The Process Practice

Process engineering with the Eclipse Process Framework and Rational Method Composer

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SPEM 2.0 finalized

1 October, 2007 (20:14) | SPEM 2.0 | By: Peter

Good news. Last Thursday the OMG’s Architecture Board accepted our Finalization Report for the OMG Software and Systems Process Engineering Meta-Model (SPEM 2.0). In other words the specification work is done and the documents are official! All we still have left to do is to create a pretty looking document without change bars and publish that. In the meantime you can use the documents listed below.

I cannot express how happy I am that after almost three years of work this specification is finally ready. I would like to thank every contributor and supporter for their hard work and support. See the (hopefully) complete list of names in the spec itself. I learned so much during this process, including some quite sad facts of life such as ‘being a good politician is more important than being a good engineer’. 🙂

RMC 7.2 released today

25 September, 2007 (19:08) | Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

IBM Rational Method Composer version 7.2 was finally released today. Go here to see the official announcement at the IBM website. Key themes for this release were

  • to provide more presentation options for processes by integrating RMC with the Eclipse BIRT reporting technology that allows publishing in any user-defined format and layout supporting amongst others compliance scenarios such as a simple ‘print the process for our auditor’
  • to increase the scalability of RMC in respect to distributed team support by providing workspaces that manage method plugins from many different sources and physical locations
  • to provide a simpler UI for project managers to tailor a process for projects
  • to provide new and improved integrations with process formalization and enactment environments such as IBM Rational Portfolio Manager and Websphere Business Modeler.

This is the biggest update for RMC since its initial release. We are adding these key new capabilities to RMC, which clearly distinguish it from the open source EPF Composer 1.2 (which was released last month and updated with a bug fix release 1.2.0.1 two weeks ago). I really like to thank all of my colleagues at IBM for their dedicated and passionate work to get this excellent release done and out in time.

Here a more detailed summary of all the numerous new features and key improvements (not a complete list):

  • Custom Publication and user-definable Reports with Eclipse BIRT
    • Publishing to document; alternative output formats include MS Word, PDF, and HTML
    • Create any kind of report on any information in an RMC method library
    • Powerful BIRT visual report designer (well documented, tutorials, and books available)
    • Easy to use for out-of-the-box with predefined report building blocks for RMC
      (33 report templates and 2 report libraries with altogether 43 data sets and 30 predefined tables)
  • Simplified Tailoring perspective for Project Managers
    • Specialized perspective in RMC for Project Managers hides many process modeling complexities
    • Provides simple and essential WBS-oriented analysis and editing operations
  • New modern and user-friendly look-and-feel for published Web sites
    • Newly designed modern and accessible UI for browsing
    • Pure Java Script implementation (DoJo); no more applets & frames required
      (backwards compatibility to 7.1.1 format still supported)
    • Deploy directly as WAR files to your JEE server
    • Alternative Search Engine support for web servers
    • Layout and style customization framework (skins)
    • Easy bookmarks and URL interchange
    • All pages show breadcrumbs
    • Show categorizations in content pages
    • Publish where roles, tasks, and work products are used in processes
    • Show tasks in Process breakdown in navigation tree
  • Distributed and organized Method Library Workspaces
    • Hierarchical and scalable organization of your method plugins
    • Method plugins in a library workspace can be distributed in many physical locations using many different source control systems
  • New diagram editor
    • Complete user-friendly reimplementation of diagram editors (Eclipse GMF)
    • Adds swimlanes, control flow labels, as well as free-form drawing and styles
    • Ability to save in gif, jpg, bmp, and other formats.
  • Improved integration with IBM® Rational® Portfolio Manager
    • Better support for iterative development: Merging RMC process changes into existing RPM project templates
    • Better support for governance:
      • Export of work product templates to project templates
      • Export of all role relationships to RPM: Primary, additional, and assisting roles
      • Export of RMC estimates to RPM project templates
    • Better scalability and bug fixes:
      • Every template can have its own base URL for published content
      • Import of predecessor dependencies / control flow into RPM
  • New Integration with IBM® Websphere® Business Modeler
    • Export Method Content and Processes to Websphere Business Modeler
    • Import Websphere Business Modeler business models into Rational Method Composer
  • Miscellaneous improvements
    • New ‘Extends and Replaces’ variability type
    • Element ordering in categories: order alphabetical, by type, or manually
    • Rich Text Editor improvements: Change font & size, paste plain text, paste from Word, add link/image in HTML view, HTML error markers and correction
    • Improvements for Configuration editor:
      • Fine-granular configuration of process by adding or removing categorized elements (e.g., add all elements categorized as CMMI Level 2)
      • Redesigned error and problem reporting UI for Method Configurations and Method Libraries
      • Highlight current view in configuration editor
      • Order configuration views
    • Process Editor Improvements
      • Activity indent/outdent
      • Suppress all tasks at any level
      • Allow multiple descriptors in same activity
      • Additional SCM support: Subversion
      • New platform support: Vista, IE7, Mozilla/FireFox 2, Eclipse 3.3

