New Perforce Tool Gives Developers What They Love And IT What It Needs

Perforce introduced a new product today in conjunction with GitLab called GitSwarm, which allows developers to work with their code and only their code, while giving IT a centralized view of the entire codebase — essentially allowing everyone to have their cake and eat it too.

“What makes sense is combining two workflows where developers can live in the Git ecosystem, simultaneously with a centralized workflow that Perforce is good at,” Chris Hoover, global VP of marketing at Perforce told TechCrunch.

In a typical company, developers work on a part of the larger codebase. Working in a tool like GitHub, they can download their code and all the pieces they need to work with it, which is fine until you reach a certain size, at which point GitHub begins to break down. Companies with the scale of Facebook and Google want the elegance of a single code base, and their developers want to work in the environments they want to work in. And developers often like to work in GitHub.

It’s a problem people have been trying to solve.

As for the companies, as hard as it may to believe, many organizations including Facebook, Google and gaming companies like to work with a single monolithic repository, and there’s actually a good reason for it. If you start breaking down the repository into pieces based on projects, much of the shared code gets repeated endlessly, which is a waste of storage space. More importantly though, as the core pieces get updated, they don’t always make it into every mini repository, which can be a huge problem, as you might imagine.

For example, if you’re a gaming company, you want every game to have the latest updates to the core gaming engine. If you break down the repository by games, there’s always the chance that not every game gets that core update.

Up until now, that meant creating a compromise solution where you try to marry the pieces together, says Sytse Sijbrandij, CEO at GitLab.

Today’s announcement is meant to give all parties exactly what they need. Developers get the distributed workflow they love in GitHub and IT can manage the project in a single repository in Perforce — a solution that is designed to make everyone happy.

As for the partnership, Perforce was looking to build something around Git, when it came across GitLab and its open source project. It made much more sense to tap into the community there with 800 contributing developers than to build something from scratch, Christopher Seiwald, founder and CEO at Perforce explained.

“We wound up talking to him and he wanted to partner with us,” Seiwald said.