Perforce has launched its Swarm code collaboration and peer review software for distributed software application development teams focused on Agile practices and continuous integration.
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Used by games development house Ubisoft on titles including Assassin's Creed 3 and Far Cry 3, Swarm has been described as "key to rapid multi-site collaboration" by Ubisoft lead tools programmer Marc Desfosses.
"In our business, if you're not updating your products constantly, you're quickly left behind. It lets programmers chime in on each other's code immediately, get the feedback they need when they need it, and even review code side-by-side," said Desfosses.
As release cycles are getting shorter, teams will of course want to speed up their processes while ensuring high-quality code is provided into build, test, and release tools and, ultimately, production servers.
Perforce argues that while code review has been applied in "some organizations" with success, until now the available tools have not offered a combined social experience along with tight integration to an enterprise-class versioning system that supports distributed teams.
Swarm is a web application that allows developers to personalize their reviews — such as side-by-side or vertical comparisons — and comment inside the code. Activity streams, project pages, notifications, and a repository browser feature as well as flexible workflows, hooks for continuous integration, and automatic deployment to help optimize software production lines.
Swarm's key features include direct and contextual code conversations for team collaboration and faster delivery through code snippet comments and conversations, which are stored and always accessible to display the full context of the change.
Perforce CEO Christopher Seiwald also points out the flexible code review workflow to discover coding errors through flexible peer or designated-person review workflows with pre- or post-commit review options. "Developers using Perforce Git Fusion can use Swarm to review the code they've submitted from Git repositories alongside colleagues storing code to the Perforce versioning engine."
Also featured here are Continuous Integration (CI) Hooks to enable users to know whether a change has passed acceptance tests before looking at it in detail. Users can adapt and extend Swarm by connecting third-party tools. Swarm can connect new code to existing deployment processes to automatically set-up and run new versions on a staging or production server.