How the year of value stream held up

Last year, SD Times declared that 2019 would be the year of the value stream as businesses started to look more into the value they were getting out of their IT processes.

“I can go in and solve my release process and improve my release time, but if I don’t look at how long it takes for that idea to go all the way through, then I miss time to market. Time to market and visual transformations right now is very, very important,” said Lance Knight, senior vice president at ConnectALL, an Orasi company.

However, with any new terminology and approach, it took some time throughout the year for the industry to really understand what value stream management was and how it could be used to gain an advantage. Eric Robertson, vice president of product management and strategy execution at CollabNet VersionOne, defined the term as “an improvement strategy that links the needs of top management with the needs of the operations group. It is a combination of people, process and technology. It is mapping, measuring, visualizing, and then being able to understand from your planning, your epics, your stories, your work items, through these heterogeneous tools all the way through your enterprise software delivery lines, being able to understand that what you’re delivering aligns with the business objectives, and you’re being effective there.”

And many companies jumped on value stream with the release of new products. 

CollabNet VersionOne focused its winter 2017 release on value stream management with new features and functionalities to help organizations collaborate and work intelligently.  The company also announced it would be acquired by TPG Capital in September for its enterprise DevOps and value stream management capabilities. In addition, TPG Capital provided $500 million of equity capital, which CollabNet plans to use to drive AI and value stream management throughout the enteprise. 

Planview released its new Agile Scaler offering in March to help extend Agile delivery across teams. It aims to connect multiple teams, tools and workflows to as well as provide visibility into the flow of work.

Cloudbees announced its Software Delivery Management Platform, Product Hub and Value Stream Management modules in August at DevOps World | Jenkins World. The new solution includes a central place for integrated visibility and orchestration, a policy engine, a dashboard for continuous improvement and retrospectives, real-time value stream management capabilities, and integrated feature flag management. 

Jama Software announced it would be offering a cloud version of Tasktop Integration Hub in September to enable customers to automate and visualize the flow of their software delivery value stream. It enabled teams to integrate Jama Connect with ALM, PLM, development and QA tools.  

Tasktop also had a number of its own value stream releases with the addition of test management integration capabilities to Integration Hub in May, and a partnership with Planview in May to extend its Agile Scaler offering and help teams transform and scale on their own terms and timeline. Tasktop also teamed up with Tricentis in September for improved quality throughout the software delivery value stream. Together the companies will provide test automation, information flow automation, and value stream metrics. Lastly, Tasktop announced the limited release of Tasktop Viz in October designed to measure the flow of business value in software delivery. 

By the end of the year, the importance of value stream management was evident. The next step, which will continue throughout next year, is to now apply new roles to the new way of thinking. According to Dominica DeGrandis, the new principal flow advisor at Tasktop — who spoke at the DevOps Enterprise Summit in Las Vegas in October — we can expect to see the program management office morph into a value management office with value stream architects, value stream product leads, and product journey owners and champions. 

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SD Times news digest: Public code search tool for AOSP, DataRobot acquires Paxata, and Visual Studio Code 1.41

Google introduced a code search feature with cross references for the Android Open Source Project.

With the new feature, users are able to view the source code, navigate cross references across the entire code base and switch between Android’s open source branches.

The Android repository is made up of a collection of git repositories which are managed together using our ‘repo’ tool. Because of this, most tools (such as github, gitweb, etc) can’t see the source code the way that it’s laid out when it’s checked out on the system. In partnership with our colleagues who run Google’s internal Code Search and Kythe, we’re pleased to present a code search tool that presents a view of all of the Android source code as you actually use it,” the AOSP team wrote in a post.

DataRobot acquires Paxata for end to end AI
DataRobot announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Paxata to bolster end-to-end AI capabilities. 

“By providing tools that help users build automation into their data prep processes, the Paxata acquisition will alleviate these pain points for customers and dramatically enhance their ability to achieve AI-driven outcomes rapidly,” the company wrote in a post.

As part of the acquisition, the companies unveiled integration into DataRobot’s AI Catalog, which will make it easier for business analysts and data scientists to prepare data for machine learning, the company explained.

