Software is everywhere. As it becomes more pervasive, businesses face increasing pressure to deploy faster and with higher quality. But the largest development teams — working on the most sophisticated products — are vastly under-served.

Their development environments are complex. They’re big, and they’re nasty. They have challenges in their dev pipelines that smaller teams don’t, like:

  • Massive scale
  • Complex componentized development
  • Multiple, parallel releases
  • Huge monolithic codebases
  • Regulatory, audit, and security requirements

Learn How Perforce Plans to Address These Challenges

Brad Hart knows version control inside and out. He has more than 20 years of experience helping large organizations solve their toughest development challenges.

His experience includes co-founding AccuRev (another version control system) and working at IBM Rational ClearCase. We’re capitalizing on his experience to refine and improve how Helix Core supports customers with complex systems.

In this webinar you'll:

  • Meet Brad Hart, the new CTO for version control
  • Hear his vision for version control in 2019
  • Learn about changes to better support sophisticated teams

Questions From the Webinar

If you listen to the webinar, the question and answer portion starts at about 19:20. We answered the first four questions during the webinar. (The answers below take the gist of those answers; they are not verbatim.)

All questions asked during the webinar — and their answers — are listed below, regardless of whether they were answered during the webinar.

What are you doing in Helix Core to enable component-based development?

Numerous companies already use Helix Core to support component-based development (CBD). Typically, customers use a scripted layer on top of streams, managed Bill of Material (BOM) files, as well as customized client/workspace views to manage their various components.

Moving forward, we will enhance streams to natively support complex componentized development. The “configuration” will be treated the same way code is. A developer can customize/test new versions of the configuration, have it go through a code review process, and eventually have it submitted to the parent stream so others see the changes.

A stream’s configuration will be able to reference other streams. In effect, you will have streams tied to individual components, collections of components, and projects containing the components and sub-components.

Our artists create a ton of data, but they need a simpler workflow. Any plans to focus on non-coders?

Absolutely. Helix Core is by far the best solution on the market today for managing large digital assets. Even so, in the realm of digital asset management (DAM), we recognize that the usage patterns and needs of these users is different than pure coders.

We will be focusing on delivering a targeted experience based on these users’ needs — for example, checkout/checkin, view history, and revert to old version. This will help us make sure we are integrated with the right 3rd party tools to support these users. 

How does Git fit into the Perforce strategy?

Git is a core part of our strategy. Almost every large enterprise we deal with has a business need that involves Git. For example, they may be working with an off-shore team that uses Git. Or they may be importing OSS code from GitHub. Or they may have teams who don’t have the enterprise needs around scale and performance that the rest of the organization does.

We want to support these use cases by providing a single source of truth across Helix Core code and Git. This dramatically improves security and compliance requirements, and it improves the speed of the overall build process and geographically distributed development performance by leveraging Helix Core’s replication capabilities.

We’re currently using ClearCase in this type of environment. Do you have migration tools? What’s the process like?

Absolutely. We typically convert from ClearCase in one of two manners.

Option one: Baseline import. In this model, we work with you to identify important baselines to convert. These would typically be related to releases that you have shipped, important milestones, and the tip of active branches. This allows you to recreate, bit for bit, any important build/configuration from ClearCase within Helix Core.

Option two: Detailed full history import. In this model, all versions on all branches are mapped into Helix Core, including comments. We have done this many, many times, and we have the experience and tools to do this seamlessly.

Our consultants will work with you to determine the best conversion method for you.

The following questions were not answered during the webinar.

Can you give any details on your plans for helping support distributed teams?

A core focus of ours is to support massive scale for geographically distributed development. With our world-class replication capabilities, we can ensure that users at remote locations enjoy the same level of performance as the base location.

Our replication capability is used to dramatically improve performance for build servers by federating the server infrastructure, and it also has dramatic performance advantage for remote teams.

What’s the roadmap for P4DTG?

Helix Defect Tracking Gateway (or P4DTG) provides better visibility and control over your defect tracking process by easily sharing information from Helix Core projects to your external defect tracking system.

We will continue to prioritize the critical issues that impact our customers who use P4DTG. If you have an issue that you have run into, please reach out to our support team.

Do you have a partner program where we can get involved as a fellow technology vendor?

Absolutely. Contact Wrishi Basu ([email protected]) if you are interested in this type of program.

Are there any timelines set for delivering this functionality?

Stay tuned! We’re in the process of working through the design and requirements to support what I discussed in this webinar. From there, we will begin the prioritization and planning process. 

Most of the attraction to Git is the workflow and the belief that Perforce looks dated. What’s being done to keep clients and workflows up to date with server features AND to make the user-facing workflow more attractive?

We are in the process of making changes to P4V to make it more attractive. We’re doing this by creating a modern dark theme, as well as constantly looking to bridge the gap between the CLI and P4V.

We’re also investigating what a simpler experience might look like for users who don’t have the complex needs of a developer. This would involve either a different mode of the current client or a new client all together. The intent is to focus on the workflows required by modern users. 

Do you have any mechanisms to manage binary files across multiple dev and release branches when they can’t be merged? These are changes that should end up back on the mainline, but if there are changes on more than one branch, it means conflicts and loss of work.

Yes. The p4 lock command does exactly that. If the information about lock doesn’t solve your issue, please contact support.

Even though small project teams are not your target audience, will you be driving Helix Core to be as easy to use as a SaaS solution — even in complex multi-server environments?

This is definitely a topic we’re looking into. We want to make it a simple experience for all Helix Core users to get up and running, and cloud is a factor in that for sure. We’d love your input. Please contact Brent Schiestl ([email protected] ) with your feedback. He is the PM who is looking into this.

Will there be an "insider/beta tester program" for us to provide quick feedback as the mission statement is achieved?

Absolutely. I’m a big believer in forming Technical Advisory Boards for complex projects, so we get customer feedback as early in the process as possible. As we start our planning process, we will reach out to see who’s interested in being part of this program for the various key topics. Glad you’re interested!

Is Microsoft DevOps 2019 extensions/marketplace on your road map?

We’re keeping a close eye on Azure DevOps and to see how it ties in with our target market. To date, there hasn’t been much interest from our customer base, but please reach out to Wrishi Basu ([email protected]), who manages Partners and Integrations, with your thoughts so we fully understand your needs.