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Full Rational Application Developer IDE Software Review – All You Need to Know About Rational Application Developer


Rational Application Developer is a powerful Integrated Development Environment that is based on Eclipse. Designed as a successor to the WebSphere Studio Application, this software has become one of the best in the industry.

Used by over 2,190 companies in the United States, IBM created this tool to cover a wide variety of development solution. These include Java developers, enterprise programmers, web developers, business analyst, system architect, etc.

Be that as it may, you have to wonder if Rational Application Developer is good at doing what it claims to do. This detailed review should answer that question and more. Although, if you are not familiar with this software, your first question has to be;

What is Rational Application Developer?

It’s an Eclipse-based Integrated Development Environment that IBM created to meet the needs of web and Java applications developers. How does this software attend to their needs, you wonder?

Aside from simplifying front-end development, it also expedites it using cutting-edge Web 2.0 as well as hybrid mobile applications. In addition to these, Rational Application Developer also acts as a solution for CSS3, Javascript, HTML5, Dojo, Cordova, etc.

This software provides powerful tools that streamline the designing process, the development, deployment, as well as quality control of the following for IBM Bluemix, including other distributed platforms.

  • Java EE
  • Mobile Portal
  • Java
  • Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
  • Web 2.0

One exciting thing about Rational Application Developer is the simple build. It was designed such that not only is it ideal for expert developers, but novices can also use it as well. As a result, users can increase efficiency and boost the productivity of the web application development process.

Also, it offers other innovative features which facilitate the rapid development of multi-platform back-end apps and services.

To get a detailed understanding of Rational Application Development, we must discuss how it works.

How It Works

Of course, the first thing to do is install the Rational Application developer software into your PC or Mac. Don’t worry; it only takes a couple of minutes. However, before you proceed, you must check if your system meets the requirement below. If it does, install and launch the program. You’re ready to begin.

The homepage is simple and straightforward. Divided into various sections to offer different solutions to users. Available options include;

  • The Overview
  • What’s New
  • First Steps
  • Tutorials etc.

There is also a dashboard at the top that offers different icons to users. The first thing you want to do is create a database. That’s where the workspace comes in.

The workspace is where everything on Rational Application Developer happens. It provides loads of options such as Database Explorer, Data Project Explorer, Outline, Bookmarks, etc. To get a rough idea of how this software works, let’s create a data design project.

Creating a Data Design Project on Rational Application Developer

Here is the thing; users can create various databases ranging from Generic JDBC, MySQL to Oracle. However, we’ll be using Derby.

Click on the “Data” icon at the top right corner of the screen and select “Others.” A window which shows an outline of options should pop up. Select the “Data” option and click “Ok.”

At this point, you must create a new data design project. Why is this necessary, you wonder? To create a new database, a user must start with a data design project. Click on “File” at the toolbar and create a new data design project. Input the project name into the popup window, and click “Finish.”


You’ll find the newly created data design project at the Data Project Explorer section of the dashboard. Now, click to expand it and create a new physical data model. Fill the database type as well as the version in the pop-up window, select a template and click “Finish.”

After that, you can edit the project properties as you see fit.

Rational Application Developer IDE Software; The Pros

This software offers many advantages to its users. Some of them are listed below;

It is Designed for Flexible Deployment

Rational Application Developer is a robust IDE software that provides a very flexible deployment. Thanks to its deep integration with Rational Collaborative Application Lifecycle Management, not only can users develop fast, but they’ll also be able to test securely using IBM Bluemix.

It Increases Productivity

Aside from that, Rational Application Development also integrates with software configuration. As such, users can enjoy enhanced collaboration, planning, as well as change management.

When combined with IBM DevOps, this software improves the quality of outcomes and productivity at the individual and team levels.

It Accelerates the Development of Java Applications and Services

Thanks to this software, users can develop, deploy, and test REST as well as other web services with the following;

  • Java EE
  • JPA
  • J2EE
  • JAX WS
  • JMS
EJB Query Language
  • JAX RS etc.

You see, the modern web 2.0 module and the hybrid mobile technologies combine to offer developers various innovative methods of accelerating application development.

In addition to these, it uses the Open SCA architecture which ensures developers are not only able to connect, but also assemble reusable service components easily.

Don’t forget other inbuilt tools designed to help enhance productivity. Examples include the Rich Page Editor and the browser-based mobile simulator.

It Offers a Dynamic Analysis Module

Rational Application Developer comes with a dynamic analysis module which allows users to identify, analyze and rectify performance trouble spots. This is as a result of the sampling-based and trace-based profiling tools that are integrated into the module.

Aside from improving code quality, these tools also support all aspect of application management, including the development, deployment, and testing.

When combined withIBM Rational Team Concert, the analysis feature provides extensive details of coverage metrics and program execution paths.

Other advantages of this software include;

  • It helps maintain application front ends
  • Attain higher initial code quality
  • It enables you to install only the features you need

Rational Application Developer IDE Software; The Cons

Although this software offers many advantages to its users, there are a couple of complaints about it.  Outlined below are some of the downsides of Rational Application Developer based on user experience.

Steep Learning Curve

According to a user’s review on g2crowd, this software has a steep learning curve. The user further explained that beginners would have a tough time getting used to it. Another user on the same platform buttressed this point by describing the software’s user interface as “a little confusing.”

