The Process Practice

Process engineering with the Eclipse Process Framework and Rational Method Composer

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How-to create your own publication skin in RMC 7.2

7 March, 2008 (19:16) | Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

“Skins” is a new capability in RMC 7.2 that allows you to modify the look-and-feel of the published Web site to your requirements. It has been added to the 7.2 release as a response to RMC user’s requests for being able to make specific changes to the presentation of processes in html. Some user wanted to change the order in which information is presented on the various pages, others wanted to omit some of the presented information all together, many wanted to change the styles such as fonts and colors to match their company’s guidelines, or others even wanted to use a different terminology in places (e.g. call an ‘activity’ a ‘procedure’ instead). All of these changes can be made to the published site using Skins.

The following tutorial called “Customizing Publication Skins in IBM Rational Method Composer 7.2” will teach you how the most common scenarios for creating your own custom skins that reflect your company’s Web style guide or just your own personal taste.

Tutorials for using Birt with RMC 7.2 now available

13 February, 2008 (15:02) | Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

Have you played with the integration of the Eclipse Birt report designer into Rational Method Composer 7.2, yet? If not then check out this new two part tutorial on Developer Works that will get you started:

  1. Using BIRT reports with IBM Rational Method Composer: Getting started.
  2. Using BIRT reports with IBM Rational Method Composer: An intermediate-level example of creating BIRT reports

This new integration allows you to present content managed in RMC in a completely user-defined way. The example developed in the tutorials show you how to create reference tables for your elements. Other applications could be to create index cards for your key tasks and work products or to delineate and publish your process as a PDF document. RMC ships with a lot of predefined report templates that you can use as a starting point. The first tutorial shows you how to find and use them. The second tutorial focuses how to do your own report from scratch.

Documenting operational business processes with RMC

6 February, 2008 (11:50) | Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

Are you modeling formal business processes using Websphere Business Modeler? Do you need to provide a comprehensive human readable documentation of these processes, for example want to publish an operational manual that document your processes with natural language text?

If yes then check out this new white paper called “Achieving consistency between business process models and operational guides – How Rational and WebSphere software enable enterprise documentation in SOA environment” written by my colleagues Greg Rader and Chinh Vo that describes how to use the new integration between Rational Method Composer and Websphere Business Modeler to do exactly that.

Shell-sharing RMC 7.2 with Jazz Team Concert Beta 2

5 February, 2008 (17:25) | Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

Update 10/10/2008: For Rational Method Composer 7.2ifix3 and Team Concert 1.0 see this post for an update.

Jazz Team Concert Beta 2a is out. Jazz is an IBM Rational project to build a scalable, extensible team collaboration platform for integrating work across the phases of the development lifecycle. Jazz will help teams build software more effectively while making the software development activity more productive and enjoyable.

Modeling and documenting developing methods and processes is a collaborative development activity as well and therefore the Jazz tools can provide a great added value to RMC users.

RMC with Jazz Click here for screen shot of how our own RMC commercial and open source content team uses Jazz for their daily work. I surely opened and squeezed into this shot as many views and editors that I could, but these are just some of the basic views that our team members use. You see the RMC library view and process editor inside the Jazz Team concert Eclipse shell as well as the additional Jazz views. Below the library view you see the list of work items that have been retrieved based on a user-specific query showing all the tasks scheduled for a content developer. Below that you see Team Central that provides you with information about your team’s status; e.g. workload of your colleagues in terms of number of open work items. On the right you can have a glimpse at the Jazz planning tool which allows our team to plan and track every iteration. It provides several views that can not all be shown here, but you see the basic plan view which shows all work items assigned to this particular iteration grouped by assignee. The Charts tab in that same editor then always plots the current burndown chart for you. The tool also allows free-form text and hence you see tabs labeled Overview and Iteration Assessment that allow the team to capture the goals of the iteration as well as to summarize the retrospective assessment results. These plans and associated work item queries provide great transparency and always up-to-date view on the status of work and what is to be expected for the iteration milestone. The integration of Sametime Chat, Audio Conferencing and InstaShare Screen Sharing into the Eclipse shell was well (e.g. you can just right-click on a person’s picture in the plan or name in a work item query result to start a chat or call them) provides an additional synchronous means of collaboration, which is key to our team that is distributed all over the US. Finally, there is the view at the lower half of the screen that shows the RMC generated process documentation providing guidance and templates for doing our work. In this case it is our internal Method Development Method that we are using.

One key Team Concert component that we are currently not using is the SCM component. Here we rely on the excellent ClearCase for the commercial content (and CVS on the open source side), because our team has tons of experience with CC and it advanced features as well as it provides a pessimistic reserved check-out that Jazz does not have. Jazz’s SCM currently is geared towards supporting code-centric files that can easily be compared and merged. RMC however manages interrelated object models for which we do not have a good compare-merge UI in place to date.

