Are Developers finally starting to Understand DevOps?

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Software developers remain a curious and opinionated bunch. Over the last few decades they tend to adapt slowly to new methodologies, with DevOps offering little exception to this golden rule. A recent survey reveals things are finally beginning to change, as it shows application engineers beginning to actually “get” DevOps.

Of course, we recently wrote about network administrators feeling DevOps is all about the “Dev” in the first place. What follows is an analysis of the survey to see what these changing opinions mean for the process of software engineering. Perhaps you might gain an insight or two to help your own team’s project work?

Survey says DevOps makes Software Development Faster

Most organizations implementing DevOps do so in the hopes of making their software development process faster and more efficient. A survey of software engineers, CTOs, and IT pros by application maker, GitLab, notes that these wishes appear to be coming true. News about the survey appeared last month on the Developer Tech website.

According to the GitLab study, two-thirds of those polled feel DevOps greatly improves the speed of the software development process. This 65 percent moves upwards to 81 percent when only taking into account the opinion of managers. 29 percent of those surveyed plan new DevOps investments in the current year.

The best shops using the methodology are able to spend at least half of their workday actually writing code. Changes get deployed on demand. In short, these top organizations are twice as productive as those whose DevOps implementation is either immature or nonexistent.

Challenges to Efficient Application Engineering Remain

In their survey, GitLab highlighted a few challenges to the software development process. Two-thirds of the respondents noted the lack of clear direction on application engineering projects. Slightly over half mentioned the need for rework and unexpected scope creep, while 31 percent felt unrealistic expectations hampered their efforts.

Leveraging automated processes to improve efficiency is a high priority at 60 percent of the surveyed organizations. Around 90 percent of those companies are currently using Agile, DevOps, or a mixture of both. 16 percent are still using the venerable Waterfall methodology for some or all of their development work.

Continuous testing also plays an important role in the ultimate success of any company’s DevOps adoption, a concept highlighted by Razi Siddiqui, SVP and CIO at GCi Technologies. “It’s a key indicator that your DevOps/agile practice is mature, and your QA strategy must take into account that 100% test automation is not practical – nor is it possible,” said Siddiqui.

Sid Sijbrandij, CEO and co-founder of GitLab, commented on their survey conclusions. “The survey reveals software professionals finally see the need for DevOps in their workflow and are beginning to adapt their workstyle in order to make this a reality. Despite the progress in the shift in mindset, current DevOps practices are not cutting it. Instead of a single application that accomplishes the goals of both Dev and Ops, many glue together the tools for the two departments, which has proven to be an ineffective means for collaboration,” said Sijbrandij.

It definitely appears that any enterprise software development not using DevOps runs the risk of being left behind in today’s business landscape. Thanks for reading this edition of the Betica Blog. Keep returning for additional insights on the wide world of software development.

A Source Code Search Engine makes Programming more Efficient

No matter your experience level as a software engineer, being able to quickly find code examples helps make your job a bit easier. Most developers know how to write a complex Google search query, as well as being able to navigate GitHub. Nonetheless, having a dedicated source code search engine offers the potential to become more efficient at writing software.

A nascent software developer feels the same way, and is working on a search engine dedicated to finding those valuable code snippets that inspire a solution to a pressing problem. This approach also offers the potential to make learning new languages an easier process. Let’s take a closer look at his efforts.

Learning New Programming and discovering New Functionality

After being exposed to software engineering as part of his college education, Canadian developer, Anthony Nguyen felt there had to be a better way to find relevant code examples. Sure, a Google search helps somewhat, but what about a dedicated search engine specifically for source code? Nguyen began work on SyntaxDB, a tool he hopes to someday be an essential part of any developer’s toolbox.

Michael Byrne first reported on Nguyen’s efforts earlier this year at Motherboard on Vice.com. If Nguyen makes SyntaxDB a success, it becomes another key to making the modern software development team work more efficiently. Interested developers are able to use this emerging resource today.

Byrne notes the tool’s utility for seeing how a common code pattern or piece of functionality gets written in an unfamiliar language. Considering the rapid rate of change in the software development world, new languages and functional libraries get introduced regularly. Having SyntaxDB at the ready helps to speed up the learning process for any programmer.

