Xebialabs_CS_Spring_2013.pdf

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Spring Saves Time While Driving Innovation and Creativity: XebiaLabs

XebiaLabs, a subsidiary of Xebia based in the Netherlands, was established to develop deployment automation solutions for Java EE applications. Deployit, the company’s first product, is a complete deployment lifecycle management solution that enables users to manage their middleware environments and predictably execute and automate application deployments.

Challenge

When Xebia created XebiaLabs to develop a new Java deployment application, the company had to decide what platform to build the application on. Most of the XebiaLabs developers had experience with Java EE prior to working at Xebia, and the challenges they had faced made it clear that a new platform was needed.

“In Java EE, we spent most of our time writing our own web framework, security framework, and all the other framework components, before we finally got around to writing actual business code,” says Vincent Partington, CTO, XebiaLabs, recalling Java development in the past.

Partington explains that they couldn’t just build the framework once and then use it in every project. The framework required continuous maintenance and upgrades. According to Partington, 25% of their time was spent writing, maintaining and modifying the framework. One-third of the team worked exclusively on the framework, and these were more costly resources because of the level of expertise required.

“In the end, it impacted the end-user experience,” Partington continues, “because we spent so much time on the framework, we had less time to spend on developing features for the user.”

“Applications had more bugs in the past,” Partington adds. “When we wrote the framework code it would never be the

same quality as a product that has been debugged and proven by thousands of projects.”

Solution

As the development platform for the Deployit application, XebiaLabs chose Spring – the de facto standard platform to build, run and manage enterprise Java applications.

“Using Spring was a no-brainer for me,” says Partington. “Spring is the way to develop enterprise Java applications. I am more comfortable with Spring and the services it provides.”

BUSINESS Benefits

Spring delivers the following business results to Xebialabs:

Reduced Development Time

“Spring saves us a lot of time and energy,” Partington confirms, noting that Spring eliminates the 25% of development time previously spent on the framework. “When we use Spring, we don’t have that problem of constantly working on building, maintaining and updating the framework. It could easily take a month or more.”

Focus on Features

“We don’t have to do anything with Spring, it just works,” Partington says. “So, we can spend time on our own features, rather than on framework issues. 98% of our energy goes into our business logic, rather than figuring out how to make everything work. That is the biggest accomplishment of Spring.”

Greater Innovation and Creativity

The flexibility and power of Spring enables XebiaLabs developers to innovate and be more creative in solution approaches. Every month, the company sets aside an entire day just for experimentation, and if any new discoveries are successful, XebiaLabs develops them further. Spring also reduces the risk of innovation, because if any experiment does not work out, the company has not invested much time or money.

“Spring helps our developers come up with creative new solutions, and makes it fun,” Partington explains. “Developers experiment with innovative new ideas because they can do that in Spring. Usually within a day we can get a feel for whether something is going to work or not, and that is because Spring makes it so easy.”

Responsiveness to Market Needs

Because XebiaLabs is pioneering a new and evolving market, they are still figuring out exactly what their customers need. The market can change very quickly, and Spring gives XebiaLabs the flexibility to respond quickly to those changes.

“Spring allows us to be agile and quickly adapt our product to changing market needs,” Partington states. “Having a platform like Spring makes it easy to change quickly, supports our agile development methodologies, and makes it possible for us to better compete in the market.”

Fast Developer Ramp Up

Spring is easy to use, which reduces developer ramp up time at XebiaLabs and enables new developers to become productive on projects faster. Partington also says that most of the ramp up time is spent learning the business problem and how they solve it, not the framework. In the end, this provides greater support for XebiaLabs’ business objectives.

More Economical Resources

The fact that Spring is easy to use has a tangible economic impact on XebiaLabs as well, because the company can leverage lower cost Java development resources rather than expensive framework experts.

Improved Application Quality

“Our applications have higher quality in Spring because the components have already been well tested,” Partington concludes. “I can rely on Spring’s quality – in fact, I have never encountered a Spring bug. It also saves us time because we can use all these services, but don’t have to test them ourselves. In addition, we can test our own application easier in Spring, which further strengthens application quality.”

At-a-glance

Key Benefits

  • Reduced Development Time – Cut by 25%
  • Focus on Features – 98% of Time Spent On Business Logic
  • Greater Innovation and Creativity
  • Responsiveness to Market Needs
  • Fast Developer Ramp Up
  • More Economical Resources
  • Improved Application Quality

“We don’t have to do anything with Spring, it just works. So, we can spend time on our own features, rather than on framework issues. 98% of our energy goes into our business logic, rather than figuring out how to make everything work.”

— Vincent Partington, CTO, XebiaLabs

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