NARROWING THE AFRICAN DIGITAL DIVIDE WITH SD-WAN

While many countries of Africa have experienced some of the fastest GDP growth rates in the world, and despite 4 billion people worldwide now connected to the Internet, the African Continent still suffers from the highest costs globally for broadband and mobile data, as well as the slowest Internet speeds, in some cases 40 times slower than the 5 fastest countries. According to Quartz , in general, African countries are not digitally competitive: none of the 39 ranked African countries achieved average speeds above 10Mbps, the minimum threshold required by consumers “to fully participate in a digital society” according to the UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom.

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Mainstream Technologies

Mainstream Technologies is an information technology services firm specializing in custom software development, managed IT services, cybersecurity services and hosting. We develop long-term relationships with our customers by understanding their needs and developing the right solution for each need.

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Transforming Development Workflows with Integrated Environments

Article | August 16, 2023

From coding to CI/CD integration, the future of integrated development environments plays a pivotal role of open-source communities. Learn about the top IDE providers leading in the tech industry. Contents 1. Introduction 2. The Strategic Importance of IDEs in Accelerating Development 3. Synergy with Modern Development Practices 3.1. Integrating IDEs with CI/CD Pipelines 3.2. Enhancing Agile Methodologies through Collaborative IDE Features 4. The New Frontier: IDE Integration with Microservices and Containers 4.1. Streamlining Microservices Development and Management within IDEs 4.2. Containerization Tools and Their Seamless Integration in Development environments 5. Top IDE Providers for Smooth Development 5.1. LANSA 5.2. Embarcadero Technologies 5.3. Idera, Inc. 5.4. Developer Express, Inc. 5.5. Devart 5.6. Eclipse Foundation 5.7. Mirantis 5.8. Wolfram 5.9. KDE 5.10. Qt Group 6. Final Thoughts 1. Introduction Integrated development environments(IDEs) serve as command centers for programmers due to the centralized nature of their platforms, facilitating the coding process. IDEs are the software programs that combine all the necessary software tools for development, thus streamlining workflow and management in integrated environments. Integrated development environments serve as critical platforms, enabling developers and engineers to solve and ease the complexities of programming with greater efficiency and precision. Historically, IDEs have evolved from basic text editors to sophisticated suites that support the intricate processes of software creation. Today, they are at a pivotal point of transformation, driven by technological advancements and the increasing demand for rapid innovation. This evolution is reshaping development workflows, aligning with the trends towards microservices and containerization, and enhancing collaborative efforts among developers. 2. The Strategic Importance of IDEs in Accelerating Development The importance of IDEs extends beyond mere convenience tools for coding; they are fundamental to the strategic decisions of technology companies. IDEs have significantly influenced the software development community by offering tools that facilitate the coding process. However, IDEs have assumed a new strategic function in the current era of digitalization, where time to market can determine the success or failure of a product. They must facilitate seamless integration with other systems, efficient debugging, and rapid prototyping, abilities that are not essential. Key Features of IDEs: Integrated development environments incorporate sophisticated code editors that provide functionality such as code navigation, syntax highlighting, and auto completion. It guarantees a streamlined coding process with a reduction in errors. Integrated tools simplify the debugging process by enabling programmers to rapidly identify and resolve issues within the code. Standard features include breakpoints, step-by-step debugging tools, and real-time variable investigation. Integrated development environments streamline the build procedure by automating it, thereby decreasing the probability of build errors. This aspect holds significant importance, especially in the context of larger initiatives that involve intricate dependencies. Version control integration is a common feature of IDEs. This integration enables developers to access change tracking, code repository administration, and collaborative functionalities, such as Git. Integrated development environments simplify the process of navigating between projects. Intelligent code suggestions and project-wide search capabilities enable developers to efficiently locate files and functions. Inbuilt code profiling and analysis tools facilitate performance optimization. Identifying bottlenecks and optimizing code for greater efficacy is a capability of developers. Coalescing the development stack, minimizing configuration overheads, intelligent automation are among the other features aiding in acceleration of development. 