Signed, sealed, delivered

“GitHub of packages” Bintray opens public beta

The creators of binary management tool Artifactory have opened the public beta of a new online binary database incorporating GitHub’s social aspects. Having been in private beta for three weeks, the unfortunately-named Bintray will today open its doors to the general public.

Bintray is part software distribution platform and part social network, jFrog Chief Architect Fred Simon and CTO Yoav Landman told JAXenter. It promises not only an easy way to publish and discover useful software, but also another important aspect of developers’ digital profiles to go alongside Twitter, Google+ and GitHub accounts.

Each package uploaded has a profile page, listing standard information such as available downloads and relevant websites and bug trackers, but also reviews from the community and the option to watch for future updates. User profiles are standard listings of active projects and external web presences, but the addition of organisations as a separate profile type makes far more sense than GitHub’s one-size-fits-all approach.

Speaking of GitHub: while its influence on Bintray is obvious, the two are not competing for identical markets. Bintray is designed for stable, packaged software, its social aspects in sharing and reviewing packages rather than creating them.

“While GitHub manages source control, Bintray is the only platform that directly deals with software releases and provides a complete solution for managing, publishing and delivering binaries of new software versions all the way to end users,” says Landman.

“In fact, Bintray integrates with your GitHub projects and allows you to create software packages in Bintray from your existing GitHub repositories, including linking to release notes managed in git.”

Simon says that existing directories lack information about the people and projects behind them, and that Bintray introduces a new human aspect that Artifactory hopes will plug an obvious gap in the market.

Another key feature of Bintray is its automated index generation of Maven, Debian and RPM packages. “Bintray takes care of the tedious parts of publishing it, making your binaries easily available to end users,” says Landman. “Automation and good integration with tools that developers are already using, together with an easy to use management web interface support this very streamlined process.”

As you might expect, Bintray integrates well with jFrog’s flagship binary management software Artifactory, allowing artifacts to be published directly to Bintray “in just a push of a button”. Bintray will be free for open source projects, but Simon says that commercial software will require a yet-undetermined fee.

As the public beta opens, it will be interesting to see if Bintray fills a viable niche. Landman says existing feedback has been positive: “People are telling us they have been waiting for this type of solution for a long time.”

Elliot Bentley

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