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Toolchain Releases Significant Update to the Pants Open Source Build System
[November 18, 2021]

Toolchain Releases Significant Update to the Pants Open Source Build System

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Toolchain, lead sponsor of Pants, the distributed open source software build system, today announced a significant upgrade to Pants, further empowering application development teams with a comprehensive approach to ensuring fast, and consistent software builds. As part of the release, Toolchain is actively seeking developers to provide feedback to the preview release version of Pants to help further shape the direction and capabilities of the solution. Toolchain also announced it is now providing enterprise support and services for Pants, providing organizations of all sizes with a proven, enterprise-grade solution for managing their software build projects.

Traditional build systems used to orchestrate all of the separate tools and steps involved in the software build process were designed a generation or more ago, are challenging with which to scale codebases, and present artificial barriers to meeting the high demands of contemporary software development. For example, Bazel was developed by Google to meet that company’s specific needs and it requires highly-specialized build engineering experts in-house to manage it. In addition, it is hard to maintain, complicated to use and is a challenge to customize it to meet the unique requirements of individual development teams.

Pants is designed from the ground up to serve modern agile software engineering practices among a diverse range of developer teams. It facilitates engineering best practices, such as robust testing, and adds highly-granular intelligent caching to significantly accelerate test suite execution both locally and in remote environments such as continuous integration (CI). By systematizing the entire build process, Pants makes modern software development and deployment more resistant to errors and mistakes that lead to security vulnerabilities, and can help prevent emerging threats such as supply chain attacks into a company’s software stack. Development teams can decide whether to have Pants suggest or enforce changes to the code, such as modifying files to ensure they comply with the team's formatting requirements.

Toolchain’s co-founders Benjy Weinberger and John Sirois developed Pants and the company is the lead sponsor of the Pants open-source build system project. Toolchain team of experts provides scalable support and services for development teams ranging from single digits to thousands of enterprise developers.

The latest release of Pants is a significant update that expands its capabilities and the programming languages that it supports. Pants was initially focused on helping Python developers since there was no modern build orchestration system for that language. Pants has strong support for Python, Shell, and Docker, and is now making previews of its upcoming Java, Scala, and Go support available to early adopters, significantly expanding the number of development teams that can incorporate it into their build processes. It supports deployment via Docker, AWS Lambda, published libraries, or executable binaries. Additional programming language support will be announced over the next 12 months.

Capabilities now available for Python, Shell, and Docker, and in preview release for Java, Scala and Go include:

  • Smart concurrency and caching: Pants breaks up the build work into many fine-grained units, runs them concurrently, and caches the results. This greatly speeds up the builds.
  • Minimal configuration: Unlike other systems, Pants doesn't require a huge amount of explicit configuration or code restructuring. Instead, it intelligently analyzes the code to learn what it needs to know. With Pants, BUILD files are delightfully cruft-free and DRY.
  • Extensibility: Development teams can add custom build steps by writing idiomatic Python code using the powerful Pants Plugin API. Other build tools have limited extensibility APIs.
  • A genuine Open Source Software ethos: Pants is an open source-first project. The maintainers promptly answer questions, listen to feedback, welcome ideas, act on feature requests, and review code submissions submitted by the Pants community.
  • Enterprise support: To supplement open source community support, Toolchain's team of build experts is available for enterprise-level support and development contracts.

“A rapid development and build process are critical to Coinbase’s success. Pants' state-of-the-art support for Python made it the obvious build tool for our team, and we're excited to see similar capabilities being made available for the JVM,” said ??Leo Liang, Head of Analytics and Machine Learning Platform at Coinbase.

“Pants is a cutting edge build system designed by the community to meet the requirements of a large, diverse set of developers and developer teams,” said Benjy Weinberger, co-founder, and CEO, Toolchain. “Based on my experience working at technology companies of all sizes, I believe that build tools must support a wide range of approaches, and not be tied to the requirements of any one organization. Toolchain’s vision for Pants and the software build market matches that of the community - deliver a solution that provides the capabilities for any development team, regardless of the languages they use or their build processes.”

To start evaluating and adopting Pants, users can follow the Getting Started guide at Free support from the open source community is available on the "pantsbuild" Slack workspace.

About Toolchain
Toolchain’s mission is to simplify the software build process for all development teams. The company is the driving force of Pants, the distributed open source software build system that is used by development teams and companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 leaders. Toolchain is based in San Francisco and its investors include Harrison Metal, Homebrew, ANIMO Ventures, and Chingona Ventures. To learn more visit or follow us on Twitter at @toolchainlabs.

Merrill Freund
[email protected]

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