July 24, 2007 - InfoWorld Review and Open Source Example

InfoWorld has just published a review of AgitarOne version 4.1.1 where we received a rating of 8.1 or "Very Good". The reviewer spent plenty of time getting his hands dirty and came up with an evaluation we're proud of:
"…AgitarOne is an easy-to-use workgroup product that greatly facilitates the use of unit tests and helps sites get as much benefit as possible from this activity. The result is shorter QA and debugging cycles and much better predictability of the software process. For many sites with large, important Java projects, this solution is attractive and compelling. All such sites are likely to derive value that far exceeds the cost."

This is strong praise from a seasoned reviewer, Andrew Binstock, who is a frequent contributor to InfoWorld, SD Times etc., Platypus wrangler and one of the JOLT award judges. That said, he didn't shrink away from mentioning a couple issues he encountered during his review. As the product manager I'm very pleased with the praise and happy to say those issues are addressed in our recent 4.2 release.

As a long time open source advocate and contributor I find the root cause of the problems Andrew encountered interesting, and a good example of what has made open source so successful. Like a lot of companies we embed various open source components in our server product including Tomcat and CruiseControl. Being able to use these pre-built pieces is a huge time saver. It lets us focus on making our core technology really rock rather than writing generic infrastructure. The downside is discovering surprising integration issues. In this case we learned that when Tomcat would redeploy our .WAR on Windows (something it shouldn't have been doing in the first place) it would break the installation, deleting files but not replacing them from the WAR. A nasty bug... but easily fixed once we discovered the problem. (We now ship our webapps pre-deployed rather than has WARs.)

We also encountered a problem that when CruiseControl was running under Tomcat it had some non-daemon threads running that prevented the server for shutting down. But hey, this is open source right? We were able to take the CruiseControl code and fix it so that the server would shut down properly.

Yes, the fact I'm a committer on CruiseControl is helpful, but not essential. The CruiseControl project benefits from patches like this all the time. And it is that pooling of effort and experience into a shared resource that makes open source projects so valuable. This time it was our turn to contribute, but it is a small price to pay to be able to focus on making our core technology the best in the world at what it does.

(Want to give it a try yourself? If you're interested in the product you can sign-up for a 10-day evaluation of AgitarOne. You can also try the technology any time for free at JUnitFactory.)

Posted by Jeffrey Fredrick at July 24, 2007 09:51 PM

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