Visual Studio Code 1.41 released
Microsoft released Visual Studio Code 1.41 with new features such as compact folders in Explorer, the ability to edit left side of diff views and updated search results while typing. 

The release also includes improvements to the problems panel and many notable fixes. 

The full list of improvements in Visual Studio Code 1.41 are available here.

Qt 5.14 released
Qt 5.14 was released with improvements and the addition of Qt Quick Timeline, which adds the ability to animate properties via timelines, and WheelHandler, an event handler for the mouse wheel. 

Qt explained that the 5.14 release is aims to start making Qt independent of the 3D graphics API provided by the operating system.  

“We are working on some larger changes to our graphics stack to prepare Qt for the challenges that lie ahead in terms of productivity, graphics API support and performance,” the company added in a blog post.

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2019: Java’s last year on top?

Following the new biannual release schedule that started in 2018, this year Java saw two major releases, Java 12 in March and Java 13 in September. 

Java 12 introduced features such as a new low pause time garbage collector, microbench suite, switch expressions, a JVM constraints API, and more. 

With Java 13, Oracle set out to improve the performance, stability, and security of the Java SE Platform and the Java Development Kit (JDK). This version introduced three major enhancements: dynamic CDS archives, the ability to uncommit unused memory, and a reimplementation of the Legacy Socket API. 

Java 13 also introduced two new preview features, Switch Expressions and text blocks, for developers to test out. Switch Expressions allows switch to be used either as a statement or expression. Text blocks are multi-line string literals that automatically get formatted in a predictable way. 

Another major change that had occurred in 2018 was the transfer of Java EE from Oracle to the Eclipse Foundation. The move was announced in 2017, and the Eclipse Foundation changed its name to Jakarta EE in February 2018.

Even in 2019, the transition continued. One of the major milestones it reached in 2019 was that it now operates under an “open, vendor-neutral community-driven process.” The Eclipse Foundation’s executive director, Mike Milinkovich, commented that this model would allow for more innovation in Java. 

While Java still remains the most popular programming language according to many accounts, several reports throughout the year, such as the TIOBE Index and JetBrains’ State of Developer Ecosystem 2019 report, predicted that Python would soon overtake it as the top programming language. 

A recent GitHub report found that Python actually did surpass Java in popularity in GitHub repositories. Its 2019 State of the Octoverse placed JavaScript as the most popular language, Python as the second most popular, and Java as the third most popular. According to GitHub, this was the first time that Python had surpassed Java. 

In addition to competition from Python, Kotlin is likely reducing some of Java’s share as well, especially since Google started supporting it as a language for Android development. Kotlin is a language developed by JetBrains as a general-purpose, statically typed programming language for the Java Virtual Machine, Android, browsers, and more. 

In the coming years, Java will need to fight hard if it wants to keep its coveted spot as the top programming language. 

Oracle continues trying to evolve Java, and it currently has several projects in the works for facilitating innovation for Java, include: 

  • Valhalla, focused on introducing value types to Java
  • Panama, which is about updating the form function for Java
  • Loom, which focuses on scaling Java
  • Amber, which is focused on finding ways to simplify the language
  • Metropolis, which is trying to see how much of the JVM can be written in Java so that both JVM and Java can evolve faster

Oracle’s Georges Saab, vice president of engineering for Java Standard Edition, explained that the reason for these projects is because feature releases are now every six months. It’s hard to solve the harder problems of the language in that time frame, so these projects serve as a place where problems can be worked on more long term. 

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SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Apache APISIX

Apache APISIX is a cloud-native microservices API gateway that entered the Apache Incubator in October. The API gateway is intended to handle interface traffic for websites, mobile and IoT applications. 

“At some point, traditional monolithic application architectures simply are not able to scale anymore. Inevitably, this happens to every successful software project that is based on a monolithic architecture, no matter how well the application was originally architected or how much care and effort went into the maintaining a high level of code quality,” the team wrote in a whitepaper.

“The APISIX will help speed development time and support configurable plugins for enterprise personality configuration,” the team added “APISIX is based on Nginx and etcd. Compared with traditional API gateways, APISIX has dynamic routing and plug-in hot loading, which is especially suitable for API management under micro-service system.”

