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DOORS Next Generation v6.0.1 preview

DOORS Next Generation (DNG) v6.0, which was made generally available at the end of June, was one the largest and most feature-filled releases we have ever delivered. With that shipment, we introduced for the first time configuration management of requirements as well as a new, no browser plug-in graphical editor. You can view all the details of this release on the DNG product information page.

Even though version 6.0 has only been available for a few months, the development team is hard at work on version 6.0.1 which will also bring some significant and exciting new features. In this post, I would like to give you a preview of what you can expect, and invite you to download our latest milestone and try some of these features out for yourself.

Version 6.0.1 will contain features along three major themes: further enhancement of requirement configuration management and product line engineering (PLE), bulk data manipulation improvements, and usability enhancements. Let’s look at some of the details behind each of these themes.

Requirement configuration management and PLE

As mentioned previously, version 6.0 introduced requirement configuration management (CM) for the first time into DNG. We are following up this release with some improvements to make CM even more functional and useful. Here are a few of the features you can expect:

  • Requirements change management. Version 6.0 introduced change sets which work great for grouping requirement changes and managing their delivery between streams. In the next release we are taking this a step further, and allowing administrators to optionally set up streams so that change sets are required for all changes. Furthermore, administrators can require that an approved work item be linked to a change set before it can be delivered to a stream. This allows for enforcement of stricter change control and approval processes within teams and organizations.
  • Automatic module merging. In v6.0.1 we have completely automated merging concurrent changes from multiple user within a module. If two or more users change the same module at the same time, the system can now almost always automatically merge the changes. This feature makes concurrent development much easier to manage.
  • Link validity / suspect links. The current suspect links functionality within the tool is being extended to work when CM is enabled. We have re-thought how suspect links should work when used in conjunction with CM and are introducing a concept called “link validity” that allows validity assertions between two requirements and a link to be reused across configurations. This will greatly reduce the amount of unnecessary checking that needs to be done as changes are made in a CM enabled system.
  • CM aware reporting and dashboards. In the next release we will remove the current restrictions on metrics reporting in CM enabled projects. The Jazz Lifecycle Query Engine (LQE) will now contain data for versions and configurations of requirements. This data can be used by the new Jazz Reporting Services to produce a variety of out of the box or custom reports. In addition, most of our dashboard widgets can now be configured to show information from a specific configuration.

Bulk data manipulation

Getting requirements data in and out of DNG in various formats is an important part of many of users requirements processes.  We are focusing on some significant improvements in this area for this release.  Some of the highlights are listed below.

  • CSV data round-trip support. Perhaps one of the most highly requested features for DNG has been the ability to export data, edit it in Excel, and then bring just the changed requirements back into DNG. With this release we are enabling just that! The 6.0.1 release will enable this through CSV files, but we are also investigating support for the Excel format directly, perhaps in a future release.
  • Link by attribute. You will have the ability to automatically create, update, and delete links based on an attribute value. This can work in conjunction with the CSV round-trip support to handle creating and changing links on import, or it can be invoked separately as simply an easy way to create links within the DNG web interface. This was one of the most popular features in DOORS 9 and we are looking forward to bringing this same functionality to DNG.
  • Copying requirements between projects. For the first time, in v6.0.1 users will be able to copy requirements between projects. To enable this we have introduced a mechanism to copy and share types between projects as well. This copy functionality will support requirements, modules, collections, and diagrams, and will give customers a flexibility to reorganize and reuse requirements across project boundaries that has not existed before.
  • Improvements in data migration from DOORS 9. In v6.0.1 we continue to make improvements based on customer feedback in our support for migrating data from DOORS 9 to DNG. In this release, we are introducing features to migrate DOORS tables to tables in DNG, as well as enabling migration packages so that users can migrate incrementally and not worry about losing their links.

Usability improvements

We continue to invest significant development effort each release on improving the usability of the tool with the goal of increasing user productivity. In this release we plan on making over 30 usability improvements. Here are just a few of the highlights.

  • Link schema enforcement. With the introduction of link schema enforcement, project administrators can teach DNG the schema they want to enforce for their requirements traceability. This includes which requirement types can be linked via which link types. Once DNG knows the schema you want to enforce, it will prevent non-conformant requirement links from being created and will adapt the UI to encourage linking in line with the specified schema.
  • View improvements. We have received feedback that users need a better way to manage the large number of views typically created within DNG. In response to this feedback, we are implementing the ability to scope views by artifact type, by team area, and even by role within the team. For modules and collections, we will also provide the ability to specify the default view that appears when opening the module or collection. These features will work together to help eliminate extraneous views from distracting users and effecting productivity.
  • Improved menus. In an effort to simplify DNG, we have reorganized some of the menus and enabled right click context menus throughout the user interface, making it easier for users to get to the functionality they want more quickly.
  • Filtering improvements. Filtering and navigation improvements will be the focus of a number of upcoming releases. In v6.0.1 we are making some modest improvements while we work on a larger re-design for future releases. V6.0.1 users will find the new ability to filter by requirement ID, additional options for text filtering, and the ability to display the team area as a column in the requirement grid, module, or collection.

How to get started with DOORS Next Generation v6.0.1

It’s easy to get started with DOORS Next Generation v6.0.1 milestone 3. Although it works with enterprise databases and web servers, it can be easily installed for evaluation using the included Derby database and Tomcat web server for use with up to 10 users.

V6.0.1 M3 can be downloaded from the Rational DOORS Next Generation downloads area.

Please give us feedback

We would love to hear your feedback on DOORS Next Generation v6.0.1. Please feel free to reach out to our developers and product managers:

Thank you very much.

George DeCandio
IBM Distinguished Engineer, Requirements management