3. Synergy with Modern Development Practices Contemporary integrated development environments are outfitted with functionalities that mirror the current paradigm shift towards DevOps and serve as catalysts for the said shift. Contemporary integrated IDEs must feature real-time feedback loops in order to support the iterative development that Agile methodologies and continuous integration/delivery (CI/CD) require. By conserving time but substantially diminishing the cognitive burden on developers, these loops enable them to concentrate on constructing optimal software. 42.73% of professional developers use popular Node.js frameworks, libraries, tools, and IDEs, indicating a significant adoption of IDEs in specific programming language communities 3.1. Integrating IDEs with CI/CD Pipelines The integration and deployment of IDEs in CI/CD pipelines is a game-changer. It's more than just having an interface where a developer can check the status of a build. It is now about having a seamless experience where code is written, checked, built, tested, and deployed without the developer stepping out of the IDE. This integration reduces context switching, thereby saving precious time and maintaining the creative rhythm of development. The benefits of integrating IDEs with CI/CD pipelines includes significantly tightening of feedback loops, allowing for rapid bug detection and fixing. Key prerequisites for this integration include a properly configured development environment, version control synchronization, and an operational CI/CD tool. Developers should ensure their IDEs are seamlessly connected to version control systems like Git and the CI/CD pipeline, allowing for real-time tracking, committing of changes, and direct feedback within the development environment. With proper configuration and implementation, IDE-CI/CD integration can bring significant agility and reliability to the software development process. So, it is important for developers continuously monitor and optimize their CI/CD pipelines for better performance. 3.2. Enhancing Agile Methodologies through Collaborative IDE Features Agile methodologies have revolutionized software development, emphasizing collaboration and continuous improvement. Real-time Code Collaboration: IDEs offer real-time code collaboration features that allow multiple developers to work on the same codebase simultaneously. This fosters collaboration and speeds up development. Integrated Communication Tools: IDEs often come with integrated communication tools, such as chat or video conferencing, which facilitate quick and efficient communication within teams. Code Review and Feedback: Code review and feedback are crucial components of Agile methodologies. With IDEs, code review can be done in real-time, and feedback can be given directly within the IDE. Continuous Integration: As discussed earlier, IDEs integrated with CI/CD pipelines enable continuous integration, where changes are tested and merged into the main codebase frequently. This ensures that issues are caught early on and resolved quickly. By incorporating these collaborative features into their development process through IDEs, teams can effectively embrace Agile methodologies and deliver high-quality software efficiently. The global integrated development environment software market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22% in the forecast period of 2024-2032. Modern IDEs prioritize collaboration, often featuring live sharing, code reviews, and instant messaging to foster tight-knit development teams. These features support agile methodologies and cultivate a real-time development ecosystem. They offer features that allow developers to share and collaborate on code in real-time. These collaborative features break down barriers to teamwork, promoting a dev-culture where the collective expertise of the team is harnessed at each line of code. 4. The New Frontier: IDE Integration with Microservices and Containers The convergence of microservices and containerization within IDEs marks a significant shift towards more modular, scalable, and maintainable in the synergy of software development practices. This integration simplifies the development and deployment processes aligning with the industry's move towards DevOps practices, facilitating continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipelines for faster and more reliable software releases. 4.1. Streamlining Microservices Development and Management within IDEs The adoption of microservices architecture necessitates advanced orchestration capabilities to manage the complexity of multiple, interconnected services effectively. Integrated development environments that incorporate microservices support provide developers with a comprehensive overview of their application architecture, enhancing the efficiency of service creation and management. 