Small Iowa Tech Inked Deals with Microchip, GE, Raytheon, BAE and Siemens

Small Iowa Tech Inked Deals with Microchip, GE, Raytheon, BAE and Siemens

Despite the technology industry being hyper focused on the next great start-up darling, one small Iowa technology company has managed to quietly ink deals with tech giants like General Electric, Siemens, Raytheon, BAE Systems and Microchip. The GForge Group, Inc, based in West Des Moines, Iowa,, has built an impressive list of clients for their collaboration platform, GForge. According to President Tony Bibbs, the success of GForge can be attributed to thinking like their clients, making sure GForge provides them the right combination of collaboration features, itching unique enterprise needs and leveraging their size as a selling point.

Enabling Real Collaboration

While the collaboration industry has long been deployed at scale to the cloud, The GForge Group has gone back to focusing on their roots of on-premises collaboration. Microchip, a global provider of microcontrollers, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP circuits is using GForge to collaborate on multiple levels, addressing the unique needs of their disparate teams and customer base.  Specifically, Microchip uses GForge to:

  • Collaborate across internal Microchip organizational groups.
  • Collaborate internally on Microchip products and services.
  • Collaborate externally with Microchip partners and customers.

Microchip achieves these varied levels of collaboration by leveraging GForge’s portfolio management features which allow them to organize teams, projects and customers with varying degrees of visibility.

Another key feature of GForge is the fact it is an all-in-one solution which overcomes two key problems faced in the on-premises collaboration space:

  1. Ala Cart Features – Some collaboration solutions sell similar GForge features ala cart with each having its own pricing and requiring work to configure those features to work in unison. This approach is inflexible because it means you need to know what features each project needs ahead of time.
  2. Best-in-Breed Features – Other organizations, often times unknowingly and over time, end up buying multiple products from multiple vendors providing specific features. This approach shares the same inflexibilities of ala cart features from a single vendor but this also makes integration difficult, fragile and expensive. 

GForge’s all-in-one approach makes all features available to a project but gives its customers the flexibility of scaling with the project. At Siemens, for example, they enjoy the flexibility of taking a proof-of-concept, using a few GForge features, to a full scale, mature project that has expanded to use more of GForge’s capabilities.

The all-in-one approach is paying off because large organizations recognize that not all projects are created equal and with GForge scaling with their needs they are able to focus on their strategic goals without the hassle of renegotiating pricing when the needs of a project changes.

GForge Enables True Enterprise Collaboration

While GForge gives project teams modern collaboration features (like sprints, standups and team chat), it really shines when deployed across an enterprise. For example, General Electric (GE) uses GForge to manage over 16,000 global employees, all collaborating on GE’s vast array of products and services. 

With GForge, GE is also able to specify the export control classification of every GE project, to ensure export control policies and procedures are observed in a consistent, auditable manner.

Raytheon uses two key GForge features to elevate their collaboration. Within Raytheon, there are strict security boundaries between various programs. To address that requirement, Raytheon can quickly deploy a dedicated, isolated instance of GForge for each program, giving their programs the collaboration tools they need. For projects that don’t have the same security requirements, Raytheon has a shared GForge instance for managing their entire portfolio. GForge allows Raytheon to classify shared projects for reuse readiness,to ensure systems achieve a level of maturity before they are reused elsewhere. 

GE and Raytheon rely on unique GForge features to increase productivity and reuse, and manage regulatory requirements and project risk.

GForge Leverages Its Size

Make no mistake, GForge runs at scale, and it has to in order to support such large customers. According to Bibbs, however, GForge’s true value is the fact they are a small, privately held company: 

“Being a small company, we are much more agile and far more responsive to our customer’s needs”.

 Bibbs pointed to their unique support model noting that all GForge engineers also provide direct customer support. 

“Our size allows us to use this model which has the benefit of engineers getting feedback directly from customers. Nothing gets lost or miscommunicated like you often see with multi-tier support models.” 

