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Rational Software updates developer tools

Rational Software is unifying its development and testing tools to allow programmers working on projects together to easily communicate and manage their software development process.

Rational Software is unifying its development and testing tools to allow programmers working on projects together to easily communicate and manage their software development process.

In the past, collaboration among a team of software developers using Rational's suite was difficult because the tools were not tightly integrated. But the company will soon release updates to its software, featuring new technology that ties all the products together, from development tools to management software.

As a result, Rational executives say a company's development team--project managers, software developers, Web content developers, analysts and bug testers--can easily manage the development process from start to finish. They can communicate, set up "to-do" lists and priorities, and integrate all their work. Changes in software code can be automatically updated.

The goal is to help companies build their business software more quickly, said Rational spokesman Jeremy Nazarian. "There's a bunch of different people trying to figure out what needs to be changed [in the software code] ," he said. "So when change requests come in, all the people on the team know what they need to do to implement changes effectively."

Since Rational made a series of product acquisitions in 1997, the company has spent considerable time trying to integrate its disparate tools together, analysts said.

"They've made the integration of their various tools more seamless than it has been," said Giga Information Group analyst Uttam Narsu. "In the past, it had been a little clunky. You'd have to export things from one tool to another."

Specifically, the company has built in new technology that unifies its product line: tools for development, bug testing and analysis with its management software called ClearCase and ClearQuest. Rational is also adding support for Web content authoring tools, such as Microsoft's Front Page and Allaire's HomeSite.

At the same time, Rational is coming out with new versions of its suite of tools with various new features.

Analyst Studio will feature a Windows user interface or Web interface. Development Studio offers tighter integration with Microsoft Visual Studio and improved support for the Java Development Kit 1.2.

TestStudio, used for bug testing, will now support applications written using IBM's Java development tool called VisualAge for Java 3.0. Performance Studio, used for testing the speed of applications, now supports IBM's WebSphere application server, IBM's DB/2 database and Microsoft' SQL Server 7 database. All the products will ship within seven weeks, company executives said.