It includes dynamic load balancing to balance across multiple upstream services, additional security layers such as ACL, CORS, Dynamic SSL and IP restriction. It also has traffic control, analytics, monitoring and logging plugins. 

Using AWS’s 8 core server, APISIX’s QPS reached 140,000 with a latency of only 0.2 ms, the team explained.

The full list of APISIX capabilities is available here.

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Microsoft innovates across the board

2019 was Microsoft’s year. After a strong 2018 — a main highlight of which was its acquisition of GitHub — the company kept up that momentum into 2019. 

Last year, our yearly review of Microsoft focused heavily on Azure. Microsoft invested heavily into its cloud platform last year, and it paid off. This year, things aren’t so simple. The company continued its investment into Azure, but outside of cloud, it revealed significant innovations across the board — from a remote version of Visual Studio to new AI-enabled solutions to new foldable devices and a new operating system to go with them.  

In May, Microsoft revealed Visual Studio Online, which is a web-based version of Visual Studio. Visual Studio Online allows developers to open, edit, and debug code that has been stored remotely. It is intended to be used as a remote companion to the native IDE or VS Code, not a replacement, Microsoft explained.

This year the company also greatly expanded its capabilities for creating and deploying IoT solutions. In 2019 alone, the company released over 100 services targeted at IoT. In October, it released updates to IoT Central, Azure IoT Hub, Azure Maps, and Azure Time Series Insights. Microsoft also plans to make its IoT security solution Azure Sphere generally available in February 2020. 

The company also announced that it would be merging the .NET Framework and .NET Core into a single solution. This technically hasn’t happened yet, as the company is starting this with the release of .NET 5, which is scheduled for release in 2020. Microsoft explained that all of the things that developers love about .NET Core will remain, but .NET 5 will also provide more choices on runtime experiences, Java interoperability on all platforms, and Objective-C and Swift interoperability on multiple operating systems. 

Microsoft also entered the foldable screen game with the announcement of two foldable Surface devices that are expected to hit the market for the 2020 holidays. To support these two devices, Surface Neo and Surface Duo, the company developed a new operating system designed for dual-screen devices. Called Windows 10X, the operating system is an extension of Windows 10. It will have similar navigation and functionality to Windows 10, but will have enhancements that optimize it for more flexible postures and mobile use. 

In 2019, the company released several versions of TypeScript, the most recent of which was TypeScript 3.7, announced at Microsoft Ignite. A highly requested feature that was introduced in 3.7 is optional chaining, which allows developers to write code that can immediately stop running if it encounters a null or undefined. 

Also, at Ignite, the company announced it made several enhancements to Microsoft 365, including updates to Teams, a new mobile app for Office, a public preview of the Fluid Framework, a new version of Microsoft Project, AI-enabled Cortana capabilities, a redesigned version of Yammer, and new features in Microsoft Search. They also announced a new knowledge sharing solution called Project Cortex. 

Project Cortex is an evolution in knowledge sharing within organizations. It uses AI to parse through content created by an organization, then pushes that information to relevant locations for business users to access. Project Cortex creates a knowledge center, made up of topic cards, people cards, and topic pages. The solution allows business users to make sense of their data and share knowledge in ways they previously couldn’t.

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dtSearch announces new database indexer

Enterprise and developer text retrieval solution provider dtSearch has announced a new database indexer add-on designed to extend its “off the shelf” research. The database indexer enables SQL indexing without any programming.

According to the company, without the indexer users will have to search SQL data with the dtSearch Engine SDK as well as C++, Java or .NET/.NET Core APIs. With the indexer, users can search SQL data either locally or remotely and on Azure or AWS. 

“What the Database Indexer does is to extend dtSearch’s instantly responsive fuzzy searching, phonic searching, relevancy ranking, synopsis options and the like to the SQL database,” said Ray Harris, CEO of dtSearch UK.  “The result is an easy to deploy, high availability SQL search system.”

The new database indexer also helps with terabyte indexing, and can create and search any number of indexes as well as perform incremental updates. 