Another small business benefit GForge brings to the table their customers have the ability to have a direct impact on the product road map. “Listen, there’s a lot of competition in our market and there’s some big fish in our pond. Our success is tied directly to our ability to listen to our customers and, to a large extent, let them drive the direction GForge goes.” Bibbs goes on to point out GForge, despite its size, has been in the collaboration business as long, if not longer, than most of their competitors.

GForge v18.1 Released!

Just a little over a month ago we ushered a completely revamped GForge platform dubbed GForgeNext and today we are happy to announce the release of v18.1.  Please remember we have changed our version numbering to reflect the year and the number of the release. Since this is the second release of 2018 this version coincides to v18.1 which should help customers quickly know how many versions behind they may be.

Take a tour of GForgeNext!

Getting Started with GForgeNext

The biggest change in 18.1 is the addition of SVN commit hooks. This means that all customers using both Git and SVN can safely upgrade to this version. For our remaining customers still using CVS we will be adding that support in v19.0 due out the first quarter of next year.

  • The v18.1 ChangeLog will help you understand the changes you can expect.
  • The GForgeNext FAQ will answer most of your questions but don’t hesitate to send additional questions.
  • We are still encouraging customers to reach out to us for a free consultation on the planning and upgrade process. If we don’t hear form you we will be reaching out to all our customers over the coming week.

Download GForge v18.1 Now!

GForgeNext Released!

Yes, it’s been a long time coming and nobody is happier than we are to formally announce the release of GForgeNext!

For those new to GForge, GForgeNext gives you all the tools you need to build and collaborate on software. In keeping with our motto of making collaboration Simple, Comprehensive and Elegant – GForgeNext leverages Docker so it installs in seconds, includes all the tools you need to build better software and it all comes with a user experience you will enjoy! For those not interested in running their own instance of GForge, you can opt for our new SaaS offering!

Take a tour of GForgeNext!

Getting Started with GForgeNext

For existing customers this release is significant because GForgeNext is as different as it is similar to GForge AS. You still get all the features of GForge AS but everything has been rethought and redesigned. In order to upgrade to GForgeNext, existing customers will have to upgrade to GForge AS v6.4.4 and then the upgrade will handle the rest! To help we have put together a few resources:

  • The GForgeNet ChangeLog will help you understand the changes you can expect.
  • The GForgeNext FAQ will answer most of your questions but don’t hesitate to send additional questions.
  • Beginning immediately we are encouraging customers to reach out to us for a free consultation on the planning and upgrade process. If we don’t hear form you we will be reaching out to all our customers over the coming week.

Download GForgeNext Now!

GForge v6.4.3 Released

Today we are happy to announce the immediate availability of GForge Advanced Server v6.4.3.  Other than being a bug fix release, this will likely be our last update to the 6.x series as we intend to ship GForgeNEXT later this year.

Important note: For anyone using GForge under the default license, which lets you run GForge AS free with up to 15 users without support, this number has been reduced to 5 users. Contact us at feedback@gforgegroup.com if you have any questions about this change.

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.3 Now!

New Features in GForge v6.4.3

  • Docman – Prior to this release, when browsing files in docman the link to the file pointed to the last version which had the version hardcoded as part of the URL. We now have use a URL that removes this hardcoded reference which means if you share the URL to the current version you will always get the latest version regardless of how many new versions have been added.  You can still access the direct link to old version through the right-click menu.
  • Project Export/Import – There were a number of issues preventing the export of a project from being imported into another GForge instance. You can now port projects between GForge instances provided both are running 6.4.3.
  • Licensing – Site administrators will receive warnings when they are approaching the maximum number of users allowed on their license.  Additionally we have given site administrators the ability to deactivate users in the event the hit that limit. Prior to this release when the system exceeded the maximum number of licensed use the system would give all users an error message.

The Gory Details

GForge v6.4.3 includes a number of bug fixes and security updates. For the full details of this release, please have a look at the Complete GForge v6.4.3 ChangeLog

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.3 Now!

