HardOps: utilising the software development toolchain for hardware design

Julian Stirling, Kaspar Bumke, Joel Collins, Vimal Dhokia, Richard Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)


Open collaborative design of physical products between remote partners poses unique challenges. This is due to both the complex and interconnected data required for product design and manufacture, and to the centralised computing infrastructure traditionally used to manage product lifecycle data. While modern cloud-based solutions to collaborative design are gaining popularity, they diminish the control of each design partner. In contrast, software designers readily collaborate on highly complex software, while retaining direct control of the files they are editing due to the dominance of distributed version control. Distributed version control for software is often coupled with ‘Developer Operations’ or DevOps tools to automate critical processes and facilitate communication. This paper explores how DevOps workflows can be adapted for open development of hardware. An example of how DevOps for hardware (HardOps) can be implemented is provided by the OpenFlexure Microscope project. While much ground remains to be broken in this field, HardOps can support a new paradigm of distributed hardware development, with enormous benefits not only for open-source hardware, but also commercial hardware.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297-1309
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing
Issue number12
Early online date7 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022


  • Collaborative design
  • DevOps
  • open design
  • product data
  • Product Lifecycle Management
  • version control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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