Tasktop 2.0 Supports Task Federation and Cross-Repository Agile Planning
The latest version of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) collaboration tool Tasktop supports task federation, cross-repository Agile planning and new connectors to other ALM tools like HP Agile Accelerator and SmartBear CodeCollaborator. Tasktop team last week released version 2.0 of the software which also provides integration with Hudson CI tool and task management from within Visual Studio.
Task Federation: The Task Federation framework provides a layer of insulation between the various stakeholders in the software lifecycle and the implementation details of the organization’s ALM stack. Task Federation can be used to synchronize ALM components such as HP Quality Center and IBM Rational Team Concert, create Agile development plans that span multiple project management systems. It also supports linking dependencies between the task repositories that define the software's evolution.
Agile Planner: The new Tasktop Agile Planner for the Eclipse IDE (which is available as part of Tasktop Enterprise) provides a developer-centric and offline-capable Scrum task board and release planner that can span repositories. The user stories within an Agile planning tool can be shared, tracked and displayed in HP Quality Center or a popular open source issue tracker. Cross repository dependencies are displayed in release plans, and Tasktop Enterprise can display and reconcile task status across repositories. Also, burn down charts are available when connected using Tasktop's embedded Web UI gadgets. Currently, Agile plans can be displayed from the HP ALM Agile Accelerator and Rally Software, and linked to all Tasktop Certified task, defect and issue trackers.
Task-Focused Continuous Integration: With the new Hudson integration in Mylyn 3.5 (which also includes Jenkins support), developers can now work with Hudson from within the Eclipse IDE to monitor and run builds, inspect build results and run tests that failed on the server. Also, Tasktop Enterprise's task activation and automatic change set tracking features provide the traceability between Hudson builds and the tasks that changed for a given build.
Tasktop for Visual Studio: The new release includes the GA of Tasktop for Visual Studio IDE which provides the developers instant and offline access to managing the task list and a WPF-based task editor. Developers now get Mylyn's task management functionality within the Visual Studio IDE.
Other features in version 2.0 release include connectors to Accept 360 and Polarion ALM. InfoQ spoke with Tasktop CEO and Mylyn Lead Mik Kersten about the new release of the collaboration tool.
InfoQ: Tasktop 2.0 includes the integration with CodeCollaborator code review tool. Can you discuss more about what's coming up in the code review and developer feedback process? Also, are there plans to expand this feature to include metrics for technical debt measurement?
Mik Kersten: We have brought CodeCollaborator into the task-focused collaboration workflow. This means that you can manage code views via the Task List and get all the benefits of the task editor and context tracking with them. While integration was the initial focus, this does open up an interesting avenue for technical debt measurement, which I consider to be an important direction for Agile tool support. Developers are already using the task-focused interface to help manage technical debt by focusing their Problems view. When you do that, instead of seeing thousands of warnings or FindBugs reports, you only see the ones that you introduced or uncovered as you were working on a new feature or bug fix. This means that you can address some of the new debt that you introduced before you check in, and not some later stage of the release. In a similar way, we now use task contexts as an input to the code review process.
InfoQ: Can you discuss more about the new Gerrit Code Review Connector? Does it have integration with other ALM tools in the areas of requirements management, test cases, source code repository, and defect tracking?
Mik: The Gerrit integration that we are adding to Mylyn provides all the benefits of Mylyn's Task List and task editor for managing your code reviews, along with features such as managing patch sets and comments directly from code review tasks. What Tasktop will provide is integration and traceability between Gerrit and commercial ALM tools. This is very similar to our strategy around Git and Hudson/Jenkins integration, where we have made the core tools free, but are putting the additional traceability with requirements, test and task tracking into Tasktop. This helps get the core tools into the hands of open source developers while funding investment with Mylyn via Tasktop Enterprise sales.
InfoQ: What are the upcoming ALM connectors and integrations for Tasktop?
Mik: Tasktop 2.0 includes a new connector for HP's Agile Accelerator, which builds on our previously released connector for HP's Quality Center and ALM products. It also includes a new connector for SmartBear's CodeCollaborator tool, as well as Accept 360 and Polarion ALM. On the open source side, we have created a Hudson/Jenkins connector, which builds on the new Build and Continuous Integration framework that we created for the Mylyn 3.5 release. On the integrations front, what's exciting is that we are hitting a critical mass of ALM integrations and extending Tasktop to new ALM categories such as product and requirements management, continuous integration and code review, all with the goal of providing a unified developer experience and traceability across a heterogeneous ALM environment.
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