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Poll Result: Enterprise Repository Managers Are Used for Many Projects

Posted by editor on February 12, 2010 at 10:44 AM PST

I suppose that title doesn't say a whole lot, but it was the best thing I could think of as a brief phrase for describing the results of this past week's poll, without saying something totally misleading. Take a look at the breakdown of the 312 votes that were cast, and you'll probably understand what I mean:

Does your company use an enterprise repository manager for development?

  • 41% (129 votes) - Yes, we use Maven
  • 13% (39 votes) - Yes, but not Maven
  • 18% (56 votes) - Unfortunately, no
  • 8% (25 votes) - Our projects don't require a repository manager
  • 16% (49 votes) - What's a repository manager?
  • 4% (14 votes) - Other

So, how would you summarize that in a handful of words? Say that a majority of companies use enterprise repository managers? Well, since this isn't a scientific poll, we can't really use these results to state such a conclusion. All we really can say is that, among the 312 people who chose to vote, more than half work for companies that employ an enterprise repository manager for their projects. That statement, of course, is far too long for a blog title!

Still, while polls are not scientific, it's interesting to think about the results. The first two response options were perhaps truncated a bit too much. Explicitly stated, the first option would have been "Yes, we use an enterprise repository manager, and we have Maven repositories" and the second option would have been "Yes, we use an enterprise repository manager, and our repositories are not Maven repositories." But those long statements would not have looked very good on the front page of I think most people understood that the point of the options was to distinguish between whether your project has Maven repositories or another type of repository.

The voting suggests that 77% of people's projects that utilize a repository manager also utilize Maven repositories. Another interesting number is the 18% who voted "Unfortunately, no" -- indicating that they fully understand the benefits of a repository manager, but their company or project isn't currently utilizing one. A total of 24% of people reported that their projects don't require a repository manager, or that they don't know what a repository manager is. My guess is that most of the people who selected these options work on less complex projects, that have fewer integrated components, than the full-scale enterprise systems that many of us work on.

There were two comments. keeskuip asked "Where's 'No'?":

Why is there not a simple "No"?

fabriziogiudici responded "I think that it makes sense":

I think that it makes sense to have a "no" with a rationale. "Our project doesn't need..." actually means "no", motivating it with Maven being a useless increase in complexity in that case.

I actually did intend the "Our projects don't require a repository manager" to be the simple "no" response. Between that response and "Unfortunately, no" I was trying to distinquish between people whose projects don't utilize a repository manager even though it would be beneficial if they did use one, and people whose projects are sufficiently basic that the complexity of having a repository manager is unwarranted. Looking at those two results, among the people who know what a repository manager is and whose projects also don't utilize one, 69% of the developers wish their projects used a repository manager.

This implies to me that we need to get some VP's of Development educated on the reduction in productivity they're causing by not coordinating their project dependencies management and builds using up-to-date technology. This doesn't have to be a manual process, today, where each individual developer, or individual project team, reaches out to wherever for their libraries, resulting in multiple and uncoordinated versions of the libraries come final build and integration time. As John Smart says in his article Maven Repository Managers for the Enterprise, working a big project, where you have lots of code, lots of component interaction, without a repository manager is

like using a kayak without paddles: you'll get there eventually without them, but your life will be much easier if you are properly equipped.

John is specifically talking about Maven repositories and Maven repository managers, but I think the statement applies any componentized project that has a large, complex code base.

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Our latest Feature Article is Maven Repository Managers for the Enterprise, by John Smart. We're also featuring Jeff Friesen's Reading Newsfeeds in JavaFX with FeedRead, in which Jeff demonstrates how to apply JavaFX's RSS and Atom newsfeed capabilities to create a snazzy little JavaFX app that can run stand-alone or in a browser.

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