MKS Inc has contacted us with some additional comments following our ongoing coverage of the Eclipse Based Application Lifecycle Framework, ALF, project that seeks a standard for interoperability between heterogeneous application development tools. As we have reported, there are 16 names committed to supporting ALF but many others who have either said they do not support it or are undecided.
MKS’s David Martin, VP of product marketing, has insisted that, To date we have not had a single customer or partner demand such support.
He added: The MKS application lifecycle management technology is developed on a single platform and we only require one, and not several, plug ins to integrate with Eclipse so there would be no additional advantage for our customers in supporting ALF.
This position though, as we have reported, holds little sway with official ALF evangelist and Serena Software VP market development, Kevin Parker: MKS is missing the point completely, Parker told us recently. While what they are saying is completely correct, in that their tools can work with the Eclipse IDE, that is not the problem that ALF is aimed at solving.
Whether you are Eclipse-based or have Eclipse plugins is not the issue, Parker continued. So while for example MKS might support Eclipse, they would still have to build a separate integration to Borland tools and vice versa. Both might be Eclipse-based but you still have to do point-to-point integrations between the two, taking you back to brittle, fragile integrations. It also gives you nothing towards interoperability with other tools.
But MKS hit back, with Martin saying, Serena has the most vested interest in seeing ALF succeed because the entire project was created to help Serena glue together its many disconnected tools.
Parker though insists that, ALF is Serena led but not Serena dominated. Eclipse is community led and that is the spirit of ALF. It is an open framework for [tools] interoperability.
Started last April, there are currently 16 companies committed to ALF support for their tools: Serena, Accurev, Active EndPoints, Aldon, BuildForge, Catalyst Systems, Cognizant, Compuware, Ivis, PlanView, Quality Park, Secure Software, Soft Landing, Tikal Knowledge, Urban Code, and Viewtier.
But MKS’s Martin is still not convinced. ALF was fundamentally conceived to allow developers to incorporate various lifecycle tools within their Eclipse environment, he said. To us, that’s only part of the story. We believe the application lifecycle needs to be integrated across all participants, not just developers. ALF doesn’t factor in or support traceability, process enforcement or security, which are to us, fundamental building blocks for managing their lifecycle from an enterprise perspective. That’s why we built our ALM platform as a single entity rather than building or acquiring several point solutions.
Our customers have repeatedly told us that solving the collaboration challenge with better visibility, enforcement and security was more important than stitching together disparate tools, which solves none of the above, Martin added.