If you have RMC and want to set-up this shell-sharing integration between Rational Team Concert Beta 2 and Rational Method Composer 7.2 yourself do the following:

  • Install RMC 7.2 on your machine (referred to as <instal_dir_RMC> below) and load your license activation kit.
  • Go to, register for an account, and download the Beta 2a server and client.
    (See the install guides on the site. I would also recommend that you do the tutorials in the Getting Started section to familiarize yourself with Jazz first before you continue.)
  • Download the Team Concert Beta 2a zip file distribution (no installer)
  • Unzip this file in any directory, referred to as <install_dir_JAZZ> below
  • In the “<install_dir_JAZZ>\jazz\client\eclipse” directory create a directory called “rmc” with a sub-directory “eclipse”
  • Copy and paste the “features” and “plugins” directories from the “<install_dir_RMC>\rmc\ ” to “<install_dir_JAZZ>\jazz\client\eclipse\epfc\eclipse\”
  • Go to “<install_dir_JAZZ>\jazz\client\eclipse\links” and create a file called “epfc.lnk” that contains this one line “path=epfc”
  • Start the “<install_dir_JAZZ>\jazz\client\TeamConcert.exe” and provide a path for a workspace

Once, the client is up you will be able to use the RMC perspectives such as Authoring and Browsing as well as the RTC perspective such as Work Items. You can easily add Jazz views to the RMC perspective using the Window -> Show View -> Other… menu.

How-to use the RMC 7.2 Workspace feature

22 January, 2008 (20:11) | Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

Happy new year everyone! Our team is hard at work creating additional collateral and guidance for some of the new RMC 7.2 features. First up are the missing online pages for the new Workspaces capability. This feature is intended for advanced users that want to scale up their method development effort with their team(s). It allows you to distribute a method library to many filesystem directories throughout your network infrastructure, which so far had to be maintained in exactly one directory. In this workspace mode a method library is able to reference method plug-ins and method configurations that even exist in other libraries without importing or exporting. This allows you to easily share method plug-ins across teams, manage your plug-in in multiple ClearCase VOBs, or even mix and match plug-ins maintained in different source control system.

Download some overview slides here: Overview to RMC Workspaces. The first slide shows you a typical customer situation in which workspaces make a big difference. You see that several teams manage their own method libraries, but that some method plug-ins are used by more than one team. What normally happens is that one team owns and maintains the content of a plug-in and that many other teams reuse these plug-ins in their library. Before RMC 7.2 is was required that users export these plug-ins, zip them up, send them to their partners, those would import them into their local library. Now, all you do is maintain all your plug-ins in a source control system and the other teams can pick and choose plug-ins from that server (instead of loading an entire library as it was required by 7.1.x). The way this has been realized is by utilizing the Eclipse workspace capability and the option to now make every method plug-in an Eclipse project; instead of managing the whole method library as one Eclipse project in 7.1.x. The old way is still supported by RMC 7.2 and in fact is the default usage model, hence nothing will change if you are not interested in using the new feature. Everything can stay the same. However, if the attached help pages show you how you can convert your existing library into such a new workspace library and use that.

An example for using the feature you see on Slide 2. It shows a Library view of RMC in Workspace mode that uses method plug-ins that are physically stored in different locations: the my.test one is stored in my local workspace directory. Here I can experiment and author locally without the need to share the files with other by checking them in. The second and third plug-ins with the yellow harddisk symbol overlay icons indicate that these method plug-ins are managed in CVS. These are actually coming directly from the EPF Server on The fourth one with the blue frame is managed on a ClearCase here in my office and stored in my local ClearCase view directory. The same is true for the configurations: the first one is in CVS the second in ClearCase.

To learn how to use this feature download the online help pages in PDF format here: How to use the RMC 7.2 Workspace feature. We will add them to the tool’s online help with the next iFix.

Other material that you should see surfacing on developerWorks soon are tutorials and overview papers on how to use BIRT Reporting with RMC, Skins, and the Tailoring Perspective. Stay tuned.

RMC 7.2 iFix2 out

20 November, 2007 (19:04) | Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

The iFix2 patch for Rational Method Composer 7.2 will be released on the update server in the next couple of hours. To download and install it just start IBM Installation Manager from your Start menu, click the Update button and follow the wizard for downloading and installing the patch.

