To help enterprises accomplish this, Marina Del Rey, Calif.-based Mergere is offering subscription-based support, training and consulting services for the Apache Software Foundations Maven and Continuum projects, said Winston Damarillo, CEO of Mergere and managing partner of Simula Labs, the open source venture company that spawned Mergere. Damarillo also founded Gluecode Software, an open source Java application server company that IBM acquired last May.
Damarillo formed Gluecode to provide support and services around the Apache Geronimo application server, in competition with JBoss Inc., which provides support and services around the JBoss application server. Now Damarillo is hoping to do the same for the Apache Maven and Continuum projects.
Apache describes Maven as a software project management and comprehension tool. Maven is based on the concept of a POM (project object model) and can manage a projects build, reporting and documentation from a central piece of information. It is essentially a build system to manage software projects in distributed environments.
Continuum is a Maven subproject for delivering a continuous integration server for building Java-based projects. Mergere officials said that in conjunction with the Apache Continuum project, Maven enables application and IT development organizations to better integrate open, licensed and internally-developed source code.
"We address, very specifically, the area of how do you take agile development that has been successful in open source and leverage that in the commercial environment." Damarillo said.
"I think what Mergere is doing is great and very necessary," said Bruce Snyder, a founding member of the Apache Geronimo project, which uses Maven as a build tool. Snyder is based in Denver and is an independent consultant.
"The ability to set up Maven and Continuum is one thing; truly utilizing their power is entirely different," Snyder said. "One key question I always ask clients is whether they want to spend their time building tools or building their core applications surrounding their business logic. Of course, the response is for the latter and this is where Mergere enters the picture. The service and support provided by Mergere offers enterprises the ability to focus even more on their core aptitude instead of the tools necessary to achieve that goal. That being said, there is definite market opportunity there for Mergere. Software builds need to be a top priority and I believe that this is what Maven and Continuum are trying to achieve."
Damarillo said the Mergere offering consists of a suite of three components, Maven, Continuum and the Maven Repository. "These three sets of technology have been out in open source and Mergere wants to take that and add enterprise structure to it," he said. "This will enable enterprises to take advantage of Community-oriented Real-time Engineering."
Damarillo noted that IBM has adopted a practice of open source-style development internally in an effort called Community Source, where engineers across different parts of the company contribute to the development of software for the company.
In addition, Damarillo said Mergeres offerings will help developers take advantage of open source components to produce more modular software and experience higher reuse of software.
"We can also deliver the functionality of software as a service," he said.
The latest version of Maven, Maven 2.0, delivers transparency and control during build processes for Java projects, the company said. Maven 2.0 supports a plug-in environment that promotes software reuse and provides new software DNA mapping capability to track and manage build dependencies across repositories.
Damarillo said the DNA mapping feature can map up to 7,000 components. Meanwhile, Continuum enables continuous integration by automating the testing, packaging, installation and deployment phases of the software build, he said.
Moreover, Damarillo said Maven is used by many developers who use the Eclipse open source development platform. "So well be joining Eclipse," he said, referring to the Eclipse Foundation.
In addition, Damarillo said key members of the Apache Maven team have joined Mergere. Jason van Zyl, the founder of Apache Maven and chair of the Apache Maven Project Management Committee (PMC), is co-founder and chief architect at Mergere. And Brett Porter, another member of the Apache Maven PMC, is director of engineering at Mergere.
"I am a big fan of Maven 1 and Ive already begun to use Maven 2 and Continuum," said Snyder. "Maven provides the multi-project build capabilities that tools like Ant do not. It also causes one to take a hard look at the structure of a project because it only allows a single project to create a single artifact (e.g., jars, zips, etc.). It takes some thought to realize this, but its a huge benefit.
"The result of this is a project structure based more on the directory hierarchy rather than being buried in a giant Ant build descriptor. Instead of utilizing a single directory containing all the source code within a project, Maven encourages many subprojects beneath a parent project. Having the ability to know that all the code for subproject X is located in a subproject X directory is a huge time savings."
In addition, "One of the advantages to Continuum is that it supports Maven 1, Maven 2, Ant and shell scripts for building a project," Snyder said. "This should cover just about any type of build tool that can be called via a command line interface. In addition, Continuum provides an API through which project build status is exposed, projects can be added, etc. There is also an XML-RPC API available that allows Continuum to be controlled remotely."