This is a game changer for all developers with the world’s first universal system for managing binary code, also known as an artifact repository manager
The computer language of binary files, which consist of lines of zeroes and other digits, are undoubtedly hard to keep track of. For any developer, this is a common problem since the human readable code they create an app in, such as Python, must then be converted into binary files to become operable.
Santa Clara and Israel-based artifactory repository service provider JFrog, which stores all kinds of binary code, announced recently the roll out of their newest upgrade: a universal system capable of handling all forms of binary artifacts. The company claims that they are the first to offer a system that can support all types of software packages and technologies.
JFrog’s service is set to be available for enterprise level clients, coming with an extensive list of integrations for a wide range of popular build and integration tools to help developers work faster and smarter. Among the features included are integrations with Docker products, Black Duck, Maven, RubyGems, Bower, npm, and Git LFS. A complete list of features can be viewed here.
The service is available to clients as either a cloud or an on premises software license.
What purposes do artifactory repositories serve?
In understanding the basics of the digital product lifecycle and where the artifactory aids in the process, it is worth starting at the beginning. When a developer writes a new app, they use a source code in whichever language the project requires, be it Java, Python or another of the myriad of programming languages. This code is human readable, operating on a language and structure decipherable to the trained eye.
However, for it to become operable it must be built into the computer language of binary files that anyone not from the Matrix would be hard pressed to comprehend: Think of an abyss of zeros and other digits. They then use continuous integration tools like Jenkins to convert their original source codes into binary. These binary codes are then stored and deployed as the products are built and changes are made.
On a simplistic level, services like JFrog are essential to the technology sector due to the fact that today, the quantity of codes required to keep apps and programs up to date has reached such a massive scale, that it would be impossible to manage otherwise. Whereas 20 years ago when new binary codes were updated monthly or even quarterly, in the past 10 years they are now being sent out on a daily basis, with continuous development resulting in new changes that have to be available and tracked across teams in different locations. Players like Docker have had an enormous impact on the industry, with updates constantly creating hundreds if not thousands of new binaries every day.
One of the key challenges in keeping track of all of these binaries is knowing exactly which one is, and what is relevant to the developer that is working on them. As other team members beyond the developers join the process, they too need to know how to find the right material.
This is where artifactory repositories like JFrog can step in and act as a solid location for storing the binary codes. Moreover, they add specific meta data that automatically helps users filter through the mass of binaries to locate the correct version, using their native Artifactory query language.
Revolutionizing the industry
In speaking with JFrog’s VP of Marketing Adam Frankl, he explains their breakthrough is their ability to, “build a system that is flexible enough to handle all kinds of binaries,” going on to say that they have, “expanded their database so that it can handle any type of development artifact, whether it is a container like Docker or derived from another kind of packaging.”
While Frankl says that it may have appeared that a universal service like this may appear obvious, only recently has the technology caught up to allow them to make its deployment a reality. That said, they are the only player in the industry to be offering this level of service.
He notes that their customers played a significant role in pushing the company to develop this new solution. He cites the fact that their users are constantly utilizing multiple technologies to develop their products, making a universal platform a necessity. By having a singular storage location, users can now work faster, saving wasted time sifting through various repositories for their binaries.
Stacking up to the competition
In looking at the other actors in the field of artifactory management, Frankl points to the Docker Trusted Registry as their most direct competitors. While JFrog works closely with Docker’s technology within their own context, the Trusted Registry provides a service that allows their clients to manage their code that acts in the same capacity as JFrog’s product.
The key differentiator between the two is that JFrog’s universal repository allows their users to work with all kinds of technologies, not limiting them to the tools available within Docker’s ecosystem.
Co-founders Shlomi Ben Haim, Frederic Simon, and Yoav Landman launched JFrog in 2008 and to date have raised $11.5 million in three rounds of funding, the most recent being a $7 million Series B round in July 2014.
As noted above, it seems incredulous that a universal repository is only now coming to market. With speed and efficiency marking key factors for developers and the teams working with them to deliver high quality software, this latest one-stop-shop version from JFrog is likely to have an explosive impact on productivity, which should make a lot of people very happy.