is again an open invitation for your feedback. Please use our forums for questions. For questions relating to using the products together, like the setup or the integrations, please use the Collaborative Lifecycle Management forum. For questions specific to a particular product such as RRC, RTC or RQM use the corresponding product forums.

Please give the beta3 a try and if you find defects then please read our guidelines for how to file CLM defects. This will help you determine where and how to file defects and this will help us with the defect triage.

Erich Gamma – Collaborative Lifecycle Management Technical Lead