This patch includes some important fixes and minor enhancements so that we generally want to encourage all RMC users to install it. Most important changes:

  • Added the ability to select a base configuration when creating a Tailoring Session. This allows you now, for example, to start your tailoring session not only based on the default RUP configuration, but any configuration that includes the RUP processes. Hence, you can now start with the Small RUP for RAD and tailor it to your needs.
  • The tailoring wizard will not ask your for a configuration project anymore, but just automatically create/use one specific project for tailoring sessions.
  • Added the ability to extend activities from the same process, i.e. applying the same activity more than once in a process.
  • Fixed migration and import bug reported here.
  • Fixed publishing issues with Activity and Activity Detail diagrams as well as when using activity partitions.
  • Fixed the ability to run a report against the whole method library, i.e. without selecting a configuration.
  • Fixed issues in which the editors became dirty by just opening an element (such as Steps).
  • Fixed the missing links from Guidance pages back to the referencing Activities.
  • Resolved some localization issues in Reporting.

Also make sure to check-out the readme file for some remaining open issues.

SPEM 2.0 Beta 2 document available

20 November, 2007 (17:59) | SPEM 2.0 | By: Peter

The SPEM 2.0 Beta 2 specification is now available on the OMG server here:

This is almost the final specification before the final approvals by the OMG’s business committee and vote of the board of directors in December. However, content wise this is it. The document’s title page contains urls to all the related xml documents as well.

Modeling TOGAF with SPEM

15 October, 2007 (14:47) | Eclipse Process Framework, SPEM 2.0 | By: Peter

The OMG just released a report about an interdisciplinary case study of OMG and Open Group members to evaluate modeling the TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework) ADM (Architecture Development Method) with OMG meta-models, in particular SPEM. It provides some good insights and examples for how SPEM can be utilized as a representation framework for systematically formalizing an informally described method. This report uses SPEM 1.1, but provides pointers to SPEM 2.0. One of the authors of this report actually has started a new project in which he captures parts of these models (and also more importantly the textual content) using EPF Composer, which you can find here.

How-to migrate to RMC 7.2 with just a CCRC client

11 October, 2007 (17:41) | Eclipse Process Framework, Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

RMC 7.2 (and EPF Composer 1.2) introduce some changes to the file format. Therefore, when you try opening your existing method library in 7.2 for the first time RMC will prompt you to migrate the library into this new format. When doing this RMC needs to update all XMI files with new schema information. Hence, if you are managing your library with Rational ClearCase you need to check-out all these files beforehand to make them writable for RMC. Unfortunately, if you use the CCRC (Rational ClearCase Remote Client) integration, this tool does not support to check-out files from multiple directories based on a name pattern. It’s Search dialog only searches for check-out, private, or hijacked files. It’s browser only supports displaying one directory at a time and selecting all these files for check-out. An RMC method library however consists of several directories and all XMI files in all of these directories need to be checked-out. So, what to do?

In the release and install notes to RMC 7.2 we consequently recommend to work with a ClearCase administrator that would use other tools such as the ClearCase cleartool or the Windows shell integration to search for all *.xmi files and perform the check-out. However, if your administrator is busy or nor available here a small procedure for using Eclipse Search and CCRC to get the files checked-out for migration.

  1. Before migrating, start your old version of RMC such as RMC 7.1.1 and open your library.
    (You could also use any other Eclipse shell that you have on your machine that has CCRC installed as well as RMC 7.2. To do this you have to follow the Steps a) to f) described below before moving on to Step 2.)
  2. In the menu select Search -> File…
  3. In “file name patterns” field type: *.xmi and click Search
  4. The Search results view will appear and show the files. If the results are presented with folders use the small triangle button menu in the top right-hand corner of the Search results view to switch to “Show as List”
  5. Select one entry and press CTRL-A to select them all (or use the Shift/CTRL keys to select a range of files)
  6. Right-click and select Team -> Check Out

Once all the files are checked-out you can go and start RMC 7.2 as well as load the library for migration. Then you can use the CCRC client’s Search for checked-out files to check them in all at once.

Loading the library into Eclipse or RMC 7.2 (without migrating it):

  1. Select in the menu Window -> Show View… -> Other and then select General -> Navigator in the dialog
  2. If there is any other folder in the Navigator view other than Estimation such as another library then right-click these folders and select Close Project from the context menu. Finally, do the same with Estimation: right-click, Close Project
  3. Right-click in the Navigator view and select Import… and then in the dialog General -> Existing Projects into Workspace
  4. Click Next and select the Browse button
  5. Select the directory of your pre-migration library in your CCRC view on your hard disk.
  6. Important: Make sure that the “Copy into Workspace” check box is not selected. Click Finish. Continue with Step 2 above.

RMC 7.2 MS Project iFix available

8 October, 2007 (15:37) | Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

Using IBM’s new installer technology with RMC gives us the capability to roll-out bug fixes much, much quicker now to our customers. Our team has just released the first of these so-called iFixes via the IBM Installation Manager to fix a problem RMC 7.2 had with its Microsoft Project export.

If you are still using MS Project with RMC (and not the advanced integration with Rational Portfolio Manager 🙂 ) then get this fix by just starting the Installation Manager and clicking on the “Update Packages” button. It will then guide you through downloading and installing the fix.