Mike MacDonagh's Blog

Somewhere in the overlap between software development, process improvement and psychology

First Look: IBM Rational Requirements Composer

Note this is from 2008, for a review of RRC in 2011 see CLM 2011 review

So I downloaded and installed IBM Rational Requirements Composer (RRC) today. I’m not very good at reading instructions so typically I didn’t read them but I still managed to set up RRC server and connect a client within an hour 😀 Excellent job yet again Jazz people, in the past with the “classic” tools this sort of thing wouldn’t have been possible in such a short time. It even co-exists (but isn’t integrated) with my Rational Team Concert installation. At the moment I’ve got two Jazz server instances which is a shame, but this is only a Beta.

Anyway, I used the configuration utility and with only referring to the instructions once or twice I quickly got RRC setup and working. Having said that the config utility uses an embedded IE instance to access the Jazz Admin console and for me that wasn’t working so I gave up on the config utility and just used trusty FireFox.

The client is Eclipse based but isn’t shell sharing with my other eclipse shell at the moment. I’ve created a Test Project and thought about creating some artifacts to go along with it. I can’t see where to edit templates but since this is Jazz based I’m sure that everything is customisable. I’ve got a bunch of errors showing in my logs and in the Jazz admin web UI so I’m not sure if I’m seeing everything anyway. Perhaps reading the instructions is a good idea!

Overview

It’s clear that it’s an early Beta as there’s still a lot of simple UI bugs but the point of these releases is not to provide a finished product but to give people that are interested a chance to get to grips with the functionality and look and feel. So here’s some of my thoughts and screenshots (clicky piccies):

I set about creating a process diagram

Then a glossary that supported some of the terms that I identified in thinking about the business process

I also played around with creating a Use Case diagram

Because I’ve got a software development background I immediately decided to mock up a UI and screen flow rather than consider any of those pesky requirement things 😛

At this point it seemed like a good idea to think about writing an initial Use Case specification, this was cool because I could integrate the various things I’ve done already such as embed the UI mockup, link to the business process and have glossary management done for me too 🙂

All of which left me with some cross linked integrated stuff to do with capturing my requirements as regards eating doughnuts

Conclusions

It’s quite easy to start setting up a set of integrated stuff including storyboards, process diagrams, use cases, UI mockups etc. and is very non-technical to use. Personally I found the UI mockup functionality to be limited, I’d prefer more free form drawing capability when I create a “sketch” it would take me longer to mock up a UI here than it would for me to build it in Visual Studio – but then again this is aimed at analysts that may not be able to use IDEs. The UI seems very windows based as well, what about trusty web widgets!

I’d like to get at the project template and see what can be done in terms of the elements and strucutre of the project, not to mention document templates for things like Use Cases.

Does this replace RequisitePro? No. Although it’s got requiremetns authoring, marking and linking RRC doesn’t yet provide full traceability management and (at least at the moment) I can’t see where I’d go about attributing and managing requirements attributes. That’s why RRC has integration into ReqPro to provide these things.

Personally I’d like to see versionable requirements artifacts, more flexible UI sketching, traceability management, attribute management and more integration into other Rational tools such as Rational Software Architect and Team Concert.

This is a good start in terms of providing a single tool to support requirements elicitation and elaboration, all the diagrams and docs in one place, easily distributed and collaborated on. I’ll look forward to seeing more of it as time goes by 🙂

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11 responses to “First Look: IBM Rational Requirements Composer

  1. Pingback: Rational Requirements Composer Beta Available « The Mac Daddy

  2. Pratik Shah July 7, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Mike,

    I am a developer on the Rational Requirements Composer team and it was good to read your review. We always welcome feedback, and more so for constructive feedback such as yours. BTW, the best way to provide us with feedback is on our forums:
    http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=213175&tstart=0

    You’re right that currently this product is not meant to replace RequisitePro, only complement it. And that this release is very much a beta.

    > I can’t see where I’d go about attributing and managing
    > requirements attributes.
    Bring up the project dashboard by double-clicking on a project in the Repository Explorer. Under the Management tab in that dashboard, you will see a place to create/edit attribute groups. You can then associate these attributes to any artifact using the editor sidebar for that artifact.

    > Personally I found the UI mockup functionality to be
    > limited, I’d prefer more free form drawing capability
    Yes, there is room for improvement in this area. But it’s quite powerful in terms of what it can do already. Try creating a part and using it in multiple sketches or storyboards, overriding different properties and such. You might be pleasantly surprised with what you see. 🙂

    BTW, when creating a project, if you go to the second page in the wizard, you can create a “CD Classic Example Project” that is pre-populated with example artifacts.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  3. mikemacd July 8, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Pratik,

    Thanks for the extra info 🙂 It’s worth mentioning that my first look is literally just a diary of my first look at the tool so it’s easy for me to miss things since I’m not very good at reading instructions so thanks for the pointers 😀

    Good job on RRC, it’s great to have general access to these early versions and to see new stuff coming out.

    Cheers,

    Mike.

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  8. sandeep Thakur October 21, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Hi MIke,
    I have also downloaded the Composer beta but i am not able to install it. I am facing a problem with Configuration Set up . I got an error – The Jazz REST Services databse is not a valid user.

    Couild you please advise on this.

  9. mikemacd October 21, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Hi Sandeep, your best bet for support with the RRC beta is the following IBM forum: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/forums/forum.jspa?forumID=1275 you’ll probably find others have had similar installation issues!

  10. Pingback: First Look: CLM 2011 RTC + RRC + RQM 3.0.1 review and screenshots « The Mac Daddy

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