4.2. Containerization Tools and Its Integration in Development In the prevailing container-first approach, IDEs serve as pivotal platforms for container orchestration. Through the integration of containerization tools such as Docker and Kubernetes, IDEs enable developers to seamlessly develop, deploy, and manage containerized applications within a unified development environment. The potential extends well beyond the native capabilities of integrated development environment benefits, offering a canvas where extensibility and integration with a myriad of third-party tools and services is encouraged. Implementing plugin architectures and customizability, leveraging on cloud-native IDEs, promoting a culture of tool agnosticism, where developers are not bound to a single language or ecosystem will continue to be the implications of IDE for deployment. Enabling multi-lingual and multi-paradigm development such that a single IDE can adeptly handle multiple languages and their intricacies will streamline the development processes. 5. Top IDE Providers for Smooth Development In the arena of IDEs, certain vendors have stood out for their innovation, foresight, and commitment to empowering developers with cutting-edge tools and user-friendly interfaces. Choosing the right IDE provider for any project is as important step as development and programming. 5.1. LANSA LANSA streamlines business operations with advanced integration and implementation solutions, enabling automation and efficient data exchange between applications and businesses. Its no-code platforms, LANSA Integrator and LANSA Composer, reduce manual efforts and IT resources, speeding up business processes and development. LANSA’s unique low-code environment allows for rapid cross-platform application development, combining the ease of low-code with the power of traditional coding. This approach significantly accelerates the creation, deployment, and management of enterprise-grade applications, enhancing productivity and fostering IT transformation. With LANSA, businesses can rapidly prototype, develop, and deploy integrated applications, achieving improved efficiency and competitive advantage. 5.2. Embarcadero Technologies Embarcadero's RAD Server offers a robust platform for rapidly developing and deploying services-based applications. It facilitates RESTful API publishing with JSON or XML, enhancing connectivity and integration with external databases, servers, and cloud services. RAD Server simplifies modernizing legacy applications into secure, scalable service-based architectures. Its comprehensive suite includes user management, push notifications, geolocation services, and built-in data storage. Additionally, RAD Server's ease of deployment and operation, combined with support for multi-tier architecture and built-in application services, positions it as a robust back-end for developing multi-platform UX applications. Embarcadero empowers developers to build high-performing, enterprise-level applications swiftly, supported by a global community and a legacy of innovation. 5.3. Idera, Inc. Idera, Inc. is a distinguished provider in the B2B software industry, renowned for its commitment to delivering user-centric solutions that enable technical users to make informed real-time decisions in their businesses. With over 20 years of innovation, Idera, Inc. has cultivated a portfolio of brands that are trusted for their ability to offer intuitive, elegant solutions across database administration, application development, and test management. Its products stand at the forefront of hyper-growth markets, including business process modeling, IoT, and disruptive test management tools designed to enhance productivity and strategic goal achievement. Idera, Inc.'s solutions are tools that catalyze the enhancement of collective knowledge and demolish data silos, thereby fostering collaboration across teams and geographies. 5.4. Developer Express, Inc. As a pioneering force in the software development industry, the Developer Express, Inc. is at the forefront of embracing and shaping the evolution of the .NET ecosystem, with a particular focus on Blazor for seamless integration between server and client-side operations. Its commitment extends beyond .NET, as it continually enhances its DevExtreme HTML/JavaScript library and actively supports vital frameworks such as React, Angular, and Vue, ensuring advanced SCSS and TypeScript integration. Its dedication to innovation is evident in its efforts to integrate modern web technologies and improve desktop development tools for WinForms and WPF in response to .NET Core and Windows 11 advancements. 5.5. Devart The Devart specializes in offering comprehensive database development, management, and administration solutions across major platforms, including SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, and PostgreSQL. Its suite of products, including must-have tools like dotConnect for Oracle and dbForge Studio, are designed to significantly enhance productivity for software developers and engineers by streamlining SQL coding, reducing errors by 99%, and increasing daily efficiency by over 30%. The company's offerings also encompass data connectivity solutions across ODBC, ADO.NET, Python, and more, facilitating seamless data integration and cloud connectivity. With a focus on accelerating database deployment and integrating DevOps practices, the tools are engineered to optimize every aspect of the database lifecycle, ensuring a 2x to 4x faster programming experience and a 300% boost in efficiency with DevOps integrations. 