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IBM today launches the first products using its open-source Jazz project, extending real-time team collaboration across its own Rational tools and Microsoft's Visual Studio development suite.

IBM is using its annual Rational Users' Conference in Orlando, Florida to announce pricing and availability for a swath of 22 products.

There will be six additions to the Rational application lifecycle family based entirely on Jazz, updates to five Rational favorites that add Jazz capabilities, and plans for certified add-in products from 11 Rational partners.

Included are a set of connectors enabling members of IBM's Jazz combo to provide IM, presence, data and workflow integration with Visual Studio. Connectors are due in the fourth-quarter of this year. Integration has been helped by the fact IBM is a member of Microsoft's Visual Studio Integration Program (VSIP), and has access to code and engineering support from Microsoft.

At the center of Monday's announcements is IBM Rational Team Concert, which is based on Jazz. IBM calls it the next evolution in application lifecycle management.

Improved collaboration between tech team members and between tech teams and the business is a familiar - and tired - promise from ALM providers like IBM.

According to IBM director Dave Locke, previous offerings - Rational included - have been on a "point-to-point" basis and have not captured much information about assets, such as code, or a model, such as who built it or when it's ready for the next phase in the lifecycle.

Team Concert combines IM - with threads stored - presence and workflows, so those in requirements gathering, architecture, development and testing can see who did what, exchange information about assets, and kick-off the next cycle.

"There's much more awareness of the data," Locke said. "We can get more sophisticated levels of team collaboration and see behind the scenes of data collaboration."

Today IBM should detail three versions of Team Concert and announce a fourth.

IBM Rational Team Concert Express-C Edition, based on Tomcat and Derby, comes with the source code, is aimed at groups of up to 10 users and comes with context and collaboration capabilities. Team Concert Express-C Edition is free.

Express edition, supported by IBM and targeting groups of up to 50 users, adds workflow management and a set of processes out of the box that can be customized. Express starts at $1,200 per developer

Standard edition for groups larger than 250 adds project metrics and "health care" and LDAP administration, with connectors to other Rational and partner tools such as Microsoft's Visual Studio. Standard Edition starts at $3,900 per developer.

An Enterprise edition is due in 2009 and will include "full versions" of Rational ClearCase, ClearQuest and BuildForge, the company said. Price will not be announced at the conference.

Beta for two further additions to the Rational line up - Quality Manager and Requirements Composer - will be announced. The former will feature a sketchpad, modeling and word processing to capture requirements, while the latter will act as a hub that captures workflows and tells teams when, and what, tests to run.

Rational tools getting an injection of Jazz's capabilities are Rational Asset Manager, Build Forge, ClearCase, ClearQuest, and Rational RequisitePro, all hitting version number 7.1. Locke promised these would "protect" users existing investments in the products.®

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