Upgrading to IBM Rational Rhapsody 8.3 and Compatibility with the RXF

On December 4, 2017 IBM released Rhapsody 8.3. This release contains a lot of fixes and some changes. It is good to take a look at these changes to see what impact they have on your development environment.

iFix 2 Absolutely Required

Major changes in Rhapsody’s repository data, see next section, unfortunately introduced some problems that will be fixed again with the iFix 2 for Rhapsody 8.3 (32-bit).

Please take care when upgrading to Rhapsody 8.3 to directly also install iFix2.

If your existing model repository is opened and saved with Rhapsody 8.3 without the iFix 2 you might even loose parts of your model implementations. With 8.3 iFix 2 you are safe, as far as we have tested it.

File Format and Extensions

To allow a better integration in the Jazz platform, IBM needed to change the format that Rhapsody uses to store its models. Until now that format was propriety (but working quite well). IBM changed that to an XML format. To indicate the change they changed the file extension (like Microsoft did in Word and Excel, they went from .doc and .xls to .docx and .xlsx). Rhapsody files now also have an x behind it (.rpyx, .sbsx, etc).

This seems like a minor issue but is deadly when you want to keep your historical information in your configuration management (CM) system.

Some CM systems allow you to change the name of files but you have to do that by hand. Not a small job if you have large models.

Not new

In fact, the new database format was already there, it was just optional in version 8.2.1. It was there in the release notes but it was not really noticed. To be clear: this is a useful change. But it is a complex one. It takes time to solve all the pieces of the puzzle.


How can differences between proprietary and XML based Rhapsody files be explored?

The good new: Rhapsody’s DiffMerge tool offers support for both file formats, new and old. You can still compare model contents over the file format change.

The bad news: it only saves as .<file>x. So it will always convert the old format into the new one. But: you can still save in the old format with a bit more work:

Save As

The question that comes up immediately is: Can I still save in the old format. Yes you can! Like all (since 7.4) Rhapsody versions you can do “File”, “Save As” and then go back two Database versions. We do not have an official statement from IBM Rational yet but chances are high this option will be gone after two more releases.

When to update?

When setting up a new project or converting a non-versioned model (not in CM) it makes sense to start it based on the new file format directly. If you have your current model in CM, you should carefully plan when and how to migrate. Feel free to contact us and discuss the best upgrade solution for your development team.

Rhapsody 8.3 with the RXF Frameworks

Our existing Realtime eXecution Frameworks (RXF) available on the Willert Download Portal (https://download.willert.de/) can be used together with Rhapsody 8.3 iFix 2. However, RXF versions that have been tested and released with an earlier Rhapsody version than 8.1.5 need the applied JDK workaround documented on: https://download.willert.de/rhapsody-8-1-5-support/

RXF-Cert is Rhapsody Version Specific

RXF-Cert frameworks (prepared for safety critical software development certification) are an exception, as they have been documented, tested and prepared for certification for one specific Rhapsody version. Please contact us and discuss the Rhapsody upgrade path for your specific certification environment if you want to migrate to Rhapsody 8.3 iFix 2.

Rhapsody 32- vs. 64-Bit

Until today we highly recommended only installing Rhapsody in the 32-bit edition. The main reason was a limitation in features like roundtripping, reverse engineering etc.

With Rhapsody 8.3 iFix 2 this has changed. You may now also work with the 64-bit edition of Rhapsody and its iFix 2 (64-bit). However the Willert Installer (Setup.exe as part of an RXF release) needed to learn how to handle Rhapsody 64-bit installations. All RXF releases after 2018-03-13 can handle Rhapsody 64-bit installations out-of-the-box. For older RXF releases you need to replace the old Setup.exe with the one you can download here: