Open Lifecycle Colaboration
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[The ideas stated here are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions.]
Remember when the Internet was just about file downloads and browsing? (I'd expound more but you might accuse me of being an "old guy".) Now the Internet has become a sort of universal channel, like "the network". There has just been an enormous amount of innovation around this concept, with more and more devices climbing on board and finding new ways to communicate with each other. It's no wonder that in this atmosphere that there would appear an open-source approach to improving collaboration.
The Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) project is an open community dedicated to making it easier to use lifecycle tools in combination with each other. If you think about it, this is such a simple and obvious idea that could make a vast difference to users and developers if put into practice. Standards have always made the difference in how wide-spread a program can be. If you want to own and control everything that a user is allowed to do through your product, then proprietary is the way to go... and if you aren't keeping up with where your users want to go, then you will get left behind. If you use open methods for communicating, then users can combine what rocks them about your application with what they like about other applications. They can create their own mashups of functionality.
In open-source software, this is particularly critical. If applications can talk to each other then you don't need to worry about having all of the functionality in one place. Users can supplement your application with others for a fairly seamless experience. The more applications adhere to the standards, the more elegant this can become.
An example of this concept put into motion is the Lyo project for Eclipse. Its goal is to provide an SDK enabled for OSLC specifications. You can learn more about their specific goals and get involved through that project page. Of course, the OSLC site also has a list of software projects that are incorporating these concepts. You'll find adapters, providers and consumers to play with.