Tag Archive for 'Subversion Vision'

Enterprise Software is Dead! Long Live Enterprise Software!

Just imagine if someone approached you with a ‘brand new idea’ for CRM software.  It would cost millions-of-dollars, install in 3-6 months and takes a team of consultants to do most of the work.  Of course you would laugh and rightly so after all it’s such a 2001 idea… How times change.

The idea sounds preposterous now because our expectations have changed.  I can get SalesForce.com up and running and the only real skill I need is to know how to enter a credit card number. Everyone is talking about the cloud and trying to cram the word “cloud” into their new company names as we all did with “.com” back in the heady days of 1998 when the dot com typhoon first hit us.  I think it’s very easy to get carried away, just as we did at the millennium, and throw rational business thinking out of the window.  Back then we forgot that you still actually needed to sell and fulfill orders just like any other business – that doesn’t change.  What does change is the relationship the consumer has with the retailer.  I can’t remember the last time that I purchased an airline ticket inside a travel agent’s office for example.

Let’s look at the reasons why enterprises are moving some software to the cloud. A recent IDC study found the top reason was easy-fast deployment.  The other reasons (see picture below) are associated with cost (less in house IT, pay for use, low monthly subscription) or getting latest functionality.  The converse of this is that traditional enterprise software is difficult and slow to deploy, expensive and complex to update.

I really don’t believe that cloud computing is as revolutionary as the industry would have us believe but what it is doing is changing our expectations in the way in which we consume applications.  Applications do not necessarily need to be in the cloud but they must:

  • Be easy to Install (in less than 15 minutes)
  • Have no special skills to get up and running
  • Be cost effective
  • Just work every time

When we designed uberSVN, we did so with these principles in mind.  That’s why we got tens-of-thousands of successful installs of the product in the first couple of months. So what’s next for uberSVN?  Well we believe that enterprise will take a leaf out of the consumer book.  Almost 3 years ago today Apple updated iTunes and in that update was an app store.  That changed the mobile device into a platform where, with just 1 click you can deploy sophisticated applications for just about everything you need and some things you probably don’t.  Again it’s successful because it’s incredibly easy, fast and cost effective.

Just imagine enterprise IT departments could do this with enterprise applications… enter uberApps.

uberSVN was launched in response to demand from enterprises to be empowered to choose ALM tools to meet their business goals be it price or functionality, open source or closed source.

The concept of an app store means that not only can users get incredibly easy automatic updates and simple (single click) installation but also incredibly fast and efficient discovery of applications.  In a software tools context imagine if you wanted a build engine, a wiki and defect tracker.  There is a plethora of open source, closed source, expensive and free products out there to go and research.   Who even knows if they are all going to work together?

uberApps solves that problem.  The applications are certified to work with the uberSVN platform – that means complete integration and testing by our QA team.  How do you know if it’s any good?  First off you can read reviews from other users and then you can try it out.  Installation is only a mouse click away and if you don’t like it or don’t need it then you can simply uninstall just like you do on an iPhone.

There is one critical difference with iPhone apps though.  There is clearly a balance between fast discovery of applications by users and empowerment to deploy them. uberApps models the process that enterprises use today where departments can request products from IT and then go through a standard approval process.  It’s pretty cool because it means that this is centralized rather than having to get a separate arrangement with dozens of different vendors.

uberApps may be groundbreaking but it’s simply modeling the new way that enterprises expect to consume software today. Which one would you choose –  An app store or a stereotypical software sales guy with his Porsche, golf clubs and Armani suit (all of which you’re eventually going to pay for)?

