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IBM Rational Software Architect
Developer(s) IBM
Initial release ?
Written in Java/C++
Available in ?
Type Integrated development environment
License IBM EULA

IBM Rational Software Architect, (RSA) made by IBM's Rational Software division, is a comprehensive modeling and development environment that leverages the Unified Modeling Language (UML) for designing architecture for C++ and Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) applications and web services. Rational Software Architect is built on the Eclipse open-source software framework and includes capabilities focused on architectural code analysis, C++, and model-driven development (MDD) with the UML for creating resilient applications and web services.



Rational Software Architect version 7.5 includes the following capabilities:

  1. Built on Eclipse version 3.4
  2. Supports UML version 2.1
  3. Supports model-to-code and code-to-model transformations.
    1. Forward transformations go from:
      1. UML to Java
      2. UML to C#
      3. UML to C++
      4. UML to EJB
      5. UML to WSDL
      6. UML to XSD
      7. UML to CORBA Interface Description Language (IDL)
      8. UML to structured query language (SQL)-based logical data models as supported by IBM Rational Data Architect software.
    2. Reverse transformations go from
      1. Java to UML
      2. C++ to UML.
  4. Includes all of the capabilities of IBM Rational Application Developer
  5. Enables model management for parallel development and architectural re-factoring, e.g., split, combine, compare and merge models and model fragments.
  6. Provides visual construction tools to expedite software design and development

It also has integrations with other Rational tools, such as ClearCase version control and ClearQuest configuration management.

All Rational software products, including Rational Software Architect (RSA), are engineered as plugins that sit on top of the open-source Eclipse development platform. Installing Rational Software Architect gives the developer the option to either install RSA on top of an existing Eclipse v3.2 installation, or to install a new Eclipse v3.2 instance.

Because RSA is Eclipse-based, it can take advantage of a vibrant market of third-party plugins for Eclipse, as well as plugins specifically for Rational tools.


IBM Rational software has a long history in application modeling, beginning in the early 1990s with the work of Grady Booch, James Rumbaugh and Ivar Jacobson. They combined competing modeling approaches to form what eventually became the Unified Modeling Language.

Rational Software's first visual modeling and development tool was Rational Rose, a stand-alone modeling tool that integrates at the application programming interface (API) level with third-party Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) to support a variety of programming languages and other implementation technologies.

While Rational Rose was an important step in bringing Model-driven development (MDD) closer to practicing software developers, it was found that only a small fraction of developers used modeling on a routine basis. A key problem was identified - developers didn’t like to leave their IDE. They wanted visual modeling to be integrated—not with their IDE, but rather inside their IDE.

Rational responded to this need in 2002 with IBM Rational XDE software, providing an extended development environment for the next generation of programming technologies emerging at the time: Java and Microsoft .NET. IBM Rational XDE was characterized as the next generation of IBM Rational Rose — not a new version of it (hence the name change), and not necessarily a replacement for Rose (since IBM Rational XDE was purposefully restricted to support only a select number of IDEs and implementation technologies). However, with each addition of a tool or capability came another point-to-point integration requirement. As more and more capabilities were added, Rational began to reach the practical limits of this style of tool integration.

For the next-generation MDD products, it was only natural to build additional model-driven development functions on top of Eclipse to form a more complete MDD tool. IBM Rational Software Architect, IBM Rational Software Modeler and IBM Rational Systems Developer are the result of these changes, transforming the silos that previously defined modeling, development and code analysis into an integrated and unified design and development experience. RSA now co-exists with IBM Rational Rhapsody (acquired from Telelogic in 2008) and several other products, with the two mentioned being the major MDD solutions within Rational.


The benefits of using Rational Software Architect include:

  • Build software architecture that supports change with a common platform that facilitates easy roundtrip engineering and synchronization of models and code.
  • Accelerate implementation and facilitate maintenance of a successful service-oriented architecture (SOA) solution, such as a web service, with powerful tools and process guidance
  • Leverage UML to ensure the numerous stakeholders within your software development projects are continuously communicating, and use defined specifications to jumpstart development.
  • Gain insight into distributed projects and tighter control of shared information.

IBM Rational Software Architect Versions

  • v6.0: Released December 2004. Based on Eclipse v3.0, UML v2.0 and IBM Rational Application Developer v6.0
  • v7.0: Released December 2006. Based on Eclipse v3.2, UML v2.1 and IBM Rational Application Developer v7.0
  • v7.0.0.1: Released January 2007. Includes bug fixes.
  • v7.0.0.2: Released January 2007. Includes support for UML to SOA transformations, including Service Creation Description Language (SCDL), BPEL, WSDL and XSD.
  • v7.0.0.3: Released July 2007. Includes support for asynchronous web services (JAX-WS) and support for new Java 5.0 UML stereotypes.
  • v7.5.0: Released September 2008.

List of Eclipse-based IBM Analysis, Design and Construction products

See also

External links



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