Tasktop Sync 2.0 released, ALM repository introspection and task linking with OSLC

by Mik Kersten, November 28th, 2011

Our aim is to transform software delivery by unifying ALM and empowering developers as the core stakeholders of application delivery. The Tasktop Sync 1.0 release provided the first ALM integration middleware for the wide range of enterprise, Agile and open source ALM tools. They key change that Tasktop Sync enabled was to connect developers with the other stakeholders in the process, such as testers and Agile project managers. By building on the Eclipse Mylyn open source frameworks and ecosystem of Mylyn connectors, we were able to focus our efforts on creating a new kind of synchronization framework capable of providing immediate updates across vendors’ and open source ALM tools. It’s this real-time aspect that created the game changer in terms of collaboration, since for the first time, developers and testers could use their tool of choice while their task updates and comments propagated instantly across organizational boundaries. Not only does this reduce tedious email inbox overload and put ALM data where it belongs, it is a critical step in addressing the ALM disconnect that for many organizations has become is the main bottleneck on large-scale software delivery.

Since the 1.0 release of Sync, we have been swamped with requests to help organizations weave together disconnected best-of-breed ALM tools. A problem we quickly discovered with deploying Sync 1.0 is that most organizations do not have their ALM architecture or data models documented, as these have been scattered across disparate tools and departments. In order to help organizations do for themselves what our professional services division provides, we have added a repository introspection tool capable of connecting to each of your ALM tools and retrieving each repository’s data model. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to connect the ALM stack, and given the state of ALM today, that has meant creating a whole new set of ALM data model management tools in order to achieve this.

The biggest new feature of Sync 2.0 is new OSLC-based support for linking application lifecycle artifacts. This feature has been three years in the making, kicked off when we started collaborating with IBM on the OSLC-CM protocol, targeted at linking together our common representation of tasks across various ALM systems. The immediate benefit of this new linking support is for organizations with IBM CLM tools in their stack, such as Rational Team Concert (RTC) and Rational Requirements Composer (RRC). In addition to providing the full synchronization that enables collaboration, Tasktop Sync can now link and retrieve ALM data on-demand via this new OSLC-based REST layer. In the video above, you can see a demo of how we are able to leverage the CLM tools seamless embedding of OSLC data in order to provide rich linking as an alternative to full synchronization, particularly suitable to connecting Requirements Management tools to dev and QA tools.

Tasktop Sync is continuing to evolve rapidly in order to become the glue needed to modernize and connect the ALM stack. We have been working very closely with our partners, who are driving the innovation of Agile and ALM features, and ensuring that the new capabilities that they are add are seamlessly exposed in the Sync and Dev products. In order to provide the developer-centric view on our partners’ rapidly evolving ALM tools, we are also releasing a new version of Tasktop Dev, as well as a key new integration, both to be announced later this week. Stay posted for those announcements, and check out all of the new features and overview videos on the Sync 2.0 web page.

2 Responses to “Tasktop Sync 2.0 released, ALM repository introspection and task linking with OSLC”

  1. Steve Speicher Says:

    Great work. Should be mentioned that the collaboration on the OSLC specifications was more than just with IBM, there was also work from Accenture, Oracle, SourceGear, Rally Software, BSD Group to name a few. See http://open-services.net/bin/view/Main/CmSpecificationV2#Contributors

    Greatly appreciate Tasktop’s contributions and role in getting OSLC where it is today.

  2. Mik Kersten Says:

    Thanks for pointing that out Steve. I did not intend to be exclusive of other contributors in stating that we started working on it together. And I do believe that the statement “This feature has been three years in the making, kicked off when we started collaborating with IBM on the OSLC-CM protocol” is historically accurate, as I have some fond recollections of those early OSLC brainstorming sessions, Bluezoo and all. I’m still amazed at how the efforts that went into both the CLM side of the implementation and now Tasktop Sync are able to provide this kind of server-side integration and web UI mashup, as three years ago I had not imagined it could be made to work this smoothly. Both the way that the CLM integration consumes it, and how Tasktop was forced to add layout hints to the Mylyn data model in order to support Visual Studio, which supported reusing those hints in a generic web UI layout. Really neat to see these pieces of technology come together in such a user-friendly way.

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