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About David Richards

David is CEO, President and co-founder of WANdisco and has quickly established WANdisco as one of the world’s most promising technology companies. Since co-founding the company in Silicon Valley in 2005, David has led WANdisco on a course for rapid international expansion, opening offices in the UK, Japan and China. David spearheaded the acquisition of Altostor, which accelerated the development of WANdisco’s first products for the Big Data market. The majority of WANdisco’s core technology is now produced out of the company’s flourishing software development base in David’s hometown of Sheffield, England and in Belfast, Northern Ireland. David has become recognised as a champion of British technology and entrepreneurship. In 2012, he led WANdisco to a hugely successful listing on London Stock Exchange (WAND:LSE), raising over £24m to drive business growth. With over 15 years' executive experience in the software industry, David sits on a number of advisory and executive boards of Silicon Valley start-up ventures. A passionate advocate of entrepreneurship, he has established many successful start-up companies in Enterprise Software and is recognised as an industry leader in Enterprise Application Integration and its standards. David is a frequent commentator on a range of business and technology issues, appearing regularly on Bloomberg and CNBC. Profiles of David have appeared in a range of leading publications including the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. Specialties:IPO's, Startups, Entrepreneurship, CEO, Visionary, Investor, ceo, board member, advisor, venture capital, offshore development, financing, M&A

Hot news coming at OSCON 2011 & a bit of politics on the Subversion Dev list

At WANdisco we have been looking forward to OSCON 2011 for quite some time. Anyone who knows our company will know that we invest heavily in open source projects, in particular Apache Subversion, which is central to many of the enterprise services that we provide. Subversion (SVN) is used by a vast array of users for source code management, from individual innovators to multinational blue chip companies. But SVN is just one of countless potentially world-changing open source applications.

So it’s always invigorating to catch up with a broad spectrum of open source luminaries to share experiences, explore new ideas, draw inspiration and share mutual aspiration. This highlight of the open source calendar is being held from July 25-29 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

This year we are even more excited about OSCON because we have some big announcements of our own. We believe that these announcements in the coming days will dramatically change the landscape of how developer tools are purchased, deployed and used.

In late April we released our own freely available open ALM platform – uberSVN – which has transformed Subversion into an extensible platform, empowering software developers by enabling them to use a wider choice of toolsets, which can be combined to best fit specific business requirements.  The reviews, across the board, have been fantastic; I keep telling people that I have never been involved in such a successful launch.

Also incorporating social coding into Subversion for the first time, uberSVN has clocked up tens of thousands of installations in less than three months and rave reviews keep coming, usually highlighting the ease of installation and excellent usability that the platform provides.

Those attending OSCON 2011 have a great opportunity to win $2,500 by downloading uberSVN from a USB stick being handed out at the conference. We are pretty certain that you will be impressed with the platform whether you win the cash or not! Failing that you can grab one of our cool t-shirts or stickers.

uberSVN was a factor in WANdisco being included in the Red Herring Top 100 North America list and we have been working hard to ensure that the platform keeps up with the expectation of the massive SVN user community and, working on feedback from Subversion users we are now able to reveal some major new enhancements.

Software developers have been keen to find quicker and easier ways to deploy the tools they need and considerably reduce costs at the same time. And WANdisco has a solution…

Interested? We’ll be revealing full details very soon so keep your eyes peeled!

In addition to this major development we have a major partnership announcement looming large on the horizon too! As you would expect from WANdisco we will be hooking up with an organization regarded as the best at what they do. We pride ourselves on the quality, functionality and reliability of the services and products that we supply and we partner with companies who are held in the same regard by users of SVN. The announcement we have later in the week will also herald another significant leap forward for the capabilities of uberSVN!

We look forward to interacting with conference goers at OSCON and open source users around the world that are increasingly discovering the power that uberSVN delivers. Make sure you keep up with our upcoming announcements on this groundbreaking platform and its associated products including training, consulting services and support.

Finally, a bit of politics from the Subversion open source project.  As you may be aware we committed to improving branching & merging several months ago.  With Subversion 1.7 close to release we have been working for several weeks with Andy Singleton and his team at Assembla.  Andy has some interesting ideas that we have been exploring to “fix Subversion merge”.  Frankly the reaction of some and I mean some on the Subversion Dev list is, to put it mildly, disappointing.  If someone new appears with fresh ideas why should the first reaction be a passive-aggressive “no you can’t do that”.  It’s strange how the naysayers all derive from the same place as Harold Evans once famously said of journalism “it is simpler to sound off than it is to find out. It is more elegant to pontificate than it is to sweat.”  Well we are going to sweat!  We will not be derailed or distracted and our core Subversion guys like the idea so we are planning to build a prototype.  This is something we see as vital for Subversion users. Watch this space!