Other updates the company is making today include: multithreaded, concurrent searching; more than 25 search options; document filters and supported data types; and updates to the dtSearch Engine SDK.

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Dart 2.7 released to be safer and more expressive

The Dart 2.7 SDK has been released. Dart is a client-optimized programming language designed by Google. The latest release is meant to be “a safer, more expressive” version of Dart.

Version 2.7 comes with added support for extension methods, a new package for handling strings with special characters, an update on null safety and a new null safety playground experience in DartPad.

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The new extension method support allows developers to add new functionality to any type and have the brevity and auto-complete experience of regular method calls. Extension methods are resolved and dispatched statically, which means users can’t call them on values whose type is ‘dynamic,’ Michael Thomsen, product manager for Dart and Flutter, wrote in a post.

“We call the feature extension methods because that’s familiar terminology if you’ve used the corresponding language feature in other programming languages,” Thomsen wrote. ”But in Dart the feature is more general: it also supports extending classes with new getters, setters, and operators.”

In addition, the new characters package supports strings viewed as sequences of user-perceived characters (Unicode grapheme clusters) to handle cases that require iterating over the characters of a string or manipulating the contents of a string, the team explained.

The team also said they are working on completing a first beta release of null safety in the Dart SDK. The null safety playground is a special build of DartPad that contains a technical preview of the static analysis part of the null safety feature.

A new Like feature has also been added for packages to allow users to indicate which packages they’re fond of. 

Dart 2.7 is available now as an SDK download from, and it’s also built into the Flutter 1.12 release.

“2019 has been an incredibly exciting year for Dart, but we’re not stopping here. We have bold plans for 2020, including shipping stable versions of features like dart:ffi and null safety and introducing new features,” Thomsen wrote.

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Atlassian welcomes third-party developers into the cloud with Forge

Atlassian is introducing a new cloud development platform designed to open the Atlassian ecosystem to third-party developers. Forge, which is currently in a cloused beta, was built for developers to build and run their enterprise-ready cloud apps with Atlassian solutions. 

“Today, the Atlassian Ecosystem has grown into a community of more than 25,000 members – consisting of in-house developers who build custom apps for their teams and third-party developers who build apps for the Atlassian Marketplace,” the company wrote in a post. ‘The real value, however, comes from the power of extensions to expand the functionality of the Atlassian platform and help teams achieve more each day.”

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According to Atlassian, its ecosystem includes more than 4,000 apps and integrations and even more private applications. In addition, Mike Tria, head of infrastructure at Atlassian, explained more than 60% of customers leverage a third-party application. 

Forge will address current trends Atlassian is seeing in the industry. The platform consists of three components: A serverless FaaS hosted platform, a declarative UI language, and a DevOps toolchain.

The FaaS platform is powered by AWS Lambda and takes away the orchestration complexity for developers as well as authentication, identity, scaling and tenancy problems, Tria explained. 

The platform’s UI declarative language handles the process of rendering, provides consistency, and aims to simplify the way developers build native app UIs. 

Lastly, the Forge CLI enables developers to easily access necessary information.

“Forge solves very real problems for developers by removing some of the complexity (and cost!) associated with cloud app development. Creating apps for most cloud ecosystem platforms means that developers are responsible for building, hosting, and operating an entirely independent web service – which requires expertise in cloud architecture and management,” the team wrote. 

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Test environment management an obstacle to continuous testing, report finds

Companies may be shifting testing left, but lack of access to internal services as well as external services can delay testing and cause unnecessary bottlenecks.

According to the Sogeti 2019 Continuous Testing report, test environments are one of the biggest bottlenecks to achieving continuous testing. The survey results reveal the inordinate amount of time that organizations spend on test environment management as well as some of the key challenges in this area.

Time came up as a key issue when respondents were asked about – “test environment-related challenges that impeded efforts to improve the software development lifecycle (SDLC).” Participants gave the highest weighting to “wait times and cost for environment provisioning” (36% of respondents) and “complexity of needed applications” (36%), followed by “inability to identify defects early in the testing process” (33%).

