In the complex symphony that is modern-day software
development, everyone has a role. Under the enlightened
guidance of a talented development conductor, the efforts of
analysts, architects, developers, testers, and deployment
specialists can all come to life like a Carnegie Hall
orchestra. Making these notes ring true has never been more
difficult, however. The complexity of software development has
increased markedly since the days when IDEs consisted of
command-line compilers and buggy debuggers. New technologies,
such as Enterprise Java, have raised the bar on technical
competence. Fortunately, innovations in Rational Software's
development tools have kept pace with these advances, and can
enable developers to succeed despite the hurdles.
Pioneering Integration—But More Was Needed
was only a few years ago that Rational delivered the first
version of Rational Suite, an amalgamation of the most popular
Rational tools. Although quaint by contemporary standards,
this suite at the time set new standards for interoperability
and integration—instead of developers integrating their own
set of disparate tools, Rational offered an integrated suite
of the best of its development tools. For the first time, for
example, requirements, code, and defects could all be managed
as one entity. This concept was revolutionary for its time—and
it set the benchmark for future development by helping bring
complex software projects together. Rational's success
prompted the competition, including Borland and Microsoft, to
follow in its footsteps and offer suites of developer tools.
Now make no mistake—the Rational Suite was not perfect.
With many of its tools the product of acquisitions, the
technical challenge of integrating tools built on disparate
software platforms was daunting—and integration was achieved
mostly by point-to-point data conversion among the tools. The
UIs also varied to a greater or lesser extent from tool to
tool, adding to the learning curve (and even the using
curve!). Completely Rebuilt On Top of
The world changed when the Eclipse platform was
introduced, although few realized it at the time. While
initially envisioned as a handy way to build Java IDEs, the
Eclipse platform became the de facto platform for other
software tool vendors. Rational was there at the beginning,
even before its acquisition by Eclipse inaugural member IBM.
For Rational, Eclipse offered the opportunity truly to offer
seamlessly integrated development tools.
This was no empty promise. Many of the Rational tools have
already been completely rebuilt on top of the Eclipse
platform. Those tools include Rational Software Architect,
Software Modeler, Web Developer, Application Developer,
Functional Tester, Manual Tester, and Performance Tester. The
remaining tools, including Requisite Pro, ClearQuest, and
ClearCase, achieve their seamless integration by using the
Eclipse plug-in architecture. It's More Than
Rational has completely transformed its
original suite of loosely integrated tools into a
groundbreaking platform for role-based development. While many
a software vendor has simply repackaged and re-branded its
existing tools as "All New: Role-based Development Solutions
Inside!," Rational has gone to a new level by delivering on
the integration promise of the Eclipse platform.
Instead of relying on point-to-point tool integrations, as
in the past, the Rational tools are now role-specific viewers
into a common database of development artifacts. This
role orientation around the common data store, and the common
Eclipse-based interface for all tools, provides a seamless
experience for developers: I'm an analyst today, an architect
tomorrow, a developer, and then a tester. The Rational tools
make transitions among such roles effortless, both for
different team members, and for each member who handles
different roles at different points in the development
lifecycle. And the common UI lowers the learning and the using
Role-based tools are also appreciated by bean counters
because it is now clearer which tools are needed for each
role. This clarity of purpose can result in significant cost
savings, as there is no need to buy an entire suite of tools
when you just need one. At the same time, when you need an
additional tool, you know it will integrate cleanly both in
its developer interface and in its underlying data
Rational is of course
synonymous with UML and software modeling. Nearly every
software architect has had experience with Rational Rose. Just
as Rose was pivotal in introducing modeling to the architect,
the latest generation of Rational modeling tools similarly
benefits a wider audience.
Useful Across Methodologies
- Software architects fluent in UML will find themselves
at home with Rational Software Architect.
- Application developers who don't need full-scale UML
modeling capabilities or who aren't using UML at all, will
find Rational Application Developer an ideal fit.
- Visually-driven Web developers, and those who utilize
services, such as Java Server Faces and the Struts
application framework, should consider the visual
development capabilities of Rational Web Developer.
- Analysts or anyone who simply needs to model stuff will
also find Rational Software Modeler the right solution.
even bring a role-based approach to process. While most
everyone has heard of the Rational Unified Process (RUP), what
many don't know is that the benefits of RUP are just as
apparent, regardless of whether you use extreme programming,
or feature-driven development, or the waterfall method, or any
number of methodologies.
RUP is highly adaptable to your role and your process.
Rational has the process that goes with the tools and the
tools support however you've chosen to adapt RUP to your
organization.Productivity and Quality—Keys to the
Complex undertakings like large-scale software
development require forward-thinking individuals who can
operate at peak efficiency and produce the highest quality
results without wasting time. To succeed in this role requires
state-of-the-art development tools that provide the best and
most flexible framework to implement your finest ideas.
Rational was the first to introduce productivity-enhancing,
role-based development tools, and has continued that
leadership today with its totally revamped suite of