In this interview with Jeffrey Palermo, CEO of Clear Measure, Inc., learn about current trends in developer tools and how JetBrains products such as TeamCity and ReSharper can help you take advantage of existing business opportunities.
Hello and welcome Jeffrey. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and Clear Measure?
Hello and thank you. My name is Jeffrey Palermo. I am Managing Partner and CEO of Clear Measure, Inc. a business critical custom software engineering firm in Austin, TX. We build and modernize your critical software assets, and we help you run them through their entire lifecycle.
From the perspective of your company, what are the obstacles and opportunities in technology that businesses are faced with today and what’s the role of developer tools? How important are they?
Ten years ago development tools and companies seemed to be focused around application components: user interface, grids, controls. Applications were being deployed on a much less frequent basis than they are today. We were in the middle of a huge Agile transformation, and companies were moving from deploying maybe twice a year, to deploying once a week or even faster moving applications deploying once a day. Developer tools were trying to answer the question: How can I write this code more effectively, faster and at a higher quality? Nowadays, there has been such tremendous innovation in that area that many of the developer tools are super cheap, standardized, or are free and open sourced. Vendors have continued to innovate and now the Agile movement that started in 2001, which started with programmers and changed the way they wrote and tested code, has now infected project managers. Projects can be managed in smaller chunks at a more rapid pace. It has changed the way systems administrators manage servers and the applications running on them. DevOps, in a lot of ways, is the agile principles applied to IT operations and custom software systems. There is a surge in developer tools in the DevOps space, which is the space of repeatable, automated operations.
Tell us about Clear Measure’s training and consulting services and the involvement of JetBrains products in the solution? What’s your experience with our tools in house and with clients?
Clear Measure provides custom expert level training courses for engineering teams. We teach software architecture, engineering and development, continuous integration, automated testing, continuous delivery, application support and automated monitoring. We use state of the art modern environments for all of our training. We make the class the software engineering team and we put them in a frictionless engineering environment. They experience firsthand what is possible to accomplish in a short timeframe. In our training courses, engineers are able to move faster and accomplish more in a shorter period of time than they ever have in their entire career. It opens their minds to what is possible when the Agile principles are fully implemented to all of the software engineering techniques and the innovations of the DevOps principles are applied to every part of the deployment pipeline as well as the infrastructures the applications reside on. We use JetBrains Resharper for development of application features. TeamCity is used for continuous integration and subsequent test suites in the continuous delivery pipeline. We also use complementary products, such as OctopusDeploy and Psake, among others.
Is there a success story that you can tell us more about?
We have specifically used TeamCity with one of our clients to implement automated builds where they originally were only using manual. Through our partnership with this client they have started to get to an enterprise scale with continuous integration through TeamCity. Specifically, we have worked on a web portal used by financial advisors to generate reports to be able to provide insight to support their recommendations to their clients when purchasing certain assets. They previously had no automation whatsoever and now through our partnership they have been able to implement simple one-click deploys.
What advice can you give newcomers and seasoned veterans to get the most out of JetBrains tools?
Get them for everyone and train everyone. In the case of TeamCity one person can set it up and the entire team will benefit. Once you have multiple builds automated, the entire team can benefit. You still need to have a cultural change where everyone pays attention to the status of the build and rolls back the change in source control if the build fails. It won’t work if one person puts it in place and everyone else ignores it and lets the software build be perpetually broken. With Resharper, it’s not enough to only install it. It is very unobtrusive and will not get in your way. Resharper sits in the background and helps you navigate code. It helps you write, read, bind and change the code. If everyone is not trained how to use Resharper they won’t be able to see the value of it. One hour of training can be beneficial and useful for everyone in your organization. For seasoned veterans, very few people actually know all of the capabilities. There is always another capability to learn. New features are constantly being added.
What trends and major changes do you see in the training and consulting services market and how are you prepared to meet these challenges?
There are two parts in our space – application development work and running the software systems in production. Both spaces are changing at a rapid pace. In the IT operations space, servers are no longer the significant unit of work. Now it is the datacenter made up of many virtual servers that are all configured to run a single application component. Build and deployment tooling, including JetBrains TeamCity, is even more important in dynamically provisioned environments that use Infrastructure as Code to build and deploy successful software system releases. On the development side, software systems have become so complex, it is no longer sufficient to develop a single application to house every necessary feature, data processing job, and integration to serve the application’s users. Instead these larger applications need to be promoted to software system architectures, where the system is made up of multiple independent applications where the source code resides in it’s own depository. Navigating through code and understanding it quickly using Resharper is even more important. Building and releasing quickly is more important using TeamCity.
Thank you Jeffrey for your responses and we are excited to be working together. Is there anything else you that you would like to add?
We have used Resharper since version 2.0 in the .Net 1.1 days, it was fantastic back then and has continued to blow away the competition. Being an expert firm in this space, we are approached by other competitors so they could show us how their product is superior, but they all fall short of even reaching the level of productivity of our software engineers and clients. We have used TeamCity since it came out. It is stable, always works, and fades into the background so that the software systems it is building shine through.