RELATED CONTENT: Don’t become a statistic: How to save your failing software development initiatives 

This is where service virtualization can come in.

Service virtualization (SV) simulates or “mocks” unavailable systems by emulating their dynamic behavior, data, and performance. This means that teams can work in parallel for faster delivery. 

Mock services or service virtualization are critical for when the application or module you are developing and testing is dependent on the other services or systems regardless whether external or internal. Such dependencies could cause major testing bottlenecks, as they may not be easily available when you need them, or they may have constraints like costs or limited control over data it returns.

Mock services remove these dependencies and also help to control the behavior of the dependencies by simulating the service using the endpoint provisioned by you – and this moves your testing to the next level. You can read this blog post on the benefits and concepts behind Mock services and service virtualization concept in general.

The Sogeti report continues, “We have also seen a few positive developments in terms of the adoption of virtualization, containerization, and tool-based automation. These trends are likely to strengthen in the future as organizations realize that virtualization and containerization are absolutely necessary to meet the demands of Agile and DevOps on a limited budget. The next two to three years are also likely to see organizations opting for increased levels of automation, particularly for solutions that automatically tell them about the impact that changes in functional requirements will have on test cases.”

Service virtualization shifts left 
As continuous testing becomes the norm for successful application delivery, service virtualization is shifting left and becoming more available to developers who want to test earlier in the testing cycle. 

Rather than waiting for the end of the testing cycle, and relying on service virtualization as a pre-production only tool, SV has become democratized, with developers creating mock environments for smaller unit tests, throughout the SDLC.

Tools like WireMock and CodeSV can help developers to create mock services so they are not reliant on enterprise service virtualization support, and users can even integrate enterprise service virtualization capabilities with BlazeMeter, so that developers across all teams can create virtual services to test faster and more effectively. 

Sign up for our webinar here to learn more about service virtualization and how it can help you test faster, and with less bottlenecks in 2020.


Content provided by SD Times and Broadcom.

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SD Times news digest: Informatica updates its Intelligent Data Platform, Bonitasoft announces low-code collaboration tools, and Crystal 0.32.0

Informatica announced several AI-powered updates to its Intelligent Data Platform, including an AI-driven catalog of catalogs, a data marketplace and a data quality cloud. 

According to the company, key updates for the catalog include new advanced metadata scanners for business intelligence tools, data provisioning and improvements to its performance and scalability with Spark profiling. 

In addition, the company explained the new data marketplace featured in Axon Data Governance provides a one-stop shop for line of business users to discover, browse, request, and access trusted enterprise data.

The full details on the updates are available here.

Bonitasoft announces low-code collaboration tools
Bonitasoft announced that the Bonita platform is now available with advanced low-code features that aim to provide better collaboration between citizen developers and professional developers.

The platform now offers an event-based monitoring of platform execution, compatible with new standards in Prometheus. It also offers extended AI algorithms in the Bonita Intelligent Continuous Improvement add-on mine live application process data and show trends

“With the Bonita platform and its add-ons, we are offering more options that empower citizen developers in specific ways, not to create full freestanding enterprise apps, but rather to be able to collaborate more effectively with the developers, DevOps, and system administrators, and others in the automation project technical team,” said Miguel Valdes Faura, the CEO of Bonitasoft.

Crystal 0.32.0 released
Crystal 0.32.0 has been released with improvements in std-lib and tools and important changes in concurrency. Crystal is an object-oriented programming language. 

The latest release also includes some language changes such as the boolean negation method ‘!’ now being called as a regular method call as ‘expr !.’

The full list of changes in the new release are available here.

Oculus adds hand tracking on Quest
Oculus announced that it added hand tracking on Oculus Quest this week, allowing users to interact with VR without using controllers. 

With the new SDK rolling out next week, developers and creators now have the power to unlock controller-free hand interactions in Quest apps for the first time, the company explained. 

“We hope hand tracking will make VR more approachable for newcomers to try by removing the need to learn controller functions. And for those who own Quest, when the hardware melts away you can be fully immersed in the magic of VR while connecting with others in a seamless, intuitive way,” Oculus wrote in a post.

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