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Frequently Asked Questions

What is IBM announcing?
IBM is introducing an initiative, called Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration, aimed at simplifying collaboration across the software delivery lifecycle. Our goal is to enable teams to use disparate tools and share lifecycle resources in delivering software, whether the tools are from IBM, other vendors, open source projects, or in-house development. We aim to do so in a way that is open and non-proprietary and that will encourage all industry members to participate.
 
Specifically, we're publishing several things at Jazz.net, including an initial set of descriptions for lifecycle resources such as requirements and test cases, as well as protocols and services for accessing these resources. We're also providing code that illustrates usage of these protocols. We hope that by openly sharing our ideas and sample code, our efforts will promote cross-industry collaboration that will lead to agreement on a common architecture and to both commercial products and open source projects that implement these protocols.
 
What problem are you trying to solve?
The software delivery tools marketplace of today grew organically from point tools aimed at solving specific narrow needs in the software delivery lifecycle. Teams and organizations who are concerned with all aspects of software delivery have historically had to rely on multiple point-to-point integrations between tools. Consequently, this has created barriers for teams to collaborate and have made cross-lifecycle processes and cross-tool integrations expensive to create, complex to manage, and difficult to change over time, despite the best efforts of tools vendors to integrate their own tools or create alliances with complementary vendors.
 
The increasing focus in software delivery on governance and business alignment make it imperative that the industry move to solve the closely-related problems of tool interoperability and lifecycle collaboration. Our goal is to find a means for allowing tools to readily share lifecycle resources, enabling organizations to more easily integrate, manage, and evolve lifecycle tools and processes for software delivery in response to new business demands.
 
What fresh approach does IBM bring to the solution of this challenge?
First, IBM’s experience has identified three degrees of interoperability that are relevant to this challenge: (1) fundamental services that allow different tools to share and exchange the data that they produce; (2) common understanding of relationships between lifecycle resources, such as test cases and requirements; and (3) detailed agreement on the information in a resource, such as a Use Case. A successful solution to this challenge must allow for any and all of these degrees of integration, without forcing tools to agree at the most detailed level where that isn’t necessary.
 
Second, we recognize that the interoperability mechanisms must be robust and flexible allowing companies to easily upgrade individual tools without breaking tool integrations or process flows. A successful solution to this challenge cannot be dependent on close cooperation or continuous coordination between vendors. That’s why our proposal relies heavily on the architecture of the web, which robustly integrates disparate providers of information and services. Similarly, we model our approach on Web 2.0 concepts such as mashups, exploiting document formats, metadata and services rather than traditional brittle APIs.
 
Third, any eventual solution must be recognized as being independent of one vendor’s control. To that end, in the future we’d like to explore the role that open standards and open source projects might play in ensuring that agreed-to protocols and resource descriptions will be freely and equitably available and evolve under independent governance. To promote discussion and help people to understand the ideas being proposed, we are also making illustrative code available under an open source license.
 
What are you making available on Jazz.net?
We are making available documents introducing the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration initiative, and that (1) outline IBM’s motivations for this initiative and discuss the architectural principles and technical underpinnings for the proposed resource descriptions and services; (2) describe a set of resources and relationships in the application lifecycle domain, including requirements and test cases; and (3) describe an initial set of protocols and services for accessing resources, including services for storing, collecting, querying, retrieving and updating resources. Additionally, we’re publishing sample resource descriptions and an illustrative server that implements the services.
 
What is the relationship between this announcement and Jazz Rest Services (JRS) and Jazz technologies available at Jazz.net?
The Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration initiative is derived from IBM’s work on the Jazz technology platform, and specifically from the JRS (Jazz REST Services) incubator described on Jazz.net. Upon successful completion of the incubation phase, JRS is expected to be introduced into future versions of the Jazz technology platform as the basis for the integration services of the Jazz team server. With Open Services, we’ve identified elements of JRS that we believe provide value for tool interoperability on an industry scale. The Jazz technology platform will incorporate IBM’s commercial implementation of the Open Services protocols as well as additional services, and will continue to be evolved in a transparent way on Jazz.net.
 
How is IBM using these interfaces in its own products, including Jazz, today? How will it use them in the future?
IBM Rational products are employing the Open Services style of architecture today. In fact, many of the products we’re delivering this year use this approach for tool integration and sharing of resources. Rational Requirements Composer is the first product that interoperates entirely using early versions of Jazz REST Services (JRS), described above. Another example includes the integrations between Rational Quality Manager and Rational RequisitePro for sharing requirements. Moreover, our new enterprise reporting investments rely on RESTful services for accessing data from ClearQuest and other tools.
 
In the future, we intend that our work on the Jazz technology platform will be reflected in our efforts with Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration, and that the services of Jazz technology platform will include commercial implementations of the agreed-to and evolving Open Services protocols. As a result, Rational and third party products that make use of Jazz platform services will achieve the interoperability goals of Open Services. The first commercial implementations of these services in the Jazz technology platform are expected in late 2008 or early in 2009 and will be adopted by Rational products like Rational Team Concert sometime thereafter.
 
What do you expect people to do with what you’ve published on Jazz.net? What are the next steps?
The documents and sample code published on Jazz.net are intended to start the discussion by illustrating our ideas. We encourage other vendors and members of the community to examine these resources and begin the dialog with us and each other that can lead to a common approach for achieving lifecycle collaboration.