The Developer Community helping SyntaxDB build its Content

One current weakness noted by Byrne involves SyntaxDB’s relative lack of reference documentation. At the time of his article, it appeared Nguyen himself produced a lot of the internal content returned in the search results.

A robust community of developers willing to help add material to the SyntaxDB database has come to the rescue; potentially increasing the amount of content referenced by the search engine. It currently provides references to many popular languages, including Java, C, C++, C#, Ruby, Go, Swift, Python, and JavaScript.

Adding extensions to allow SyntaxDB to work within the most popular IDE’s is another way Nguyen needs support. He built one for Visual Studio Code and other contributor wrote one for Atom. Nguyen hopes to eventually integrate SyntaxDB into every major IDE and source code editor – a worthy goal, indeed.

Nguyen also wants input from other developers on how to refine the search engine’s interface. He also encourages developers to submit any corrections to the tool’s current source code examples. His current major project with SyntaxDB involves building an interface to easily allow content contributions from other software engineers.

With a goal of becoming the fastest programming reference in the world, Anthony Nguyen gives hope to developers struggling to learn a new programming language or simply how to do something new. Take some time to use SyntaxDB and offer feedback and even add some content of your own.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for further insights on the growing software development world. As always – thanks for reading!

Scale your Organization’s Cloud Operations using Fugue

While Cloud Computing continues to revolutionize the IT industry, DevOps supercharged the pace of this transformation over the last few years. Companies strive to achieve a competitive advantage by both improving efficiency and cutting costs, with Cloud-based technical infrastructures being a big part of this equation. Increasingly these firms use Fugue, an automated tool to assist in the governance of Cloud operations.

Let’s take a high level overview of Fugue and its functionality to see if it makes sense as part of your organization’s Cloud investment. If you are looking at turning DevOps into DevSecOps, it might be the perfect fit.

What is Fugue?

At its heart, Fugue provides automated services for regulatory compliance and corporate policies as they relate to a Cloud infrastructure. It uses a code-based model to facilitate this infrastructure management, thus lending itself to a higher level of regulation, especially at firms implementing DevSecOps. Companies use Fugue as the “single source of truth” when operating and managing their Cloud-based technical assets.

Fugue uses a classical music metaphor to describe its functionality. The programming language used in the application is called Ludwig. Individual programs are known as compositions, while the automation server is called the Conductor. Chef, another Cloud infrastructure management tool, uses food-based metaphors in a similar manner.

Ludwig offers a host of features suitable for software engineers, including types, code validation, and a module-based architecture, allowing complex designs to be broken down into individual abstractions. It facilitates collaboration as well as the documentation that is vital in a regulatory compliance scenario. Once again, this approach illustrates the blurring of technical roles which is a major aspect of DevOps itself.

Scenarios where using Fugue makes Sense

Organizations embracing DevOps with the hope of automating their Cloud operations make up the core of Fugue’s user community. It automates all aspects of CloudOps, including the creation, operation, and maintenance of any size infrastructure. As usage needs increase, the system scales in a seamless fashion – an important consideration in the modern technology world.

It also plays well with other DevOps tools used for Continuous Integration, including Jenkins, Travis, and CircleCI. This helps automate the entire lifecycle of any organization’s Cloud-based infrastructure. Ludwig compositions are also able to be stored in a source code repository, including Git and GitHub.     

The tool truly shines in the management of Cloud-based infrastructures where cybersecurity and regulatory compliance are highly important. As noted earlier, Ludwig makes the creation of vital system documentation an easy process. Fugue supports traditional IT processes relevant to compliance, like change control and policy enforcement – all in an automated fashion.

Companies with an investment in container technology, such as Docker, also benefit from being able to easily create and manage virtual Cloud-based environments. Fugue includes a “no-op” operational mode to properly vet any infrastructure changes before they go live in production. Remember that everything gets documented and stored in source control

In short, Fugue needs to be considered as a valuable tool by any company who relies on the Cloud for their technical operations. It is especially useful for organizations embracing DevSecOps or that require strong regulatory compliance. 

Keep returning to the Betica Blog for additional insights from the software development world. Thanks for reading!