Our distinguished competition took a puzzling position of “Imagine there’s no versions”.
At Cloudsmith we think that’s crazy. Software versions are what makes software development possible. They make deployment possible. They make distribution possible. How else can you understand and navigate complex dependency trees or be sure your code will interact with a third party’s? Hint - you can’t!
You must care about versions. And updates. It’s the only way to know you are on the latest build; the one with the security fixes and new features. But it’s not about the end-user. It’s about you. How else can you label or tag the push of a new build that’s been verified?
Not a single one of our customers has ever asked us how to architect, build, and deploy versionless software.
The revolution against versions hasn’t begun - and never will. Versions are here to stay. There is an explosion in the amount of open-source software that all software relies upon, and the only way to manage the chaos is with versioning.
As an example, Docker containers are filled with versioned software. You need to know what’s in each and every layer.
Now more than ever, engineers, like you, and like us, need better tools to track, manage, and understand all software pulled into your stack. Cloudsmith was built to tackle this problem, providing a single source of truth across every format you use; providing isolation from public upstreams, and allowing you to interrogate the provenance of any package with insight into security and licensing. These are vital for everyone going forward.
But more than that, there are three key reasons why versions are so important:
More bluntly - “Knowing what is where”. The dependency tree for any piece of modern software can be vast. You need proper visibility on what packages, libraries and components make up this tree because without it you really are running blind, in more ways than one. Without versions, you don’t have this visibility, and you’re missing the details of the “what”.
Once you know “What is where” you need to explore “When did something change?”. You should be able to trace back when a particular package or library was updated, modified or even rolled back. Without versions, you can’t do any of this - it’s like a financial audit without figures: it’s lacking the very detail that it requires to be effective.
And finally, you need to know “Will this actually work?” You can see what you have, you know when things changed, and now you can determine if the sum of these will, in effect, “make” or “break”. Without versions, you can’t tell. You can’t plan, implement or react effectively. You’re adrift in a sea of unknowns. Breaking changes are real, we have all seen them. This is one of the most important reasons why versions matter.
While we admire the sentiment of imagining a world with no software versions; it’s just not realistic. We fundamentally believe in the opposite; and will continue to build a platform that gives you a more profound understanding of versions; not one that muddies the very clarity you need to develop better, faster, more maintainable products.
Versions aren’t going anywhere.