is a product based on Eclipse designed to support the application of RUP
, which is itself an interative software development process framework built around iterative builds.
As mentioned in "Jazz opening: IBM invites developers to collaborate on software
," IBM is announcing an open beta, open to anyone who chooses to participate. According to that url, IBM has said that most of the Rational portfolio will include Jazz technology.
Participation only requires creation of a user account, which is basically username, email, and some organization details, which were not intrusive at all.
There are two pieces to install: one is a platform-neutral server (which uses Tomcat as a content delivery platform) and the other is a client. The client is an installation of the Eclipse runtime platform, so it's platform-dependent: versions are available for Windows, Linux (using GTK), and OSX. The client download, at 74MB, was actually just IBM's installation toolkit, so you should be prepared for roughly another 260MB download.
Installing the server was really easy. At 167MB, it's basically Tomcat with a Jazz repository configuration. Starting it up is just a matter of unzipping it into its own directory ("$JAZZ_SERVER"), going to $JAZZ_SERVER/server, and running "server.startup.bat." (This is on Windows XP, with Cygwin.) After Tomcat starts up, the administration page can be found at http://localhost:9443/jazz/admin
, with a user/password combination of ADMIN/ADMIN.
Configuration is really pretty easy; adding email notifications as the installation docs suggest is trivial, albeit a little slow. Most changes require restarts, so you might want to make them in bulk. The server doesn't manage its own administration user/password, so changing the ADMIN/ADMIN combination requires fooling around with Tomcat's configuration files.
Once the server is configured, and you've created a repository user/password, the server part is finished for most intents and purposes – almost everything else happens from the client.
Installing the client was easy, but remember that the "client download" is the client installer
download. (This is clear in the documentation; it's just easy to assume otherwise. Remember to give it its own directory, unless you want to clean things up manually.)
The installation defaults are quite good, and include two primary pieces: the build system and "Team Concert," which is Jazz' play on words on the client package. The installation was fairly ordinary, with nothing out of the ordinary.
Once you've finished installation and you're ready to start Jazz, though, things really pick up. It's Eclipse, so on startup you choose a workspace directory, and then off you go.
Jazz is a tool which basically provides the framework under which you can apply what you want from RUP. This includes artifacts, tasks, team members, scheduled builds, notifications, lifecycle events, deliverables, the works – basically, if you've ever used Agile or RUP, then Jazz has utility for you. Configuring a project is a matter of connecting to a repository, creating team members, and installing the processes you want.
The processes are workable, but primarily so if you're using Eclipse' methodologies. (If you're familiar with RUP, then you're already most of the way there; same for if you build everything in Eclipse.) Like many other such all-encompassing projects, once you step outside the colored lines, everything gets a little scarier. You can easily import Eclipse workspaces into Jazz, which provides source control management and other capabilities, so Eclipse users will be able to jump into Jazz (improving musical tastes, no doubt) without much effort.
All in all, Jazz proved quite workable, even for a beta, within its scope. The use of Eclipse as a platform meant that a lot of things were quite familiar, even if RUP isn't the top track in your iPod. (Sorry, another music reference slipped in.) It's still a beta, of course, and the hard focus on Eclipse' methodologies limits it somewhat, even though this focus makes sense as it's an IBM-run project.
It's a very nice project, although it would have been nicer if it were able to work with non-Eclipse-like workspaces better, and if it were available specifically as an Eclipse plugin. It's definitely worth watching.
(One thing is for sure, if you'll pardon the editorial interlude: for myself, I was thrilled in retrospect that IBM didn't overload the project with cute jazz references, so that I wasn't overloaded with Miles Davis, Charlie Christian, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Thelonious Monk references while trying the software out. The rest of my playlist would have been jealous. Don't worry, Spyro Gyra - I still love you.)