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About David Richards

David is CEO, President and co-founder of WANdisco and has quickly established WANdisco as one of the world’s most promising technology companies. Since co-founding the company in Silicon Valley in 2005, David has led WANdisco on a course for rapid international expansion, opening offices in the UK, Japan and China. David spearheaded the acquisition of Altostor, which accelerated the development of WANdisco’s first products for the Big Data market. The majority of WANdisco’s core technology is now produced out of the company’s flourishing software development base in David’s hometown of Sheffield, England and in Belfast, Northern Ireland. David has become recognised as a champion of British technology and entrepreneurship. In 2012, he led WANdisco to a hugely successful listing on London Stock Exchange (WAND:LSE), raising over £24m to drive business growth. With over 15 years' executive experience in the software industry, David sits on a number of advisory and executive boards of Silicon Valley start-up ventures. A passionate advocate of entrepreneurship, he has established many successful start-up companies in Enterprise Software and is recognised as an industry leader in Enterprise Application Integration and its standards. David is a frequent commentator on a range of business and technology issues, appearing regularly on Bloomberg and CNBC. Profiles of David have appeared in a range of leading publications including the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. Specialties:IPO's, Startups, Entrepreneurship, CEO, Visionary, Investor, ceo, board member, advisor, venture capital, offshore development, financing, M&A

Our Initial Thoughts

Where did February go?  As a resident of Massachusetts, parts of me (namely my back, shoulders and arms) are quite happy to see those weeks get crossed off the calendar.  Since my last posting here, I’ve not only been shoveling snow though.   Two separate Subversion Live events were held,first in San Jose and then two weeks later in London.

Both days were extremely fruitful for those of us from WANdisco that attended and I hope our attendees felt the same way.   The presentations in the various tracks were well attended, very professional and well received. A great source of information exchange was the roundtable sessions at the conclusion of each day. But what I always find most useful at events like this are the less formal conversations that occur prior to a session, or during a break, or over lunch.  Not surprisingly, inquiries about what our committers were looking to do with regard to enhancing Subversion merge support was the most frequent topic raised and the subsequent discussions and feedback we received was extremely valuable.

So with that information in hand, here’s what is being initially targeted:

  • Better handling of renames across merges
  • partially automated merges
  • Faster merges – improving performance of merge operations
  • Enhancements to importing to handle 3rd Party / Vendor source code

This is really just an initial list. The team is actually still quite busy at the moment working on the final aspects of Subversion 1.7.  But we are also still in active discussions about other use cases that have been raised and additional ideas may still be formulated and as those become more concrete, I’ll be quite happy to write about them here.

By the way, if you are still interested in attending Subversion Live, February’s weather pattern here in the Northeastern U.S. has accommodated you! Our Boston event scheduled for early February has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 22. The same great agenda awaits but thankfully, the snow may not. I hope to see many of you in Boston and I’d welcome the chance to listen and learn from your experience.

– Rob

P.S.  I really did have to shovel a lot, including my roof!

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About rbudas

Rob Budas has over 25 years of software industry experience, with the last 15 years focused on the Software Configuration Management sector. Prior to joining WANdisco, Rob had worked at IBM Rational for 8 years where he was a Sr. Product Manager for Rational ClearCase. He has held various development, technical sales and product management roles throughout his career. Rob holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Communication Science from the University of Michigan.

A Wealth of Information

As I stated in my last entry, there are many rich sources of feedback captured from the Subversion community.  The most obvious source of data is the Subversion project’s issue tracker, which contains a lot of the issues that will drive future updates to Subversion.  But there is a wealth of other data to look at to find what may be hindering users of Subversion.   The Subversion mailing lists and community sites can be particularly helpful in spotting recent trends, frustrations or simply common questions that continue to arise.

