Code and content: The twain shall meet –

Development was once largely an issue of making the code work. However, content has now become a major factor as well.

The matter becomes more serious as enterprises stake their livelihood on Web projects. If development of content and code is not well coordinated, modern Websites will fail.

That is Rational Software's contention, as well as that of some experienced IT managers. To address the growing code-and-content abyss, development software powerhouse Rational said it will integrate the content-management capabilities of Web upstart Vignette Corp.'s V/5 Content Management Server in upcoming versions of its Rational Suite ContentStudio.

The new product will be offered solely by Rational. Its purpose -- using a common software configuration management foundation -- is to let teams manage content, code, and other software artifacts.

Rational is one Web project management tool vendor that rose out of the software configuration management (SCM) environment. Its ClearCase configuration management software forms the backbone of Rational Suite. MKS and StarBase, among others, have also approached Web content management from an SCM point of view. Other players, such as Interwoven, have more of a workflow software lineage.

Joining ClearCase in Rational Suite ContentStudio are the Requisite Pro requirements management software, the ClearQuest defect and change tracking system, and Rational Unified Process, a modeling tool that utilizes the Rational-originated UML (Universal Modeling Language).

Vignette customers will be one target for Rational Suite ContentStudio, which will be available by April 2001 and will cost $4,795 per node-locked license, according to the company.

"Every Vignette customer is a candidate for the tool set," said Eric Schurr, Rational's vice president of marketing and suite products. Schurr added that, conversely, Rational customers building Web systems will be compelled to consider Vignette for their "real-time environments."

"Today one team writes code and one team writes content, and they use manual, error- prone methods to combine the two," said Schurr. A common tool set for code and content should bridge this gap, he said.

The combo meets a real need, according to one user briefed on the announcement. "We've been looking for a solution that allows us to build, manage, and deploy code and content in a uniform, integrated fashion," said Raymond Magpantay, assistant vice president and technology manager at Wells Fargo Services and Co.

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