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What’s Up at Nexbridge?



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In a word: git. We had our 18th birthday this year, which makes us legal to have wine and cheese parties (or Beer Bust) in some places. The Nexbridge roots go way back to early SCM, but most of you probably don’t know just how deep. Some early footprints included SCCS on GUARDIAN, and later two of our people, Ron Erlich, and myself co-authored RMS when we were both at what was then Data Design Systems – before Nexbridge was founded (Ron is now at HPE). Later on, we got involved with ITUGLIB and in the CVS port, and most lately the git port on both J-series and L-series. Around the time of the git port, the initial concepts were being developed for our freshly minted NSGit product. Nexbridge has also been involved with process design and implementation at ITUGLIB. Our area of contribution has specifically been around DevOps, with the occasional smattering of porting, including git and the moving parts that it depends on. We feel strongly about giving back and supporting a vibrant and growing NonStop community.

Git gave me, personally, the opportunity to go back to other Nexbridge roots which were very heavily into Business Process Reengineering (BPR), but in a very strange direction. During the NSGit development effort, I was also involved in implementing CNC (Computer Numerical Control) devices and processes in the furniture manufacturing industry. This type of environment, it turns out, very closely mirrors what we do in development on NonStop: prototype, design, test, certify, and put things into production. The real difference is that instead of building business software engines, they were building furniture and cabinets, with life-time warrantees, so component failure is not an option for them. Sounds like a bit like NonStop, right? It surprised me how similar the furniture development process is to the software development. Even more interesting was that the component design in manufacturing has exactly the same branching process that we use in git for software development. But wait, there’s more: I implemented their entire component development practice using git and the BitBucket Cloud version so that my client could share component manufacturing specifications with other divisions and partner companies, which is exactly what happens in the Open Source world. Instead of this being some scary foreign environment, it is familiar and comfortable. In fact, many of the thought processes used in manufacturing, went into NSGit itself. This really solidified my own context around Software Configuration Management (SCM).

Git is showing up in places you would not expect, to manage non-traditional artifacts, like furniture, release scripts, and system configurations, in addition to source code.

In the product world, timing is everything. With git, timing has been really interesting. First, we had the successful port of git to NonStop; second, two major players emerged to support public git repositories for free – GitHub and BitBucket – this encouraged wide adoption of git by the Open Source community. So much so, in fact, that you can find git repositories for huge and increasing numbers of products. For our community, Open Source became acceptable even in large financial institutions. Where git fits in beautifully, is that it provides a transport mechanism for audit information of who did what and why – their footprints – for Open Source code, local developer code, and production fixes changes. This core capability fit perfectly into the software development and manufacturing process accountability. To say that this makes auditors happy is a bit of an understatement.

Late last year, I decided to focus the company on the processes and practices around SCM: specifically, around git, no matter the vertical, including manufacturing, financial, and retail. To make this happen, Nexbridge entered into a partnership with comForte to distribute our NSGit product and services around it and git for NonStop. The synergy of the two companies reflects the critical moving parts that support the git ecosystem on our platform. It also frees up Nexbridge to focus on research and support in the SCM and NonStop worlds to keep the ecosystem relevant into the future.

I am looking forward to my own footprint showing up in your audit trails!