IBM Rational Software has released a new version of its desktop development tools that focus on boosting the quality of emerging architectures by eliminating common problems from distributed development efforts.

The IBM Rational Software Delivery Platform 7.0 is designed to help users overcome some of the challenges that routinely crop up when trying to put into place a service oriented architecture (SOA), said Scott Hebner, Rational's vice president of marketing and strategy.

Specifically, many companies are working with distributed teams of workers responsible for building services and linking them to create new applications, he said. "More and more customers are thinking of software as a supply chain, [and] they are outsourcing testing to a firm in India, and they might have a business partner building different parts of their application," Hebner said. "That is creating challenges like how to ensure global integrity of the architecture and services."

The new tools allow multiple elements of an architectural design to be fused together, automate the generation of services from a model and ensure that code developed by outsourced developers is consistent with a company's architectural model, Rational said.

The new and enhanced Version 7 products include:

IBM Rational Elite Support for Eclipse, which offers enterprise-level support for the Eclipse open-source development framework. Version 7.0 of the desktop products will install directly into existing Eclipse 3.2 environments.

IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software – Integrated Development Environment, which allows developers to design, create, analyze, test, profile and put into place SOA, Java and portal applications.

IBM Rational Software Architect, which is a model-driven development tool for software architects and model-driven developers.

IBM Rational Software Modeller, which is a visual modelling and design tool for architects, systems analysts and designers who need to ensure that their specifications, architectures and designs are clearly defined and communicated.