Over the last few months, I’ve been working on a project and, today, I’m releasing the result of that project as Open Source Software. Assurance by Digital Generalists is an application that enables comprehensive file and folder comparison with tools to merge data on multiple operating systems.
Where to Find It
The project is hosted on GitHub at https://github.com/shelterbelt/assurance.
Inspiration for the Application
Over many years, I’ve collected a substantial library of electronic files ranging from simple text documents, spreadsheets from the very early ’90s, games, MP3s, videos, email archives, source code, etc… Because I had so much stuff, I had backups…plural. And backups of backups. And some stuff was on thumb drives because I needed it to be portable at some point. And some stuff eventually moved to newer machines, but I never deleted the copy on the older machine.
In short, I came to a point where I wanted to be able to compare the many copies of my digital archive, eliminate the redundant stuff, know where the latest version of everything was, and move things into a ‘repository-of-record’.
I easily could have purchased a tool to accomplish that task. There are highly-rated options available. Or I probably could have written a shell script that would have done the job from the command line.
However, I felt the problem presented a good opportunity to try out several software development frameworks and techniques I’ve been interested in learning more about. So I wrote Assurance instead.
What Is Assurance
Assurance is a cross-platform, client-only application written in Java that leverages both Spring and Hibernate with a Swing-based UI.
At it’s core, it is a tool to comprehensively compare and optionally synchronize the contents of files and directories.
While on first glance, Assurance may appear to be a good fit as a backup tool, it wasn’t really designed for those needs. A backup tool should provide features like scheduling of jobs, conflict resolution, automated monitoring of the file system, one-click system restore, etc… Assurance wasn’t built to solve those problems. Assurance is very good at comparing files and directories and provides tools to manage differences. It does those jobs well, but doesn’t claim to do more than that.
Assurance is released under the Apache License 2.0.
The following tools need to be installed to build Assurance:
The Maven configuration will download and install the appropriate versions of the following tools:
- Spring Framework
- Apache Commons
- Apple Java Extensions
The following dependencies are required to run binary distributions of Assurance on Windows machines:
Mac distributions of Assurance package the appropriate JRE with the application bundle, eliminating the need to separately install Java on a Mac to run the application. Windows distributions require that the JRE be installed prior to starting the application.
Building and Packaging
Assurance uses Maven as its primary build and dependency management system.
To build the application:
cd project_root/assurance mvn clean package -Pdevelopment
cd project_root\assurance mvn clean package -Pdevelopment-windows
To run the unit tests:
cd project_root/assurance mvn clean test -Pdevelopment
cd project_root\assurance mvn clean test -Pdevelopment-windows
To package the application for internal release:
cd project_root/assurance mvn clean package -Pintrelease
cd project_root\assurance mvn clean package -Pintrelease-windows
To package the application for release:
cd project_root/assurance mvn clean package -Prelease
cd project_root\assurance mvn clean package -Prelease-windows
Assurance was developed using Spring Tool Suite 3.6.1. Project files for the IDE are included with the distribution.
Assurance includes a modified version of the
class from the iBATIS Apache project.
Why a Digital Generalists Product?
Digital Generalists serves as the primary way I deliver products to the world. For full products, I want Digital Generalists to hold the copyright and serve as the primary entity releasing the software to the world.
The fact that Digital Generalists, rather than me personally, is the entity releasing the product, doesn’t affect or impact how you can use the software. As long as you abide the attached software license, you can use the product and source as you wish.