IBM is set to allow its Jazz platform for collaborative application development to be used by developers using tools from rival vendors, including Microsoft.

An integration with Microsoft's Visual Studio IDE is in the works, but is not part of the Rational Jazz Team Concert 1.0 release being announced this week, according to Peter Klenk, a member of the Jazz project's management committee. Team Concert, the first commercial product derived from the Jazz project, is initially based around Eclipse-based IDEs, he said. Eclipse was started as an open-source IDE project by IBM in 2001.

"Rational has a long history of supporting a variety of development environments in their lifecycle tools. We have that pedigree and we want to continue doing that," Klenk said. "There are a lot of shops that have both Java and Visual Studio development. We need these team tools to support both. That's why Visual Studio is so important."

However, IBM's embrace of Microsoft is only going so far for now: The company has not yet decided whether Jazz will support related Microsoft technologies, such as its SQL Server database, version control system or application server.

For databases, Jazz is initially compatible with Oracle, IBM DB/2 and Derby. Jazz runs on an application server, but right now the choices are either IBM WebSphere or Apache Tomcat.

"The beauty of the open development on [the portal] is that we'll have a direct line to our clients about whether they want us to do more," Klenk asserted. "We're prepared to be responsive to the community."