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Putting Assets to Work

IBM Haifa Labs News Center

IBM Haifa develops software to help analysts and developers understand and reuse enterprise-distributed assets

Haifa, Israel, June 19, 2002 -- IBM's Asset Locator took a significant step recently, when it graduated from research project status and became part of the WebSphere Studio Asset Analyzer for Multiplatforms. Asset Locator is a comprehensive solution for the management of software assets in the enterprise. It provides developers with code reuse, impact analysis, and collaboration capabilities. By incorporating the features offered by IBM Haifa's Asset Locator, WebSphere Studio Asset Analyzer now offers customers coverage and impact analysis for distributed artifacts including J2EE applications, Java code, XML, HTML, or C++ applications. WebSphere Studio Asset Analyzer previously offered program understanding and impact analysis coverage for legacy applications that run on mainframe computers, including such assets as COBOL, PL/1, CICS, or Assembler code artifacts.

"Today, enterprise applications are distributed, more complex, comprised of diverse types of artifacts, and developed by assorted programmers with varying degress of expertise. Our need to understand the structure of applications and how proposed code changes will affect other parts of the system is becoming more and more critical for maintaining, extending and revamping e-business applications," states Avi Yaeli, project leader for Asset Locator.

"These new management and analysis tools are critical for IBM enterprise customers to properly manage their IT resources in order to survive in today's aggressive marketplace," notes Gabi Zodik, manager of the IBM Haifa Programming Languages and Environments department.

WebSphere Studio Asset Analyzer is a tool for maintaining and extending existing software assets through impact analysis, reuse, and application understanding. By providing enterprise customers with knowledge about their existing assets and understanding how making changes to these assets will affect other applications, IBM helps customers save time and reduce both risk and expenses.

All businesses have programs that are made up of components with potential value for reuse in e-business applications. Reusing application constructs shortens the application development process and improves the quality, but more importantly it significantly reduces the maintenance costs.

How Asset Locator works

Asset Locator uses a set of autonomous crawlers (e.g., WebDAV, ClearCase, PVCS, File System) to crawl into the enterprise servers and repositories and incrementally discover new development resources. Next, a set of domain-specific analyzers (e.g., J2EE, Java, XML, JSP) analyze the discovered resources by identifying and extracting semantic and textual features. The analyzed information is then stored in a DB2 database and the textual information is indexed to enable quick retrieval of resources by keywords at runtime. Once the enterprise repositories have been mined and analyzed, additional analyses take place to find the relationships and dependencies between resources, and categorize resources to predefined domain taxonomies. These analyses provide a global view of the domain or the "big picture" of how resources fit together.

Future Plans

The vision of the Asset Locator team is to transform Asset Locator into a more comprehensive software asset management solution and become a central tool in the development life-cycle. Plans for future development of the project include adding support for Web Services, component management, and extending the scope of analysis beyond distributed assets to other domains. The team is also working on delivering Asset Locator technology with other IBM products and service offerings.

Today, the Asset Locator group is working on the third version of WebSphere Studio Asset Analyzer, and is field testing the new features. They are currently working with large companies, including Boeing and Schwab, to evaluate the current support and identify new requirements and customer needs. The team is also working with an IGS group that plans to use this technology in new engagements.

For more information, see:

About the IBM Haifa Labs

R&D projects are being executed today by IBM Research Lab in Haifa (HRL) for most IBM labs in the USA, Canada and Europe, in areas such as storage systems, distributed computing, verification technologies, system availability, programming languages, multimedia, information retrieval, active management, and middleware for the telco environment. For more information, visit


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