Why should you Jazz ?
Posted by sureshkrishna on April 4, 2008
Jazz is a technology platform from IBM. Its based on the client-server technology and manages the source management, build tools and promotes the team collaboration. Once of the great aspect of this platform is that its built with Team Collaboration in mind. Well… this makes a lot of difference in the corporate and product development environment.
Not to get confused, IBM Rational Team Concert is the first product based on the Jazz Platform. Team Concert is based on Eclipse and related technologies. By basing the Team Concert on Eclipse proves “Eclipse as a Platform“. Team Concert is available for free to download and play with. Not sure if Rational would want to make money in future and also how the licensing mechanism works for the Jazz and Team Concert for the enterprises.
I am truly impressed with the workshop that me and Peter Kirschner (a colleagues of mine from Robert Bosch, Germany) attended at EclipseCon2008. Starting with the presentation of Erich Gamma, Jean-Michel, Kai-Uwe Maetzel and John Wiegand gave a very good overview of the Platform and ideas behind it. Soon after EclipseCon, i downloaded and started playing with it. My colleagues at Bosch says he gets response in matter of minutes. But i have a different opinion. Perhaps i am JUST a developer.
All the corporates that i worked for have similar problems. Especially i worked for the tool development departments and you can see the same patterns every where. We have Process, Methods and Tools departments and they always were three DIFFERENT departments. Developers always wanted to have Simple Processes, Unified Methods and Integrated Tools. But this never happens. It is good to have different people to concentrate on different problems, but at the same time they need to collaborate to solve these problems. I am sure, for many of the readers the bell rings…
Software development needs different facets to fit in a co-ordinated way. Requirements Management, Design, Project Management, Source Management, Issue Management, Process Management, Build Tools and Collaboration are some of the aspects of the software development. The biggest challenge for any corporate is to have an integrated platform where all the processes and tools come together.
From the organization point of view, its necessary to integrate the Process, Methods and Tools. However till now it was not possible to have several methods and tools integrated into a single environment. Its not because of technology, but because we need a framework/platform that supports this kind of integration.
After attending the Jazz workshop and once i played with Jazz a little bit, this platform seems to be a PLAUSIBLE solution for some of the unsolved problems in software development. It has an easy to setup a Team Repository, can assign users to this repository with the security permissions, etc… For me it looks like they picked up best of the breed features into the Jazz’s Source Control system. Some of the similar concepts like changelists from Perforce, powerful branching, merging and multi-site functionality from Clearcase and what i love is the concept of branching, merging are all transparent to the developer. You need to concentrate on the REAL work. Like development, release trains, fixing bugs, etc… and not how to branch for a new release version and how to merge into the main branch ….. all these tasks are managed (apparently) by Jazz platform.
Team collaboration is amazing. I really liked the example conversation to setup a project, that Erich presented at the EclipseCon2008. The problem is universal… find the projects you want to checkout, find the repository path, see if you have permission to the repository, find if you can get specified projects, how to build the projects, which are the dependent modules, which jars should i build before i do anything……..the list is endless. How cool would it be if all the above tasks are taken by your development environment. Of course, we have been doing software development and system development all the while by spending time, communication effort and finally frustration when nothing works.
As a project manager, its is very logical that i might not use heavy development tools. So you have the web interface to get a complete overview and detailed artifacts about the project. The web interface is sophisticated with the AJAX functionality and as i have seen, its quite responsive. Different charts, reports on the individual team level and project level can be obtained.
The entire work flow at the development time can be controlled with the help of the process templates. We want to eliminate all possible errors in the initial stages so that verification and review process can be reduced. A developer might not keep a comment before he commits a piece of code, code can not be checked in unless it is reviewed by senior developer, etc… In my previous experiences, we managed all these rules with the help of perl / shell scripts at the source control side. This is a nice capability of the Jazz to be able to integrate the Process Management in to the environment.
The above picture probably is what i believe that Jazz could do. I really see this as a potential enterprise infrastructure for software development. I am hoping that this project would bring out a lot of happy smiles though i am little skeptical about the licensing mechanism.
Many of you would have had similar problems i mentioned and i hope you might find Jazz to be a potential solution. I would love to hear interesting points from you. By now, i hope you know “Why you should Jazz ?”.