Fall 2016 HackISU Wrap-up

 

Fall 2016 HackISU Winners for “Best use of the GForgeNEXT API”. Picture (left-to-right): Mehul Shinde, Dig Vijay Kumar Yarlagadda, Chris Matthews, Brendan O’Conner

Last weekend we sponsored our second HackISU Hackathon in Ames, Iowa.  HackISU is run, in part, by both Major League Hacking and HackISU, a student ran organization.  The GForge Group sponsored a prize for “The Best Use of the GForgeNEXT API” and out of all the teams at this fall’s HackISU two demonstrated great projects!

Runner-up: GitHub Migration

The team of Gregory “Charlie” Steenhagen, Justin Wheeler, Nathan Karasch and Jonny Krysh were this semester’s runner-ups.  At the end of the Hackathon they managed to migrate a single project out of GitHub including the Git repository and issues into a GForgeNEXT project.

Winners: GForgeNEXT Chat Commands

The winners for this semester: Mehul Shinde, Dig Vijay Kumar Yarlagadda, Chris Matthews and Brendan O’Conner implemented a way to execute user-created commands that could be ran in GForgeNEXT’s chat rooms.  They demonstrated commands that searched StackOverflow, ran Google searches that both showed up in the GForgeNEXT chat room. They also managed to do simple tasks like create new tickets, update existing tickets and list users assigned to a project.

While both teams demonstrated great ideas our winners edged out the win two ways:

  1. They exercised more of the GForgeNEXT API including use of the user, tracker, project and discussion resources.
  2. GForgeNEXT’s Chat doesn’t implement a way for user’s executed homegrown scripts yet.  This means the execution of any commands isn’t natively supported by our API and the workaround they came up to this limitation was fanastic.  Their engine would poll a given chat room looking for commands (beginning with “/”) and if the command existed it would execute the associated script.  The amount of problem solving that went into dealing with this limitation was impressive.

Overall this semester’s HackISU event was the best we’ve been a part of and we look forward being a part of future event’s.  We’ll conclude with the photo below of our winners who all earned $750 each:

GForge v6.4.2 Released

Today we are happy to announce the release of GForge Advanced Server v6.4.2.  This is a primarily a bug fix release a few minor enhancements.

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.2 Now!

Notable Updates in GForge v6.4.2

  • Project Snapshots – We’ve a number of issues around project export and import.  If you need to move GForge projects between instances you’ll have to upgrade to 6.4.2.
  • LDAP/Active Directory – We now allow mixed mode authentication which allows users to login via LDAP/Active Directory or the database.  This is a great option for organizations that have internal users in LDAP and external stakeholders they want to give access to (via database accounts).  We have also provided a new script that will associate existing database accounts to their LDAP/Active Directory equivalents.
  • Syntax Highlighting – Web-based browsing of repositories now supports syntax highlighting.

The Gory Details

GForge v6.4.2 includes over 100 updates and few security updates so please be sure to checkout the Complete GForge v6.4.2 ChangeLog

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.2 Now!

GForge v6.4.1 Released

Today we are happy to announce the immediate availability of GForge Advanced Server v6.4.1.  This is a bug fix release that also includes minor enhancements.

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.1 Now!

New Features in GForge v6.4.1

  • Docman – We made a few updates to Docman in 6.4.1 including the ability to mass upload documents by uploading a single, compressed file (.zip, .tar, .tgz, .etc).  You can also quickly restore a prior version of a file to the newest version while retaining the complete version history.  Finally we’ve added better logging, particularly when files and folders are deleted so administrators can identify what was deleted and who deleted them.
  • Tracker – Project administrators can now manually add and remove user or user groups from monitoring a Tracker or Tracker Items.  Also any custom tracker fields can now be added to the “Quick Filter” when browsing Tracker Items.
  • Project Templates – Before 6.4.1 you could configure GForge to auto approve projects.  We’ve now added a better level of control by allowing site administrators to configure which project templates require projects to be explicitly approved or which templates can employ the use of auto approve.
  • Debian – We now support Debian “Jessie” in addition to the latest versions of CentOS and RedHat Enterprise Linux
  • Discussions – Images added to discussions in the “forum” view are now rendered in-line just as they are in “chat” view.
  • SSO & LDAP– We’ve streamlined the user experience for customers using SSO and LDAP

The Gory Details

GForge v6.4.1 includes a number of bug fixes and security updates. For the full details of this release, please have a look at the Complete GForge v6.4.1 ChangeLog

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.1 Now!

