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IBM Jazz Demo Draws Standing-Room Crowd

IBM offered a sneak peak this week at its forthcoming Jazz.net developer collaboration platform, drawing standing-room-only audiences to two demos at EclipseCon, in Santa Clara.

Jazz.net

A collaboration between IBM's Research and Rational groups, Jazz has been under quiet development for more than two years. Already in limited internal use, the platform has recently been opened to selected external partners as part of a pilot program. IBM plans to showcase Jazz at its Rational Software Development Conference in June in Orlando.

IBM Distinguished Engineers Erich Gamma and John Wiegand discussed the evolution of the Jazz project during an EclipseCon session on IBM's internal use of Eclipse, the open-source developer tools framework it created and turned over to the Eclipse Foundation five years ago. Jazz grew out of IBM developers' desire for a collaboration framework suited to the needs of geographically spread teams working on complex projects.

"The success on any project nowadays is a team working together," Wiegand said. "That's a critical point: Put the team first."

Jazz is still an early-stage work in progress, but Wiegand and Gamma showed off some of its functionality, using IBM's internal deployment as their demo system. Jazz's features are aimed at solving the real-world annoyances IBM's developers experienced, such as the unmanageable profusion of e-mail alerts sparked by bugs and changes in large projects. Another item, a code-analysis tool, searches for bugs -- and when they're found, a developer can use drag-and-drop-enabled chat to immediately query a team member about them.

Like Eclipse, Jazz is intended to be a framework designed for third-party plug-ins. Rather than recreating existing development tools, Jazz's designers are building plug-ins such as one for the Eclipse Mylar task UI.

Jazz's infrastructure comprises an Eclipse-based client running on an Eclipse Equinox framework, with a UI built around OSGi and AJAX technology. In an interestingly meta move, IBM's Jazz development team is using already-built elements of Jazz to continue constructing the system.

Attendees at the Jazz demos included a small number of partners already participating in the closed pilot, though most had only joined recently and hadn't yet explored the system. Other attendees said they came to see what IBM was brewing, while a hoard of IBM employees -- including a number on IBM's Eclipse platform team -- turned up for their first glimpse of a Jazz demo in action.

Jazz.net is slated to open for broader public access later this year, likely around the time of the Rational conference. IBM products incorporating Jazz technology will begin shipping in 2008, Wiegand said.

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