As some of you may know, I regularly holiday just outside Roundstone in
If you haven’t yet been to the west of
From ground level, the profusion of little stone walls can appear as a complex pattern, perhaps even fractal-like. But viewed from a
I came back to
Well, also while I was away in
- Cloudsmith keeps meta-data about assemblies of software components.
- Software components can be sourced from any number of public and private repositories worldwide. Of course, components from private repositories are only available to those duly authorized to use them.
- Cloudsmith does not store the components themselves: but it knows where they are worldwide and how it can access them in the appropriate repository formats.
- A software publisher – an individual, project, or company – can register one or more specific software component assemblies with Cloudsmith.
- A software consumer – an individual, project, or company – can search and browse for available assemblies; and can readily download and install any particular one – “materialize” in Cloudsmith-speak – onto his local machine (or indeed another machine if appropriately authorized).
In effect, Cloudsmith is building a global map of software components (in various forms: source, binary, versioned, and optionally with test suites, documentation and license agreements). Professional software developers - individually or in a community project or working on a commercial offering – can publish interesting new assemblies of components, sourced across one or more repositories.
One of the neatest capabilities of Cloudsmith is a Cloudlink. A Cloudlink is simply a URL: it can be sent in an email, or given in a blog or whatever. When a Cloudlink is clicked, the software assembly which it denotes is then materialized without further intervention, onto the local machine. This gives a very simple download mechanism: publish a Cloudlink, and anyone clicking on it within a recent-vintage web browser can download your software. In practice, when a Cloudlink is clicked, behind the scenes the Cloudsmith site is contacted, and it resolves the differences between the assembly of software components identified by the Cloudlink, and those already available on the local machine, and then fetches (as appropriate from various repositories worldwide) and downloads the missing components.
Cloudlinking in turn enables “virtual distributions”. A software publisher can create a virtual distro, whose components reside across multiple (eg open source) projects and repositories: materializing a virtual distro requires nothing more than a web browser.
If your project is looking for a simple way to make its software available to the worldwide community; if your project is itself using software from multiple sources and multiple projects; if you want to keep your community regularly updated with patches and extensions; if you want to manage installation and distribution processes; then Cloudsmith should be worth taking a look.
Software components, and configurations and assemblies of them, are very malleable. It is relatively easy to define new interesting configurations, as well as new components. Looking at the world wide activity, and the multitude of repositories and projects, it is easy to become overwhelmed. It is possible to detect patterns, and different styles of construction, but sometimes it can be very confusing to see overall themes, to understand how other people are using configurations, and what changes have occurred.
I’m reminded of
Cloudsmith is giving clarity to the construction of assemblies of software components.