What's New in Rational solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management Reporting
James Moody, IBM Rational
Last updated: June 2, 2012
Build basis: CLM 4.0
Last year, we delivered an integrated reporting solution across the Rational solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management products with the release of 3.0.1. But we haven't been sitting still - since then we've been busy making a number of improvements, which we are happy to deliver to you with the new release of IBM Rational's Collaborative Lifecycle Management solution. Let me take you on a quick tour of some of the highlights that we are most excited about.
New data for reporting
One of the key requirements for us to ship useful out-of-the-box reports, as well as for you to create custom reports to suit your needs, is the availability of data. We are constantly seeking to improve the availability of product data for reporting. In some cases, new versions of the products bring exciting new features, and it is natural to want to report on the resulting information. In other cases, you've told us where we had gaps in our existing data, and we've worked hard to fill some of these gaps.
We've done this across Rational Team Concert (RTC), Rational Quality Manager (RQM) and Rational Requirements Composer (RRC). While there is a lot of information about the data model available in the Information Center, some of the highlights include:
- Customizable workflow states (RQM)
- Iteration hierarchy (RTC, RQM)
- More link types, such as Implemented By and Tracked By (RRC)
- More work item link type information (RTC)
This information is all stored in the data warehouse, and made available to RRDI reports. It is also exposed through the reportable REST APIs, so it can be consumed by RPE and RRDG document-style reports.
Speaking of documents... this release brings Rational Reporting for Document Generation (RRDG) to the full suite of CLM products. RRDG, which includes the engine technology behind Rational Publishing Engine (RPE), is Rational's solution for enterprise document-style reporting in its products. Reports authored with RPE can be loaded into the CLM products and generated by you as easily as you run out-of-the-box BIRT reports. In fact, in RTC and RQM, you'll see that we use the same user interface and experience for all of our report types, so unless you're looking closely you might not even realize you're running an RRDG document!
The RRDG technology has been improved to provide promptable, selectable parameters to configure the data sources, so you can select, for example, a Test Case or Test Plan from a prompter to use as input to the document generation. In the following screenshot, you can see how to select a test plan as a parameter for the report.
We also provide some out-of-the-box samples for the QM and RM domains, and of course you can use RPE to design your own. As with our other report types, they can be viewed inline or exported to other formats. Here's one of the out-of-the-box RQM documents exported to PDF.
New and updated reports
In addition to a collection of document-style RRDG reports for RQM, we've also improved the selection of RRDI samples included with RTC to include a burndown report as well as some traceability reports from a developer's perspective.
We've also made a number of improvements to many of our reports across the three products, including everything from bug fixes to styling enhancements.
You've probably heard by now about the server rename functionality coming with the 4.0 products. As you can imagine, when you change the URL of an application, the data warehouse is impacted in a non-trivial way. We use the URLs to identify and look up resources in the warehouse, and to store the links between them so you can report on them. We fully participate in server rename, so all of this information is fixed up at rename time, and reporting will continue to work in a renamed CLM system.
Clustering for high availability
Another item generating a lot of CLM-wide buzz is the ability to cluster the CLM applications to provide high availability for your system. This is something we've been working hard on, and the end result is that the reporting functionality participates fully in the clustering story.
One area we are constantly seeking to improve is the consistency and usability of our UI. Reporting functionality is exposed in RTC, RQM, and RRC, and our goal is to make the experience seamless regardless of which application you are using, as opposed to three distinct reporting experiences. We've made big strides in this area in 2012, as RQM and RTC have aligned on a single user interface for reporting. We've even made this code available in the Jazz Application Frameworks so other apps can take advantage of it as well - we'd like to bring the same experience to RRC and other adopters of the application framework in the future.
We've also made some terminology improvements that we hope will make the whole thing more understandable (for example, what we formerly called "Report Templates" in RTC are now called "Report Resources", as the idea of a report template means wildly different things in different contexts and tools).
This alignment means that concepts such as report resources (previously report templates) are now exposed in RQM for the first time. It also means that both RQM and RTC can benefit from multi-selection for bulk actions on reports and report resources. Here is a look at the exposure of report resources in RQM.
And in RTC, note the checkboxes that give you multi-select for bulk actions on reports.
Overall, these changes bring us closer to a consistent user experience across the CLM applications, and we will continue to work on this.
Rational Reporting for Development Intelligence (RRDI) 2.0
A key part of the CLM reporting story is RRDI, which lets you author and view development intelligence reports using data from the CLM applications. The RRDI team has made a number of significant improvements for this release, including a much more consumable install and setup, new platforms, and more. I don't want to give it all away - you should check out the article by Michael Fox and Cheng-Yee Lin for more about what to expect from RRDI 2.0.
The improvements in reporting for 2012 range from CLM-wide features (clustering and server rename) to reporting-specific features (document generation capabilities), from backend (new and improved data) to frontend (new out-of-the-box reports and more consistent user interface). We hope that this broad scope of enhancements makes your reporting experience a more enjoyable one!
About the author
James Moody is the technical lead for CLM reporting, RRDI, Rational Insight, RRDG, and Rational Publishing Engine. He has been working on reporting since the early days of Rational Team Concert. He can be contacted at James_Moody@ca.ibm.com.
Copyright © 2012 IBM Corporation
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