GForge 6.4.0 Released

Today we are happy to announce the immediate availability of GForge Advanced Server v6.4.0.  This is a feature release that also includes minor bug fixes and enhancements.

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.0 Now!

New Features in GForge v6.4.0

  • Sprints – GForge now ships with support for Sprints.  Agile shops can create sprints, manage tracker items within Sprints and track the progress of sprints via the burndown charts provided.  We’ve also updated the Tracker Query editor to support sprints.
  • Trove Improvements – We’ve completed revamped the user interface for managing projects within your trove and added some powerful administration features.
  • Project Templates – Project Templates are now a part of the Trove.  This allows larger organizations to divide their project templates in some meaningful way (e.g. by department)
  • Tracker Workflow – When setting up workflow GForge will now give each workflow status a visual indicator to the administrator letting them know which transitions they have setup up workflow rules for.
  • Added Support for CentOS 7 and RHEL 7.
  • Debian Support– We now support Debian Wheezy
  • modauthgforge – We enabled modauthgforge and use it by default when using SVN or Git over HTTP(S) which is a huge performance improvement.
  • pg-pool Support – If you have a separate server for the GForge database we now support pg-pool which implement connection pooling.  This will be a big performance improvement for customers using this sort of configuration.
  • Post-commit Filters – We now provide the same interface we offer for managing pre-commit filters for managing post-commit filters.
  • Training Videos – We have published a series of training videos on our YouTube channel

The Gory Details

GForge v6.4.0 includes a number of bug fixes and other improvements. For the full details of this release, please have a look at the Complete GForge v6.4.0 ChangeLog

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.4.0 Now!

GForge 6.3.1 Released

Today we are happy to announce the immediate availability of GForge Advanced Server v6.3.1.  This is primarily a bugfix release and the highlights include fixes for the Support Tracker feature and some minor security enhancements.

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.3.1 Now!

Support Tracker Fixes

If you haven’t already tried out the Support feature in GForge AS 6.3, you definitely should.  Here are a few key fixes and enhancements to that feature:

  • [#15070] Support tracker: Member group not set properly.
  • [#15071] Support tracker: skip first notification after the TI is submitted and set the timestamp
  • [#15134] Support group and assignee lost.  Suspecting cron15.php
  • [#15151] Support tracker: autoclose sets close date correctly  but it’s not visible in browse or TI pages.
  • [#15433] Filter “Out Of Office” replies (and similar automated messages) from creating support requests in GForge

Miscellaneous Improvements

There are also a few other improvements that warrant a quick mention:

  • [#11848] Mass Delete broken
  • [#19112] Navigating wiki versions doesn’t quite work right.
  • [#19246] License Tracker – Valid user gets access denied
  • [#19258] Docman allows uploading of HTML files which can have spam  possibly JS making it possible CSRF vuln
  • [#19388] My Account > Disable Account not working
  • [#19221] When parsing files  filesystem_index cronjob could trigger a tracker item notification
  • [#11830] Fix xss vulnerability in tracker item edit screen
  • [#19331] Sanitize paginator parameters
  • [#19847] MAG: change default database name to “gforge” instead of “gforge5”
  • [#19649] upgrade_gforge – Unused plugins cause confusing output

For full details, please have a look at the Complete GForge v6.3.1 ChangeLog

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.3.1 Now!

GForge AS v6.3.0 Released

Today we are happy to announce the immediate availability of GForge Advanced Server v6.3.0.  This release is a major release with a few bug and security fixes included. Important: With this release we are dropping support for the entire 5.x series.  If you are running a 5.x version of GForge you will need to make plans to upgrade immediately.  We are fielding support questions and even doing assisted upgrades for our customers.  If you need assistance please read all about the GForge upgrade process and if you need help please send a support request.  Now, let’s cover the exciting updates included in v.6.3.0:

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.3.0 Now!

