I read the RBD V9 announcement today along with several other announcements from IBM/Rational. The RBD V9 announcement was disappointing, to say the least.
From the sounds of it, this is yet another "compatibility release" (what is this now, five releases without any major new features?) to keep RBD at current Rational tooling levels with compatibility for whatever the latest WebSphere Application Server release is. Where are the features we've been asking for such as officially supported mobile components?
Meanwhile, there are some nice improvements announced for Rational Developer for i.
The biggest thing happening in the RDi space is the inclusion of Worklight Studio. Guess what Worklight brings to the table? Mobile support -- and not just Dojo Mobile but Dojo, JQuery, and Sencha plus the ability to use PhoneGap (Cordova) to create native applications for Android and iOS! This is what RBD should already be doing today (the unofficially supported Dojo Mobile preview is, what, two or three years old now?) or at least have a plan to do it -- unless the plan is to abandon RBD for that kind of development work in favor of Worklight. (EDT was far better positioned than RBD for extending into the browser-mobile and native-mobile realm. I still have my suspicions that EDT was canceled at least in part due to Worklight being a paid product. Why would IBM stand up an open-source competitor to their own paid product?)
I challenge IBM/Rational with these questions:
1. WHEN (ballpark estimate, no commitment) can we expect the sort of modern features in RBD that we must have in order to consider RBD a relevant tool for moving forward with the kinds of applications demanded by our clients today? WHAT features can we expect? (At a minimum -- and I do mean MINIMUM -- this would be official support for Dojo Mobile.)
2. Is RBD ever going to be that tool for us or should we indeed start planning now to abandon EGL/RBD in favor of other languages and tools such as those supported by Worklight? (It's okay to tell us the truth, even if it is bad news. We've heard bad news before... Just don't string us along waiting for RBD to come along until it is too late!)
3. Lastly, does IBM/Rational even have a team in place any more to take RBD forward into the future (with more than just compatibility releases)? Do you have a Chris Laffra-type person on the team with the vision and drive (and the management support behind him or her) to realize the potential of RBD for the types of applications demanded in today's marketplace? (We know IBM understands this marketplace because they had the foresight to acquire Worklight and QUICKLY integrate it into the core Rational suites.) If the team is staffed for "legacy product support" and nothing more, that will tell us everything we need to know.