600 releases of Plastic and counting

Thursday, September 04, 2014 2 Comments

Today we've released Plastic Yes, 600. Six hundred official releases since our first one back in 2005, more than one year before Plastic was launched.

Plastic has changed *a lot* during these years in all imaginable aspects: from performance to GUI, features, security, ease of use... almost everything version 1.0 included has been redesigned an incredibly improved a few times since.

I still remember reading great Spolsky's post saying 'Great software takes 10 years' and thinking "hey, can't be true! 10 years! When did he go crazy?" and I've to admit that as we get closer to 10 years in business I think I understand better than ever what it takes to develop good software.

Plastic *had to* change and evolve because our challenges turned out to be much bigger: our first paying customer was located in Northern Spain and had less than 10 developers. Things are bigger now and more demanding like an Asian company with more than 1000 developers working concurrently on a huge codebase and taking advantage of everything from distributed to high scalability and Xlinks.

We used to perform checkins of the quake source code as benchmark. The first checkin ever took 11 hours to complete! 11 hours (we threw up that code!). Nowadays we don't use this code anymore for testing since it is too small (a checkin takes about 4 secs or so and not even a 300Gb checkin takes so long).

Some of the core ideas in the first Plastic version persist, though. We wanted to turn "branch per task" into a mainstream practice to help developers on a daily basis, telling a story checkin after checkin and being able to use the version control not just as a delivery mechanism (that used to be most feared than loved) but as a real productivity tool you can't live with even if you're working alone. You checkin 'almost' as often as you hit CTRL-S (unless you're in vim :P). And this is something that is still there and it is easier to explain today than it was back 600 releases ago.

Looking back...

If you go back to the early posts on this blog you'll be able to go through the evolution of the initial Plastic releases, even before the official launch of 1.0.

From some really early GUI screenshots to my beloved and now defunct 3D version tree (which I expect will return soon and I hope will be much appreciated by game developers moving to Plastic).

Visit this album of 'historic' screenshots at our Facebook.

Back in 2005 we expected to fight the SVNs of the world and when we started visiting companies and explaining why using branches was good, we faced tons of skepticism.

Things got better after the Git revolution which evangelized the whole community teaching how things could be done in a different way.

Branching and merging was not evil anymore but the powerful tool to take advantage of.

As a result, nowadays instead of having to change developer's minds we basically get teams knocking at our door asking for good branching and merging, distributed AND centralized combined, visualization and good GUIs. If you put these three blocks together only Plastic stays as a valid choice, which is why despite of the distributed version control revolution lead by open source Git, there are still companies willing to pay for the software we develop.

We don't fight SVNs anymore (although we keep replacing them, but not really fighting :P) but we face big challenges since we focus only on teams that need really advanced features not available anywhere else. A real challenge which fortunately means we've to design new features and work on so many different areas that we can never say our job got boring after all these years.

Congratulations to the entire Plastic SCM team!!

Thanks to all the customers who make this adventure possible!


  1. ¡Felicitaciones por esta genial herramienta! :D

  2. Muchas gracias Fernando! No sería posible sin usuarios entusiastas como tú! :-)