IBM Donates Rational Unified Process to Open-Source

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Have you ever cracked open a source member to make a simple modification, peered inside, and suddenly experienced that distinct sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? If you're a maintenance programmer, no doubt you've experienced this sensation too many times, especially with homegrown code. How bad can it get? Everyone has horror stories.

Recently, I had this experience while attempting to make a simple change to a Lotus Domino program. Our company changed an account password on an FTP server, and suddenly this particular Domino application started to fail. From the outside, the simple solution to the problem appeared to be some internal reference to an FTP configuration profile record. I assumed that I would find the reference to the FTP server within an errant LotusScript, track down the FTP configuration profile record, and make a quick modification. However, once inside the code, I started to see some really bizarre things.

Nightmare from the Land of Cut-and-Paste

Instead of finding reference to a connection profile record for sending information to the FTP server, I found a nest of hard-coded IP addresses, user IDs, and embedded passwords within the LotusScript itself. In fact, within a single Notes form, I found this same nest of hard-coded FTP security information over 130 times, repeated line for line for each button formula in the form. The original programmer had, it seemed, cut and pasted a badly architected FTP LotusScript that had been found somewhere as an "example solution" from a Lotus Notes/Domino forum. The programmer had replaced the example IP address with our FTP server's IP address, user ID, and password and then repeated this button script throughout the application.

Of course, this meant that I had to track down every reference to the FTP server and laboriously fix the 130+ security flaws. My "simple fix" had transformed into a nightmare of code rectification, testing, and debugging.

"Qualified" vs. Best Practices

Who in their right mind would build an application with such blatant security flaws? One might assume it was an amateur Notes/Domino programmer. But it was not! The original programmer, who was now long gone, had claimed to have once worked for IBM Lotus and was a certified Notes/Domino developer. Yet this mess proved once again that a programmer's reputable job credentials will not guarantee that the working code is up to snuff. Instead, the price of re-architecting this particular code was left to the next poor dupe who came to the task of maintenance. In this case, it came to me, and it made me angry.

Programmers often spend a lot of energy within a shop establishing the particular standards that they see will be useful toward keeping a body of code in good maintenance form. Management, on the other hand, often has a difficult time understanding why good coding standards are so important. And while it is true that recent legislation for regulatory compliance has put increased pressure on management to ensure that corporations meet some minimum security and auditing standards, the actual internal code of an application seldom receives any kind of scrutiny at all. Moreover, as the number of programming languages and services has increased over the years, the foundation of actual code--often generated by code wizards and 3GLs--sometimes actually removes the visibility into poor programming practices. Sometimes, it even removes the ability to document what is going on under the covers.

Expanding Bad Coding Practices to Open-Source

Within the larger developer community, this problem can be further exacerbated by the distribution of open-source code. Open-source enables literally hundreds of thousands of programmers to contribute to projects that end up distributed to applications that are sometimes circulated to hundreds of thousands of users around the globe. Consider the recent security flaws that appeared in the Firefox browser: The code was distributed with flaws that were only later discovered by third-party sources. Was it bad coding or just a bug? When the application has been distributed to hundreds of thousands of users, who cares? Consequently, the need for standards in coding--better known as "best practices" for coding conventions--has become critical.

But who establishes those best practices? While certain software technologies, such as communications protocols and drivers, pass through international standards committees, establishing best practices for coding is still a relatively unbounded territory. So IBM's announcement last week (October 12, 2005) that it was releasing a subset of the IBM Rational Unified Process (RUP) to the open-source community was a coup for open-source developers.

Rational Unified Process as Best Practices

RUP is a vast collection of methods and best practices for promoting quality and efficiency throughout software development projects. IBM says that RUP has helped guide more than 500,000 developers around the world in projects ranging from small-scale products to large, industrial-strength systems. IBM hopes that donating the RUP subset will provide a foundation architecture and some Web-based tools for the software industry to further the process of establishing best practices for application development.

This is important to the industry as a whole because, according to some analysts, nearly half of the internally developed software projects run over budget, 90% are completed late, and 30% are ultimately canceled. In addition, an astounding 15% to 20% of all software defects actually reach the end user before they are remedied. According to the Standish Group, these defects are costing the U.S. economy upward of $60 billion a year.

Adoption of RUP as Model for Best Practices

IBM's donation is designed to advance a collaborative, industry-wide effort to synthesize, share, and automate development processes and best practices among independent software vendors, academia, the research community, IT organizations building integrated systems, and individual software professionals on small or large teams. According to IBM, if RUP is adopted, it could improve software development practices within organizations throughout the industry, while providing standardization in areas such as Web services and SOA.

According to Daniel Sabbah, General Manager, IBM Rational Software, "IBM is doing for the software development process what Eclipse has done for the integration of software tools, what Apache did for Web application servers and what Linux did for operating systems. Software practitioners at large companies, independent software vendors, systems integrators, and in government and academia will be able to collaborate more easily and drive better-managed and higher quality software projects. By rethinking software development practices to emphasize smarter processes and higher-quality outcomes, companies will reach new levels of innovation while obtaining productivity gains characteristic of an on-demand business."

