Microsoft Corp.’s GitHub unit today updated its GitHub Enterprise Server platform with an array of new features designed to streamline software development projects.
GitHub, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2018, operates a popular service for hosting open-source software. The Microsoft unit generates revenue by providing commercial development tools for enterprises. One of its flagship offerings is GitHub Enterprise Server, a version of the GitHub platform that companies can use to host their internal software projects.
GitHub Enterprise Server 3.5, the new release introduced today, features more than 60 improvements. Many of the most significant upgrades focus on helping developers ensure that their code doesn’t contain vulnerabilities.
Enterprise applications often include external code components from the open-source ecosystem. If a security flaw is found in one of the open-source components used by an application, it can potentially become vulnerable to cyberattacks. GitHub Enterprise Server 3.5 will make it easier for companies to address such vulnerabilities.
The platform ships with a cybersecurity tool called Dependabot that GitHub obtained through a 2019 startup acquisition. According to the Microsoft unit, Dependabot can automatically alert developers if a security flaw is found in one of the open-source components used by an application. The tool also provides a feature that enables software teams to quickly download patches when they become available.
To help developers write more secure applications, GitHub has created a system called CodeQL that can scan code for common vulnerabilities. GitHub Enterprise Server 3.5 features an improved version of the system. CodeQL now scans code for vulnerabilities faster and can detect more than a half-dozen new types of security flaws.
Hackers often attempt to reverse engineer applications’ code in a bid to find opportunities to launch cyberattacks. As a result, developers must take steps to ensure that their code doesn’t contain sensitive data such as encryption keys and passwords. To ease the task, GitHub Enterprise Server can now automatically block code updates if they contain data such as encryption keys.
The new release of the platform enables companies to track how well their application projects adhere to cybersecurity best practices. There’s a feature that provides an overview of security issues found by GitHub’s CodeQL and Dependabot tools. For added measure, the Microsoft unit has added the ability to collect 41 types of metrics about how a company’s GitHub Enterprise Server deployment is used by developers.
The platform’s cybersecurity tools represent one component of a broader feature set designed to streamline software development for enterprises. Another important element of GitHub Enterprise Server’s value proposition is GitHub Actions, a workflow automation tool. It enables developers to create workflows for managing the process of deploying new code to production.
GitHub Enterprise Server 3.5 makes it easier to reuse GitHub Action automation workflows across projects. Meanwhile, developers building software container applications are gaining access to a new container registry. It enables developers to store frequently used application components in a centralized repository.
GitHub is also rolling out an array of other enhancements with GitHub Enterprise Server 3.5. The Microsoft unit has added settings that can be used to deploy code to production faster. The settings are joined by an enhanced auditing capability, as well as an array of new configuration options that can be used to optimize deployments of the platform.