Coming to compatible Rational Rose setups so that stakeholders can share Rose models

Sharing Rational Rose models within a team (even for "read only" use) requires more care/effort/skill than sharing typical office documents (e.g. PowerPoint slides).  Even though the licensing of Rose can be managed from a server, the application is PC-based so models sent from one PC to another rely greatly on compatible configurations between those two PCs. If participants do not have compatible versions of Rose, they will (at best) not be able to read the models but may also corrupt the model...perhaps without even knowing it.
The Rational Rose configurations used by various participants can be brought into line by using the information in the "About Rational Rose" window from the "Help" menu in Rose.  For two people to share a Rose model effectively, and safely, they need to have the same version of "Rose" (see "Release Version" and the first item listed in the lower half of the window) and the same versions of any add-ins used to make the model (also shown in this dialog box). If participants have compatible configurations as shown in the "About Rational Rose" window and can open models without any errors in the log window, then they should be good to go from there for sharing models.
The information in the "About Rational Rose" dialog box is technically accurate but a bit hard to explain in less-technical business conversations - for those times, I suggest a focus around the following:
What is the "Year Version" of Rose"? - This is the year version of the Rose product the person is using.  For example, "Rose 98", "Rose 2000", "Rose 2002","Rose 2003", etc. This isn't always immediately obvious to the user since Rose is often purchased in suites and the year version of Rose in the suite may not match the year the person bought the suite - e.g. you may have bought Developer Suite in 2004 but the included version of Rose was Rose 2003.
Are you using any of the Rational "suites"? -  Many people obtain Rational Rose thru one of the Rational Suites which bundle IBM/Rational products together.  The versions of Rational Rose included in the various Suites are not the same. There is a difference between buying Rose in a suite versus buying it stand-alone.
Are you using "Rose", "Rose Pro" or "Rose Enterprise"? - The product is available in three functional versions.  "Rose" just does models.  "Rose Pro" is for code generation in a single language (e.g. C++), and Rose Enterprise includes code generation in all of the languages (C++, Java, SQL, etc.) as well as some other features.  This can be hard to figure out because, again, people recently more often buy the suites or studios of products from Rational and don't have a clear idea of which version of Rose is included or if it would be compatible with the Rose in other suites/studios.  For example the Analyst Suite includes just plan "Rose" but the Enterprise Suite include Rose Enterprise - a model made with Enterprise Suite would include information that the Analyst Suite could not recognize.  This  is further confused by that there is a Rational Rose Enterprise and a Rational Enterprise Suite - they are not the same thing.
Have any updates/patches been applied? - The Rose product hasn't had a new year version since 2003 but Rational/IBM have issued patches/updates since then.  People get these upgraded/patched versions of Rose because they bought Rose in 2004, 2005, etc. (the upgrade/patch was included in the retail product) or someone applied the upgrade/patch after the fact.    You can figure this out by looking at the "About Rational" window (from the Help menu) - e.g. even if you are using "Rational Rose 2003" this window may reveal that you actually using the "2003.06" version (2003 plus some patches/updates).
What template was used when creating the model? Where any customized (non-IBM/Rational) templates used? When you create a model in Rose, you are prompted to use a template - Java2 Enterprise Edition, Oracle 8 Database, Visual Basic 6, etc.  Models may contain references to these templates in them.  If two stakeholders have compatible versions of Rose (see everything above) then they will already have compatible versions of the Rational-provided templates - models shared between the two should reference the templates just fine.  One problem in this area is when projects use customized templates - usually reflecting the technical architecture or development methodology/processes of a large organization.  A model referencing those templates sent to a person who doesn't have those custom templates installed will not work properly.
Was the Rose model created using only Rational Rose or coverted/exported/modified by another application?  Rational Rose is a very popular application for software/systems modeling.  So much so that other programs can often import/export Rose model data.  This is made all the easier by the fact that the Rose model files are simply structured text.  So, people often use other applications, tools or scripts to read/convert/manipulate their Rose models - Rational encourages this by providing their own scripting language for Rose as well as making it easy to work with Rose models in other languages (e.g. Visual Basic).  Competitors to Rational usually have more of an interest in good importing rather than good exporting and improvised scripts on Rose models are often work only in very particular setups - both factors contribute to Rose models that don't share well with other stakeholders.

- Brian Lawler

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