RAS assets

IBM® Rational® uses the Reusable Java™ Asset Specification (RAS) to provide a standard way to package and extract a set of related files. A RAS asset is a collection of related files or artifacts packaged based on the RAS specification.

RAS assets simplify the process of sharing solutions with other users because you use a convenient and consistent methodology to organize, document, share, store, and restore the solution.

Assets can vary widely in their size, complexity and purpose. The scope of the RAS asset is limited only by the producer's designs to support the consumer's needs. An example of a RAS asset is an asset that contains reference files for all the users at your site to create source code headers and footers. The headers and footers contain product identification and copyright notices protecting your code. The asset could also set up default network resource locations. Another example of the use of RAS assets is the creation of a series of assets that store design patterns and code templates. These RAS assets contain commonly used code structures and models. After they are applied, they can be quickly converted to code.

More complex RAS assets could be designed to include the architecture of subsystems created to adapt to changing system requirements. Such an asset could be the basis for an entire application. Documentation, probably considerable, would be contained in the asset using the consistency of the asset structure and also available by reference to files located at the producer's Web site.

The RAS asset can contain many types of artifacts; for example, design models, use cases, pattern assets, Web links, code samples, text files, and test data. Assets targeted for long-term reuse benefit from good documentation that summarizes the asset's purpose, use, content, and context. Documentation plays a key role in helping the consumer determine if the asset satisfies his requirements.

RAS assets provide the following benefits:

The Reusable Asset Specification

The value of RAS assets depends on standards and consistency, and the Reusable Asset Specification provides the guidelines to assemble, organize, store, and document RAS assets. Adhering to these guidelines, IBM Rational provides the tools for you to create, document, test, and package RAS assets. A primary focus of creating a RAS asset is its reusability, and IBM Rational tools allow you to search for and archive assets in local and remote repositories so that your assets can be shared.

The RAS profile

As a RAS asset producer, you provide key information about your RAS asset when you are prompted to supply data for the RAS asset's manifest file. This data supplies the criteria for potential consumers who search repositories for specific assets that meet their needs. Examples of asset information included in string searches are the author, description, and classification descriptors.

RAS asset file structure

When you create a RAS asset, all the artifacts of the asset are included in a zipped archive file. This file has a .ras extension. The manifest file, manifest.rmd, contains a record of all the files in the archive and the instructions on how to locate them when the RAS asset is imported.

Storing and sharing RAS assets

You can add a repository to your repository list so that you can view, search, and import its RAS assets. A Pattern repository also comes preloaded in the Asset Explorer view.