I’ll be the first to admit I have been pretty slow on the uptake of CLM 4.0.4. I have been kept pretty busy with a lot of test automation opportunities and been focusing my time on Rational Test Workbench lately. I got as far as installing CLM 4.0.4 the other day and then got pulled away again. Well I finally got a few minutes to browse the New and Noteworthy page today and to tinker around a bit in the tool. Wow, I’m a bit biased, I will admit, but Rational Quality Manager came out on top in this release!
I will try to blog about some of the new features over the next week or so, but I wanted to start with a gem I found buried in the details:
Displaying short names of links instead of numbers in table views
This all comes down to usability. One of the most powerful capabilities of the Rational Collaborative Lifecycle Management system is the ability to link artifacts one to another. With these links, you can know which test cases validate which requirements. You can see which development plans are tested by which test plans. There are a multitude of places where these links show up, particularly in tables when you choose to view Traceability. Let’s take a test case list in a test plan, for example.
This traceability has huge benefits. And as long as the relationships have been one-to-one or somewhere close, you are OK. But when you start to scale up to a one-to-many relationship, our table displays start to break down. Now to be fair, it’s not easy to cram a lot of relationship information into a table such as the one above. But prior to 4.0.4, if you had more than one link per cell, we would just list a stream of links with a one-based index. You had no idea just looking at them as to what the links pointed to.
Oh sure, you could hover over each one and find the details in the hover window or you could click on the test case and go to the Requirements section to see the list, but that takes time and effort.
Now here is the same table display in 4.0.4.
The difference may be subtle at first, but the requirement links are no longer just a one-based index. Those numbers are the “webID” numbers – the unique numbers associated to every artifact in the repository. Everyone gets attached to their favorite requirements by number. Or you may get to know a pesky defect by its number rather than its name. Now you can pick them out of the crowd easily. The links consume very little more space than before, but they provide so much more value.