Vendor news, 3/12/2010

Go West: There’s a new release of Go. Features include authentication on pipelines, and enhanced templating and reporting.

We built this team city on rock and roll: New Team City release. With overdue Maven improvements, bundler support, and a safer upgrade procedure (that one used to hurt).

Like thunder and lightning: Electric Cloud have been busy. There’s support for Android and Visual Studio in Electric Accelerator, and they’ve reduced a lighter (and cheaper) version of Electric Commander. I spoke to EC’s Usman Muzaffar about that:

Me: Why does android support matter?
Usman: All the mobile device providers (most of whom are Electric Cloud customers) are doing Android development of some sort. Here’s a new platform, with a new codebase, and extensibility points, and some (relatively) new tools: Git, Gerritt all wrapped into some really old tools (linux, gcc, Make) and has the classic problem: how do I set up a production/release infrastructure that’s fast, easy, flexible and scalable? Electric Cloud solutions attack this problem head-on by making sure that dev teams doing Android can spin up the software factory to efficiently build/test/release product without asking them to jettison either the new cool tools or the old reliable ones. We also provide integration to support shared pools of test devices which are accessible to the build system.

Me: Is the market for Android devs big enough to worry about?
Usman: Yes! As noted above: all of our biggest customers have multiple projects of varying size underway. Android has clearly established itself as a critical platform that major handset, telecom and networking shops are watching carefully to ensure compatibility with their part of the stack.

Me: What’s the difference between the full Electric Commander edition and the workgroup edition?
Usman: Size of the deployment: Workgroup has all the same power, it just limits the number of concurrent users and hosts that can be enabled.

[ye gods, it’s the Windows NT license come back!]

Me: Can you integrate this with an in-flight project?
Usman: Very easy to get started; whatever commands/scripts/tools are currently used to launch the build/test/release process, simply import them into ElectricCommander. The “day zero” integration is easy and has immediate benefits: the build is centralized, metrics are collected, reports can be generated and driven, the whole team has access. All this just by pasting a command line into a web form: no need to re-write or change any part of your existing infrastructure.

[ I must try this out … ]

Me: How does this compare with TeamCity and Cruise?
Usman: TeamCity and Cruise are capable workgroup-level CI servers. They’re very prescriptive in how they work, laying out steps to follow via a wizard. We have that wizard, too, for customers wishing to use it. But one click away is the full power of the ElectricCommander interface, which lets you define completely arbitrary procedures, nest and parallelize them, build complex workflows out of simple parts, integrate with a wide variety of ALM tools, and completely manage the entire build/test/deploy process, including the part of that that is CI.

Update: Jetbrains weren’t drawn on that. Yegor from JetBrains had a personal comment to make. (more here) They don’t really seem to view the UI as a key feature. I have a suspicion that they sell to an entirely different market.

UI over XML configuration is a strong thing. Not that much for a super-expert user, but usually a big issue for part-time server maintainer. It takes only several users’ feedback cases to understand how much user’s time is saved by quick access to administration via UI (and users value that!). We do not consider administration UI a “key” TeamCity feature, just “must have” one 🙂
But if one loves to hack XML – here you are: all the TeamCity configuration is stored on disk for administrator to edit. The changes are applied immediately, without server restart.

Response from ThoughtWorks to come.

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2 thoughts on “Vendor news, 3/12/2010

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