Trading Technologies centralizes the build process

With what could sometimes be 50 active projects on the go, the development environment at Trading Technologies Inc. lacked the flexibility required of its 300 developers.


The homegrown development platform, in use for four years, worked for about 80 per cent of time “but there was that 20 per cent we weren’t fulfilling,” said Joanne Wilson, vice-president of configuration management with the Chicago, Ill.-based company.


During the build process, developers had no visibility into what got changed and by whom. They also needed to occasionally insert custom work in the middle of a build and be able to add digital signatures and juggle around files.


Trading Technologies deployed ElectricCommander, a development platform from Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Electric Cloud.


One notable benefit of eliminating a set of time-consuming parallelized steps in the build process, said Wilson, is the reduced setup time to 10 minutes. “In the old days, we had a 16-step build and it was done sequentially… a build could take just for prep time 45 minutes before we even got to compiling,” said Wilson.


Engineers also have a central controller through which to manage how build scripts get pushed out to build machines, allowing them to deliver scripts to across multiple machines.


These are typical challenges facing any organization in the software market space, said Mike Maciag, CEO with Electric Cloud. Software development companies, said Maciag, are “literally decades behind” manufacturing companies that have had time to refine production process into one that is automated, reproducible and fast. Given the software industry is relatively newer, Maciag said such companies have up till now been more focused on writing software than on pushing products to market.


The ElectricCommander platform gives development teams “one big green button to push” given it centralizes the building, testing and deploying process, said Maciag.

Besides automating and accelerating existing processes, Maciag said the platform also gives engineers a holistic view of all projects by integrating previously separate reports. It’s like “taking an opaque process and making it as clear as we possibly can,” said Maciag.


Another typical challenge facing development teams that the platform addresses, said Maciag, is allocating development and computing resources across projects.
When it comes to applying agile development techniques, Maciag said the platform allows engineers to reduce build failures by doing a “pre-flight build and test before checking in” the code.


Moving forward, Wilson said Trading Technologies will explore continuous integration building for larger teams.


Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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