Monday, June 18, 2012
The Feds Move towards Open Availability of Code
We've all heard GIT is good. Well, if you are a developer, presumably you have. GIT is a relatively new kind of source code repository, with a key difference in that it is decentralized. Imagine your developers are on the road, and develop on theirs laptops. It's a reasonable business case that you want source control so that developers can roll back. With older options, such as Subversion, there's a problem: The Code Repository may be in a location that is unreachable, so the mobile developer cannot commit. If a copy of code is needed, the only option is to copy/paste it. With GIT, the local copy is a repository, and one can commit to it and get all benefits of source control. When the on-the-road developer regain connectivity to the main repository, he/she can commit against it. Now the federal government is moving towards this approach. Early federal government GitHub adopters include the Federal Communications Commission, NASA and others. The Open Government Platform, a joint open source project between the United States and India, recently made the Data.gov code source available at GitHub. Other federal agencies who have established official accounts, but have yet to contribute, include the U.S. Geological Survey and USA.gov. “We decided to use GitHub as our code repository for a couple of reasons. GitHub and Git are familiar to a lot of developers, and GitHub has a growing community,” said Data.gov Chief Software Architect Chris Musialek. “Git makes it really easy to ‘fork’ someone’s code and provide enhancements back to the project, which encourages participation from a wider audience. It also has a nice interface on top of Git with additional, useful features such as the ability to view committed code and customize your project’s page.” Read more about this early adopter approach.