Deploying RMC 7.2 and EPFC generated WAR files

12 September, 2007 (23:14) | Eclipse Process Framework, Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

The new IBM Rational Method Composer 7.2 and EPF Composer 1.2 add the capability to publish to a .war file in addition to publishing to local file system directories. Such .war files can be deployed to a JEE server and contain a Servlet that implements the Web Search function instead of the Java Applet that is used when publishing to a directory. Using the Servlet has a significant performance advantage over the Applet when deploying Composer sites to a web server. You can deploy to almost any JEE server on the market that realizes the Servlet 2.3 (or higher) specification and runs with a 1.4 or higher. My recommendation is to use the IBM Websphere server, but you could also use a free server such as Apache Tomcat.

I was asked by some Composer users that never set-up a JEE server for some simple instructions on how to test this feature. The easiest way to do this is to download and set-up the open source Apache Tomcat server and use its Management console to install the .war file.

Step 0: Publish the .war file from RMC or EPFC
To publish a .war file from Rational Method Composer 7.2 or EPF Composer 1.2 follow the instructions in the online help for publishing a configuration. On the last (fifth) page of the publication wizard you will be asked if you either want to publish a ‘Static Web site’ or a ‘Java EE Web application packaged in a WAR file’. Select the latter and tick the ‘Include search capability’ check box. Then provide a ‘Web application name’ such a ‘my-rup’ or ‘openup-company-abc’. This name will be used later in the address to your site, i.e. will be part of the URL such as ‘http://server.com/my-rup’. Also make sure you specified a valid directory at the top of the page. This is were the .war file will be placed by Composer after the publication is complete.

Step 1: Download and install a JRE and the Server
First you have to make sure that you have a Java runtime environment set-up. We currently recommend using version 5. Hence, if you do not already have Java installed on your machine download this JRE from IBM (only runs on IBM systems) or this one from Sun.

Go to the Apache Tomcat homepage (http://tomcat.apache.org/) and download the core package for your operation system (e.g. this one for Windows). Unzip the archive wherever you want your server to be located on your machine. This directory is referred to as <tomcat> below.

Step 2: Set-up and start the server
Before you can start the server you need to do some basic set-up. It would be safest to read and follow the instruction in the ‘RUNNING.txt’ file in the Tomcat top-level directory <tomcat>\. The key thing described in here is that you need to tell Tomcat were it can find the Java runtime environment by defining an environment variable named $JAVA_HOME. There are several ways of doing that. (1) You could create a .bat file that contains the line ‘SET JAVA_HOME=<path>’ (replace <path> with the directory where you installed the JRE, e.g. ‘C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.5.0_12’) that you run from a CMD shell (Start->Run…->cmd) just before you run the server. (2) You could also define this variable globally on your Windows computer by right-clicking ‘My Computer’->Properties->Advanced->Environment Variables. (3) Another possibility is to directly add this line at the beginning of the file <tomcat>\bin\catalina.bat using Notepad.

Second thing you should set-up is an admin user so that you can use the management functions of Tomcat. To do that open the <tomcat>\conf\tomcat-users.xml file in a text editor such as Notepad. Make the following changes:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='utf-8'?>
<tomcat-users>
<role rolename="manager"/>
<user username="admin" password="admin" roles="manager"/>
</tomcat-users>

You can select any username and password you want, but make sure that the user has the role ‘manager’.

Now you are ready to start the server. Depending on how you set-up your $JAVA_HOME variable either double-click the ‘startup.bat’ file in <tomcat>\bin\ (if you followed method (2) and (3)) or use a CMD shell to start it (if you followed method (1)). A new shell window will open and display various startup messages. Once, you read the message ‘INFO: Server startup in 2753 ms’ (with a similar time) you are ready to go.

Step 3: Install the the .war file
(I demonstrate the following steps in the ‘New and noteworthy in EPF Composer 1.2‘ video as well.)

Now start a Web browser and type the URL ‘http://localhost:8080’. This one should take your to the Tomcat start page. On the left click on the link labeled ‘Tomcat Manager’ in the Administration section. You will be prompted to provide the user name and password that you specified in the tomcat-user.xml file.

Once you are on the ‘Tomcat Web Application Manager’ scroll down to the ‘WAR file to deploy’ section and use the browse button to navigate to the .war that you created in Step 0. You find it in the directory that you specified on the last page of the publication wizard. Click on the Deploy button and wait for the operation to finish.

Step 4: Test your site and Search
Now you see you application listed in the Applications section above. The application name is the one that you specified in Composer’s publication wizard. Click on the name and it will take you to your site.