Best Practices for the Future of Application Longevity

For the maintenance programmer hot on the trail of fixing a failed application, too often it's already too late to apply best practices. Too often the failing code is the result of a lack of standards or inappropriate practices, and the entire application must be re-architected and re-built.

RUP is, of course, merely one possible offering to create a model for best practices. Furthermore, many within the industry believe that RUP's complexity outweighs the benefits that it offers in establishing a model for best practices. But it's an important model nonetheless, and IBM's contribution to the open-source community will allow this model to be refined and developed according to the real needs of developers.

Yet the fact that RUP has been used with varying success by such a large number of developers in the past, on such a wide array of development projects, offers hope to maintenance programmers that there may be a brighter future for the task of maintaining code. If IBM's contribution has an impact on how software is developed, perhaps the next generation of applications that we are forced to maintain will offer fewer surprises, more flexibility, and better maintainability.

Thomas M. Stockwell is Editor in Chief of MC Press Online.

Thomas Stockwell

Thomas M. Stockwell is an independent IT analyst and writer. He is the former Editor in Chief of MC Press Online and Midrange Computing magazine and has over 20 years of experience as a programmer, systems engineer, IT director, industry analyst, author, speaker, consultant, and editor.  


Tom works from his home in the Napa Valley in California. He can be reached at





Support MC Press Online





  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things

    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!


  • Profound Logic Solution Guide

    SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation.
    Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects.
    The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the companyare not aligned with the current IT environment.

    Get your copy of this important guide today!


  • 2022 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    Fortra2022 marks the eighth edition of the IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, Fortra captures data on how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT and cybersecurity initiatives it supports.

    Over the years, this survey has become a true industry benchmark, revealing to readers the trends that are shaping and driving the market and providing insight into what the future may bring for this technology.

  • Brunswick bowls a perfect 300 with LANSA!

    FortraBrunswick is the leader in bowling products, services, and industry expertise for the development and renovation of new and existing bowling centers and mixed-use recreation facilities across the entertainment industry. However, the lifeblood of Brunswick’s capital equipment business was running on a 15-year-old software application written in Visual Basic 6 (VB6) with a SQL Server back-end. The application was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced.
    With the help of Visual LANSA, they found an easy-to-use, long-term platform that enabled their team to collaborate, innovate, and integrate with existing systems and databases within a single platform.
    Read the case study to learn how they achieved success and increased the speed of development by 30% with Visual LANSA.


  • Progressive Web Apps: Create a Universal Experience Across All Devices

    LANSAProgressive Web Apps allow you to reach anyone, anywhere, and on any device with a single unified codebase. This means that your applications—regardless of browser, device, or platform—instantly become more reliable and consistent. They are the present and future of application development, and more and more businesses are catching on.
    Download this whitepaper and learn:

    • How PWAs support fast application development and streamline DevOps
    • How to give your business a competitive edge using PWAs
    • What makes progressive web apps so versatile, both online and offline



  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks



  • Why Migrate When You Can Modernize?

    LANSABusiness users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.
    In this white paper, you’ll learn how to think of these issues as opportunities rather than problems. We’ll explore motivations to migrate or modernize, their risks and considerations you should be aware of before embarking on a (migration or modernization) project.
    Lastly, we’ll discuss how modernizing IBM i applications with optimized business workflows, integration with other technologies and new mobile and web user interfaces will enable IT – and the business – to experience time-added value and much more.


  • UPDATED: Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    FortraIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact


  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using as a pre-built development environment



  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.



  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.



  • Encryption on IBM i Simplified

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDB2 Field Procedures (FieldProcs) were introduced in IBM i 7.1 and have greatly simplified encryption, often without requiring any application changes. Now you can quickly encrypt sensitive data on the IBM i including PII, PCI, PHI data in your physical files and tables.
    Watch this webinar to learn how you can quickly implement encryption on the IBM i. During the webinar, security expert Robin Tatam will show you how to:

    • Use Field Procedures to automate encryption and decryption
    • Restrict and mask field level access by user or group
    • Meet compliance requirements with effective key management and audit trails


  • Lessons Learned from IBM i Cyber Attacks

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDespite the many options IBM has provided to protect your systems and data, many organizations still struggle to apply appropriate security controls.
    In this webinar, you'll get insight into how the criminals accessed these systems, the fallout from these attacks, and how the incidents could have been avoided by following security best practices.

    • Learn which security gaps cyber criminals love most
    • Find out how other IBM i organizations have fallen victim
    • Get the details on policies and processes you can implement to protect your organization, even when staff works from home

    You will learn the steps you can take to avoid the mistakes made in these examples, as well as other inadequate and misconfigured settings that put businesses at risk.



  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    SB PowerTech WC GenericWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks



  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    FortraRobot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    FortraRobot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.