“Buggy and Frustrating to Use”

According to a user who claimed to have been using the IBM software for seven years, the debugger can crash as much as ten times per day. And the user may have to restart the application to use it.

Another user described it as “bloated and slow.” The G2crowd user claimed that it took too long to do the simplest things such as Setup dependencies.

Features of Rational Application Developer IDE Software

Rational Application Developer has a couple of features that make it an ideal tool for developers. Some of them are listed below;

Accelerates the Development and Maintenance of Web and Mobile Application

Rational Application Developer has two essential features that increase the rate of front-end development. These include the latest web 2.0 and hybrid mobile technologies as well as JavaScript, HTML 5, Dojo, CSS3, JSON, jQuery, Cordova among others.

Use Programming Models to Expedite Application Development

Using programming models which include Java, OSGI, JEE, Node.js with other technologies, this software of accelerating the development of backend services and application. It also comes with other productivity tools such as integrated browser-based mobile device simulator and Rich Page Editor.

Optimized for IBM Middleware

Rational Application Developer is optimized for deployment tools such as Liberty as well as IBM’s WebSphere Application Server. That’s not all. Developers can also use this software with IBM WebSphere Portal Server and IBM Bluemix cloud development platform.

As such, users can consolidate applications, including contents with search personalization as well as security capabilities. It also comes with profiling tools for Java 7 and an updated server.

Advanced Test and Analysis Tools

This software comes with advanced test and analysis tools. These include the dynamic analysis which uses sample-based and trace-based profiling in identifying, analyzing, and correcting performance issues.

Furthermore, the code coverage analysis integrates seamlessly with IBM Rational Team Concert. What does this mean for a user, you wonder?

Well, it provides detailed information about the execution paths of programs including the coverage metrics. There is also the static analysis which offers the following benefits to users;

  • More than 500 predefined coding guidelines and best practice
  • An extensive interface for creating or customizing your rules
  • Access to Quick fix suggestions

Flexible Deployment

Thanks to the software’s integration with IBM Rational Collaborative Application Lifecycle Management solution, users can develop and test applications in a virtual environment using IBM Bluemix.

Also, its integration with application lifecycle and software configuration management solutions helps improve the planning, collaboration, and change management. As a result, not only will users be able to analyze during debug sessions, but they’ll be able to collaborate too.

Flexible Pricing

IBM recently introduced the Cloud DevOps for Hybrid Deployment Bundle which allows the tech giant deliver consumption model that is based on FlexPoints. Based on the business needs, users will be able to purchase and allocate FlexPoints across the application in the bundle.


First, the pricing model is a one-time payment after a 60-days trial period. That said, Rational Application Developer for WebSphere offers six enterprise pricing plans for users. These are;

Plan #1

With a floating user, single installation license, this plan also includes an SW subscription as well as 12 months of support( D54NBLL). How much does it cost, you wonder? Users have to pay $10,500.

Plan #2

This plan comes with an authorized user license with an SW subscription. Of course, there is also 12 months support (D54N4LL) to go with it. And it only costs $5,970.

Plan #3

This plan includes a floating user license with a single installation. Also, the plan covers SW subscription as well as 12 months (D59WALL) ) support. This plan costs $10,500.

Plan #4

This is an authorized user license, SW subscription and 12 months support at $5,970.

Plan #5

The plan includes a floating user initial fixed term license, with a single installation. It also comes with SW subscription and 12 months support (D0BHXLL)) at $4,930

Plan #6

It’s for zSeller with a floating initial fixed term license. This single user plan also includes SW subscription as well as 12 months support (D0BHYLL). It costs $4,930.

Technical Details

Outlined below are the technical details for Rational Application Developer software. Let’s jump right in.

Devices Supported

Users can access Rational Application developer on Windows, Linux, and Mac devices.

Language Support

Aside from the usual English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese language support, this software is also available in;

  • Arabic
  • Chinese Simplified
  • Chinese Traditional
  • Czech
  • Hungarian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Polish
  • Russian

Customer Type

This software is ideal for small and large businesses, as wells large enterprises.



Support Details

IBM offers three forms of support to Rational Application Developer software users. These are Email, Phone, and Ticket.

Wrapping Up

According to HG Data, about 3708 companies currently use Rational Application Developer.  As said earlier, it’s an integrated development environment product that assists Java and web application developers in designing, developing, deploying, testing, and analyzing their applications.

Besides, this software also provides editors, wizards, as well as validators for a different amount of technologies. Examples include;

  • Java Platform Enterprise Edition (JAVA EE)
  • Web Services
  • Service Components Architecture (SCA)
  • Extensible Markup Language
  • JAVA EE Connector
  • Web Applications

In addition to this, the IBM Software includes tools to help developers improve their code quality. From the Java profiling tool used to analyze application performance, to the software analysis tool used to identify patterns in application code, this application developer seems like a winner.

On the other hand, a few users are not quite as impressed. Based on user reviews, Rational Application Developer has a steep learning curve and may be buggy or frustrating to use. That said, there are more benefits than drawbacks which makes this software an ideal choice for developers.

So, to answer the question; Rational Application Developer is not only good at what it does, it may actually be the best.