Updates for Agile/Scrum Shops

We continue to add features important to Agile and Scrum development shops such as:

  • User Stories – We’ve added a new User Stories Tracker to v6.3.0.  Define stories by role, give story points and then track their progress.
  • Burndown Charts – Enhance the power of GForge Trackers by embedding Burndown charts on your project’s homepage.  Burn down charts can be built from any Tracker query you can think of.

Support Tracker

Your software projects can leverage the power of GForge Trackers to provide support to your customers and stakeholders.  Support tickets include all the same basic Tracker features but this release includes special updates.

  • Create new support tickets (or Tracker items) via email.
  • Respond to suppport and Tracker items via email.
  • Support and Tracker Item updates via email that have attachments will have the file(s) attached to the corresponding ticket or Tracker item.
  • Support and all other Trackers can have reminders configured to let assignees and submitters know when a support ticket or Tracker Item is waiting on them.
  • Support and all other Trackers can be configured to automatically close an item that has sat with the submitter for some predetermined amount of time (in hours).
  • Customer Groups can be configured with a Tracker so that the customer or stakeholder only see Tracker items that they or others in their group have created.
  • Assignees can now change the who the submitter of a Tracker item was.  This is particularly useful if you provide support via telephone.
  • You can now sort Tracker Items based on who the Tracker item is waiting input from (not to be confused with the assignee).

Worth mentioning, we love this feature so much that we have migrated from our old support system to use GForge Trackers.  Customers should have received an email about this migration which included seamless migration of our customer accounts so the same username and password can be used.  You should continue access our support page at https://gforgegroup.com/support/

Tracker Improvements

In addition to the new User Stories and Support Trackers, we’ve made a couple of other notable updates:

  • Hide Intrinsic Fields – We have made it possible to hide some instrinsic fields (e.g. % complete, duration, etc) on Trackers.  This basically turns GForge Tracker into a general purpose forms engine making it useful for surveys and questionnaires.
  • Export Tracker Queries – The Tracker item browse page now allows you to download search results into CVS, XML and XLS.

Notable Miscellaneous Improvements

There are also a few other improvements that warrant a quick mention:

  • Extended Commit Messages – Prior to v6.3.0 you could associate a commit in CVS, Subversion and Git using [#XXXX] notation.  Now you can report time or even change the status of a tracker item via a commit using an extended notation [#XXXX, next-status, hours].  So, for example a commit with “[#1234, pull-request, 1.5] – Some message” would change tracker item 1234 by changing the status to pull-request, it will add 1.5 hours to the time tracking tab and it would associate the code changes to the Tracker item.
  • Project Disk Quotas – Our first iteration of disk quotas allows GForge Administrators to set the quota limit for specific projects or even specify a sane default for all newly created projects.  We also include a simple disk quota report for tracker purposes.  Please note the quota enforcement is not present and will be a part of our next release.
  • Project Reviews and Ratings – Are you running an open source project or some other community based GForge site?  You can now let users rate and comment on projects.
  • Chat Improvements – In v6.2.0 you could enter [#XXXX] in a chat room to render a summary view of a specific Tracker Item. This release allows you to also use #XXXX which will render a link to Tracker item XXXX with mouse-over text that displays the summary of the Tracker item.
  • Project Invitations – Project administrators can now invite users to their project.  This works for users with or without an existing GForge account.
  • Dead Projects – We now include a new Dead Projects Report allowing GForge Administrators to identify and clean up any unused or dead projects.
  • Project Emails – Project administrators can now send an email to all team members right from their GForge Project.  We will store all sent messages for historical purposes.

BugFixes

As we said already, GForge v6.3.0 includes a number of bug fixes…too many to enumerate here so please have a look at the Complete GForge v6.3.0 ChangeLog

Download GForge Advanced Server v6.3.0 Now!