But one immediate source to focus our attention on is a couple of feedback sessions that were held about a year ago and hosted by Hyrum Wright and C. Michael Pilato.  The most interesting comment came from Mike’s session:

* Improved branching and merging: Everybody loves merge tracking
  and tree conflicts.  That is, when they don't hate it.
  Subversion should be smarter, and *must* learn to gracefully deal
  with renames.

Needless to say, we are already targeting better ways to handle merges across renames but it never hurts to see that reiterated in the summary of a feedback session such as this.

With respect to merge tracking in general, there are already a well known set of requirements that were captured by the project prior to the improvements delivered in Subversion 1.5.  These are a good reference point to start from but they do reflect the state of the project essentially at 1.4 and we want to update the use cases and capture relevant new use cases.  And while merging is a primary target for continued improvement, it is not the sole focus of this scoping exercise.  By no means are we limiting our attention to just this one topic.

We will continue to review both customer feedback and also the more specific issues captured in the issue tracker as we compile a prioritized list of targeted improvements. Beyond all of this data, I’m working with developers that have been involved in the project for years and their experience and instincts may prove to be as valuable source of ideas as any.

More to come…

– Rob

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About rbudas

Rob Budas has over 25 years of software industry experience, with the last 15 years focused on the Software Configuration Management sector. Prior to joining WANdisco, Rob had worked at IBM Rational for 8 years where he was a Sr. Product Manager for Rational ClearCase. He has held various development, technical sales and product management roles throughout his career. Rob holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Communication Science from the University of Michigan.

The Work Begins

As many reading this may already be aware, WANdisco has announced our intentions to focus our efforts towards continued enhancements to Subversion’s support for branching and merging. As our committers can see the end in sight for their efforts on Subversion 1.7, we are beginning to decide where next to direct our energy.

There already exists a wealth of data in various locations inside and outside of the project that capture good ideas for continuing the improvements to merging in Subversion. What we are not looking to do is to come up with many more ideas on the topic. Instead, we want to review and prioritize what is already out there and  then decide where we can best apply our resources for biggest benefit to the Subversion community.

The work we are doing now is to review the issues, capture the use cases and then do the hard work of applying our committers expertise towards resolving these issues. This process will very likely be incremental. Delivering new enhancements will provide benefits for many of us but it also allows for a new feedback loop to show us what remains to be done and where the most benefits lie for the next set of efforts. What we won’t be doing is trying to do something grandiose that could result in elongated development cycles and delayed delivery of some solutions.

The work has really just begun. We’re now rolling up our sleeves and diving into the work.  It should be fun!

I am planning to blog regularly about the process – your feedback is always welcome.

– Rob

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About rbudas

Rob Budas has over 25 years of software industry experience, with the last 15 years focused on the Software Configuration Management sector. Prior to joining WANdisco, Rob had worked at IBM Rational for 8 years where he was a Sr. Product Manager for Rational ClearCase. He has held various development, technical sales and product management roles throughout his career. Rob holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Communication Science from the University of Michigan.

Shaking-up Subversion by Listening to the User Community and then Committing to do the Work.

Today we announced the radical step to overhaul the Subversion project by actually fixing and improving several areas that Subversion users have been crying out for.

I know that this will generate criticism from fans of distributed version control (GIT) because some of the issues we are going to tackle are the stick with which they beat Subversion. I am sure we will face cynicism from some factions of the Subversion project, but in some cases this is because of commercial interests that are dependent on the perception that they are the ones developing Subversion.

As the saying goes: you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

We are not doing this for direct commercial reasons. We are doing this to protect the future of Subversion. We are doing this because we care. We are doing this because we need to. We are doing this because it is the right thing to do.

I’m sure there are lots of questions. Here is a selection of those I have tried to answer:

What Does This Mean?  Are You Forking Subversion?

At this point, NO. We don’t believe that it is necessary. What we are doing is committing our resources to develop several features that both WANdisco and our user community believe are critical to both the long and short-term welfare of the Subversion project.