On your site try using the ‘Search’ and see if it works correctly. An EPF Composer published site will open a new window with the search results. RMC generated sites display the results in a nice looking panel on the right hand side of the same browser page.

I hope that these instructions worked for you. Check out the Tomcat documentation for more advanced set-up instructions. For example, you can run the server as a service that starts automatically when your systems starts as well.

Shell-sharing with Eclipse 3.3

29 August, 2007 (21:06) | Eclipse Process Framework, Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

One of the cool new features in EPF Composer 1.2 (as well as RMC 7.2) is that they support shell sharing with Eclipse 3.3. So, if you already have Eclipse 3.3 on your machine you can install EPF Composer just right into it. Just copy-paste everything from EPFC’s features and plugins directories into the respective directories of Eclipse 3.3 and start it. (It will prompt you to override files, but if you use the Eclipse and EPF release versions it will just override the same files. If you do this with updated versions of Eclipse, check which files you are overriding one by one).You can now take advantage of useful Eclipse plugins for EPF Composer. For example, you can use Mylyn to directly and graphically search, modify, and create bugzillas on bugs.eclipse.org. See this screen shot for an example.

All you need to do is to open the Mylyn views inside your authoring view. The “Task Repositories” view already has bugs.eclipse.org pre-configured. All you have to do is to add is you username and password (double-click). The Task List shows bugs that yo manually added here. Click on the little arrow symbol on the right and “Search Repository..” to run a query. You add the bugs to your list via a right-click on the search results. Very handy extension.

Go here to learn more about Mylyn: http://www.eclipse.org/mylyn/

Get Eclipse 3.3 here: http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/

Get the new EPF Composer 1.2 here (get the latest nightly builds, which fixes some bugs in the release version): http://www.eclipse.org/epf/downloads/tool/epf1.2.0_downloads.php

New SPEM 2.0 specification available

28 August, 2007 (14:27) | SPEM 2.0 | By: Peter

This week the OMG SPEM Finalization Task Force finished its work and we produced an updated version of the SPEM 2.0 specification that incorporates fixes for all reported issues. Go here to download the latest specification document from the OMG server. If you are interested in the models then you can get the meta-model files here (in CMOF and Rational Software Modeler 7 format) and the UML 2 Profile here (in XMI and IBM Rational Software Modeler 7 format).

If you are interested in the issues that were addressed in the final adopted specification (get the old adopted spec here) you can download and review the FTF’s report which we are going to present at the upcoming OMG meeting in Jacksonville end of September.

This should be the final activity to finalize SPEM 2.0 and it should then be ready for publication as a formal OMG specification.

RMC 7.2 overview presentation

28 August, 2007 (14:00) | Rational Method Composer | By: Peter

We will be releasing IBM Rational Method Composer version 7.2 very soon. Our incredibly productive development team is hard at work fixing the last few bugs and preparing the release for end of September. This will be the biggest update for this product since its first release. It will support many new capabilities such as Reporting using the Eclipse Birt report designer and engine, a new Process Tailoring perspective for project managers, improved and new integrations with IBM Rational Portfolio Manager and IBM Webshpere Business Modeler as well as many new scalability and usability improvements.

I will use this blog to talk a little bit more about the new capabilities in the next few weeks leading up to the launch. In the meantime, you could check-out the overview presentation to RMC 7.2 that I gave at Rational Software Development Conference (RSDC 07) in June. See the abstract here and download the slides from here.

The slides are inside a 50MB zip file which includes in addition to the PDF file a directory of Flash recordings demo’ing the new feature. To view these recordings just drag them into a web browser. You need to have the Flash Player installed on your machine.

New and noteworthy in EPF Composer 1.2

28 August, 2007 (13:18) | Eclipse Process Framework | By: Peter

My colleague Ricardo Balduino and I gave an update to what is new and noteworthy in the Eclipse Process Framework. Ricardo gave a general overview to the OpenUP 1.0 release and the revamped eclipse.org/epf Web site and I gave a walkthrough and demo to the new features in EPF Composer 1.2. Check-out the recording of this presentation here. Download just the slides from here.

Welcome

25 August, 2007 (17:24) | General | By: Peter

My name is Peter Haumer. I am a software architect working for IBM Rational on the Rational Method Composer as well as the Eclipse Process Framework as a committer. I also work in the OMG on a SPEM 2.0 submission. (See this page for a short bio.)

This is my personal blog in which I want to provide background knowledge, FAQs, tips & tricks, as well my thoughts on everything related to development processes. I will especially focus on the areas that I am personally involved in such as RMC, EPF, and SPEM2, but might also venture into related areas such as discussing concrete process frameworks that I am interested in (e.g RUP, OpenUP, Scrum, XP).