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As SOA shops grow in size, repository managers become useful

Following its launch of Policy Manager 6, SOA Software this month released Repository Manager 6.2, a tool that keeps track of services and other assets involved in software infrastructure. In a service-oriented architecture, there are numerous software components that need to be accounted for – only some of which are the services themselves.

The Repository Manager can look after a range of things, from knowledge assets – like architecture patterns or reference implementations – down to various types of executables, orchestrations and services. Having a managed repository for all of this sure beats spreadsheets, e-mail and telephone tag, said Brent Carlson, SVP of technology at SOA Software.

“The typical organization that wants to automate its development governance is reasonably sized,” said Carlson. “Repository Manager isn’t something you’d set up for 12 developers in the office, but if you get beyond that, you start to have communication issues.”

An organization might require auditable records of governance activities or need to collaborate across geographically distributed environments. Carlson said in such cases it is worthwhile to have a centralized place to manage and log changes to various application attributes.

In version 6.2, SOA Software has improved Repository Manager’s search function. With stronger XPath support, the search feature can now be configured around an organization’s own particular information model.

The new version also has support for compound validation rules. This means a user can put custom rules and scripts in place that govern the conditions under which a change can be committed.

For instance, if an organization has a service that it wishes to have reviewed or governed as enterprise class, the organization may mandate that it must provide a user guide document. But if the same repository is used for ad hock services, documentation might not be required.

“We can now enforce that conditionally,” said Carlson. “So if the service is marked as enterprise class, then the submitter will not be able to populate that service into the repository until they attach a valid user guide.”

Carlson said Repository Manager supports integration with Eclipse-based IDEs as well as Visual Studio. So the primary languages are Java and .NET. On the back end, there is pre-built integration with SCM platforms like ClearCase, PVCS Dimensions, Team Foundation Server and Subversion.

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