Hang on a Minute! Didn’t the Community Just Announce A Road Map?

Yes they did, but that’s pretty much all that happened (and that really pisses us off.) The commit logs (code committed by developers to the project) tell the real story. We are not happy with the volume, speed or participation on the project right now. Blogging, or answering questions on user lists are important, but so is writing source code. We also believe it’s unhelpful when certain unscrupulous committers decide to commit trivial changes in large files to simply get their stats up. That behavior has no place in any open source project; it’s a bad form and wastes everyone’s valuable time.

The requirements that we are committing to build, namely merging and branching, are not new.  Many of these have been in the mainstream and documented since 2007. I find it more than a little annoying that, given their importance to many Subversion users; these areas have not been tackled.

Yes, they are difficult. Yes, they will take time.  That is why a corporation needs to step up to the plate and commit to deliver.

What Does WANdisco Get From This?

We have a thriving business.  Almost all of our customers are Subversion users and, frankly, we’re biased. A bit like Henry Ford’s choice of car color, that’s how we see SCM: You can have any SCM so long as it’s Subversion. Do the math.  It is really simple: The more [happy] Subversion users – the more potential customers for WANdisco and, yes, then we make money.

Who Attended This Summit at the WANdisco Offices?

We invited in the region of 10 companies, representing the largest implementations in the world, some with up to 40,000 users. We selected the organizations based on a very significant vested interest and, due to their complexity; any problems or issues would be magnified exponentially. Of course, everyone had their own special requests that were very specific to their situation but there was also a common theme: branching and merging must improve.

I can’t name all those that attended but they are companies of similar standing to Intel and Juniper Networks.

I Would Like to Help, Can I?

Absolutely!

Hyrum Wright is managing this process he can be contacted at Hyrum.Wright(at)  WANdisco [dot] com. We will work with ANYONE.   In fact, we would prefer that this be a community effort. Time is of the essence. Let’s not waste time in endless debate.  Let’s act together.

Subversion is a Community. How is this Working with a Community?

Ultimately, the community will decide if this work will be accepted. When Google decided that httpv2 (awful name and description by the way) was a good idea they developed it and presented it to the community. It was not a fait accompli .  It made sense, so it was accepted. In this case, the requirements have been out there for several years. Subversion users have been tweeting, blogging and complaining about branching and merging. We held a summit to discuss what needed to be done with the Subversion users.  This was their number 1 requirement! We are doing this for the wider Subversion community.

Are You Guys Trying to Take Over The Subversion Project?

Subversion is an Apache project, ideally it should not be inside a corporation.

After This, Then What?

We are still calibrating the requirements, but one hypothesis may be to completely upgrade the backend of Subversion. This is definitely not the end – we still have lots more to do.

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About David Richards

David is CEO, President and co-founder of WANdisco and has quickly established WANdisco as one of the world’s most promising technology companies. Since co-founding the company in Silicon Valley in 2005, David has led WANdisco on a course for rapid international expansion, opening offices in the UK, Japan and China. David spearheaded the acquisition of Altostor, which accelerated the development of WANdisco’s first products for the Big Data market. The majority of WANdisco’s core technology is now produced out of the company’s flourishing software development base in David’s hometown of Sheffield, England and in Belfast, Northern Ireland. David has become recognised as a champion of British technology and entrepreneurship. In 2012, he led WANdisco to a hugely successful listing on London Stock Exchange (WAND:LSE), raising over £24m to drive business growth. With over 15 years' executive experience in the software industry, David sits on a number of advisory and executive boards of Silicon Valley start-up ventures. A passionate advocate of entrepreneurship, he has established many successful start-up companies in Enterprise Software and is recognised as an industry leader in Enterprise Application Integration and its standards. David is a frequent commentator on a range of business and technology issues, appearing regularly on Bloomberg and CNBC. Profiles of David have appeared in a range of leading publications including the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. Specialties:IPO's, Startups, Entrepreneurship, CEO, Visionary, Investor, ceo, board member, advisor, venture capital, offshore development, financing, M&A