Copying some of my thoughts from forge federation chatroom:

Hmm, I have bumped into in the past, marked it as “interesting” for myself, and moved on. Yesterday became the hot thing on HN (though on AI topics). Just again navigating the site now… and here we see another platform operating on a breadth of services, that may just give Github folks a cold sweat. It is not all smooth… there are quirks in the site. But they are highly innovative, it shows. And apparently raking in investment money. Here we have another one-stop-shop integrated experience offering “Help with Software Development”. I wonder what this disruptive trend will mean for FOSS code forges in the future.

We are moving towards this:

  • Most devs: “We develop in Github / Replit / JetBrains / Gitlab… it great. Highly productive.”
  • FOSS folks: “Use our tools. We have a huge patchwork of them, and you must configure them all, copy/paste between, have manual processes, and who needs that slick UX, right?”

(Actually this is already the current situation)

The tagline on Replit is interesting (highlight mine): “Build software collaboratively with the power of AI, on any device, without spending a second on setup

We are so used to the way we develop software now, that we think that setting all the infra, CI, docker/k8s, what-have-you, and then configuring/tweaking, documenting it in README and Docs comes with the job. Well, it does not. It is a huge time-waster and the low-hanging fruit of increasing productivity. Any platform that removes all that from the picture, turned into some point-and-click UI, selecting from a marketplace of dev environments, etc. will give any manager 🤩 eyes… and competitive advantage. And that’s only the start. There’s so many other common chores to be taken out of the equation on one-stop-shop automated online platforms.

In this trend I also expect Git to die eventually. It is very powerful tool, and lovely to do common things. But devs hate it when more advanced Git things need to be done. In the one-stop-shop future, git is implementation detail abstracted away deep in the platform. You don’t need to be aware of it, even when developing locally offline. Because you will do that based on a full-blown “dev environment” package that you obtain from the platform.

  • “I want to develop offline” --> sync local all-in dev package --> start package, code in package’s IDE offline --> syncs back automatically when online again.

  • “I want to contribute to this other project with other infra/techstack” --> click & code --> done.

I might also highlight the collaboratively in the same tagline. Replit already offers collaborative coding where - similar to Google Docs - you see the other people’s cursor and activities. But this collaboration will of course be scaled to include the needs of any type of stakeholder involved in the Software Development process. That this will happen is a no-brainer. Most software projects fail because of all the handovers between stakeholders with poor collab and communication barriers. The idea behind Social Coding and the Free Software Development Lifecycle (FSDL), is that we in the Free Software movement should spend time to fill the gaps in this regard, where the FOSS movement is even weaker than corporate IT world with our tech-mostly focus.

  • poVoqA
    11 year ago

    Online IDEs with tight CI/CD integration are definitely nice to lower the entry-barrier and get people contributing faster. The FOSS story there is a bit spotty, but interesting projects do exist.

    As for “social coding”… that idea has been around for a long time, and well working FOSS solutions also exist, but all experience so far has shown that this is not actually very helpful or productive. I think these solutions in combination with an audio chat can be helpful for introducing new remote colleagues to a complex code-base, but otherwise they offer little value.

    • smallcirclesOPM
      11 year ago

      Thanks for those links. Note btw that Github is planning their own moves wrt one-stop-shop development. You can get a taste of that at where they share some of their product research with the public. A scary (for FOSS) development here, is Blocks marketplace that will serve to consolidate 3rd-party ecosystem product UI’s on their own platform.