Founded by two ex-Google employees on the Angular team, Jeff Cross (CEO) and Victor Savkin (CTO), Narwahl actually started out as an Angular consulting shop, helping large banks, airlines and other companies, the kind of companies that normally use Angular. . As Cross told me, it was working with Capital One that really drove the team to pursue Nx and make it the company’s core product. At that time, the concept of monorepos was already very familiar to them, thanks to their work at Google, which uses one of the largest monorepos in the world to manage its code base.
“They had their login team,” Cross explained. “If you logged into CapitalOne.com, it’s seven lines of business creating a unified application, and it was divided into so many repositories that they couldn’t coordinate on deployments, they couldn’t really coordinate on anything. And they really needed a monorepo. So we built Nx for their use case and then we made it work for all the other customers we were working with, which were mostly these big companies.”
Cross believes that monorepos are inherently easier for large teams to manage. The founders, he said, were spoiled at Google because thanks to the monorepo, any developer could build any part of Google’s codebase with minimal effort. Everything, after all, used the same toolchain and testing infrastructure. Meanwhile, having many teams working on different repositories creates a lot of friction, as the teams then have to build a common API and create a new repository for it, create the integration process, and figure out how to publish it. “And with publishing, inevitably every company adds versions to the publication. So it’s never ‘we publish every commit and it’s immediately updated in the repository’. It’s more like: ‘we release it, we use some part of it to say if it’s a major change, a minor change, or a patch. And what ends up happening in most companies is that they never have time to update it,” said Cross.
As Cross explained, the open source Nx project and Nx Cloud help companies organize their code in these massive repositories, using the concept of Nx project charts. It’s worth noting that Nx was heavily inspired by Google’s Bazel build and test system, so it includes some familiar features, such as the ability to spread computation and task execution across multiple machines. Cross cited a major retail giant the company is currently working with that made the switch to the Nx enterprise product and now saves more than 40,000 hours of computing time a month thanks to its distributed caching system. One of the nice features of Nx (and Bazel as well, to be fair) is that it knows when two developers are trying to run the same tasks and checks if there is already a cached version.
Narwhal/Nx is already a bit ahead of most early-stage open source companies, as it already has a hosted service (Nx Cloud) and an enterprise version as its main products. Given the type of large enterprise customers that Nx works with, it’s not surprising that Nx offers them the ability to run the service on their private instances and in isolation from external APIs.
The company currently has just over 30 employees on its team, which is mostly remote. Of them, 25 are engineers.
“Adoption of Monorepo is skyrocketing around the world, driven by benefits like ease of collaboration, shared codebase visibility, dependency management, and refactoring,” said Abhishek Sharma, CEO of Nexus Venture Partners. . “However, as monorepos scale, robust tools become essential to manage them, and build time becomes a critical factor. This is where Nx shines. We were drawn to Nx because of its world-class team, category leadership, strong developer community, and massive global adoption – from startups to Fortune 500 companies. We are grateful to Jeff and Victor for choosing us as their partner on this journey.”