5.6. Eclipse Foundation The Eclipse Foundation is a pivotal organization within the global software community, offering a robust, scalable, and business-oriented environment for open-source collaboration and innovation. It serves as the nurturing ground for a vast array of projects, including the renowned Eclipse IDE, Jakarta EE, and an expert in a multitude of other open-source initiatives spanning cloud and edge computing, IoT, AI, automotive sectors, systems engineering, open processor designs, and beyond. By focusing on the development of next-generation cloud-native developer tools, the Eclipse Foundation positions in facilitating professional development environments. Its initiatives are instrumental in driving technological advancements and fostering an ecosystem of open collaboration that benefits individuals and organizations worldwide. 5.7. Mirantis Mirantis delivers modern application development services, expertly guiding clients through the entire application lifecycle, from CI/CD to LCM automation. Specializing in accelerating secure, cloud-native application delivery, Mirantis assists in building new containerized apps, modernizing legacy applications into scalable and operable cloud-native designs, and facilitating app portability between platforms. By leveraging its extensive expertise in DevOps principles, automation, and Agile software engineering, Mirantis significantly enhances developer productivity, enabling faster development and production timelines. Its comprehensive platform engineering services ensure robust CI/CD, testing, and DevOps automation infrastructure without the time investment required for in-house development. Additionally, Mirantis streamlines application assessment, modernization, and workload migration, offering tailored strategies that optimize flexibility, performance, security, and cost savings. 5.8. Wolfram Wolfram's Universal Deployment System (UDS) revolutionizes software development economics by leveraging its unique technology stack to automate the deployment of functionalities across a vast array of computing technologies. It enables creators to develop material once and deploy it in various forms; ranging from high-volume services and polished end-user products to flexible software components. Across multiple platforms, including cloud, desktop, server, mobile, and embedded systems, it supports a broad spectrum of deployment technologies and scenarios, such as web APIs, cloud-hosted computation, mobile apps, and embedded code; the UDS offers unparalleled versatility. Additionally, it facilitates end-user, machine-to-machine, and component deployment, supported by an extensive infrastructure. This comprehensive approach enhances the developer productivity and broadens the reach and accessibility of applications across diverse environments. 5.9. KDE The KDE community is a prominent international technology group that develops free software for desktop and portable computing environments. Its offerings include a modern desktop system for Linux and UNIX platforms, extensive office productivity, and a wide range of software across categories such as Internet, multimedia, entertainment, education, graphics, showcasing the power of integrated development software. Notably, KDE software supports over 60 languages and adheres to principles of ease of use and accessibility. With applications that run natively on Linux, BSD, Solaris, Windows, and macOS, KDE also provides a developer platform built on Qt, allowing for creating and distributing applications across multiple platforms. Additionally, KDE introduces KDevelop, a cross-platform IDE for various programming languages, underscoring KDE's commitment to facilitating seamless, multi-platform application development and distribution. 5.10. Qt Group Qt Group is a global software company acclaimed for empowering over 1.5 million developers and industry leaders worldwide. With a focus on enhancing productivity throughout the product development lifecycle, from UI design, software development, and quality management to deployment, Qt Group serves a diverse clientele across more than 70 industries in over 180 countries. The company is renowned for Qt Creator, an AI-enabled cross-platform IDE that enhances developer productivity. Qt Creator facilitates software creation across desktop, mobile, and embedded platforms, offering sophisticated code editing, version control integration, project and build management, and multiple target support. Additionally, it provides a suite of development tools, including a device emulator, the Qt Quick compiler for optimized performance, and GitHub Copilot integration to expedite coding tasks. 6. Final Thoughts As IDEs continue to evolve, the incorporation of intelligence is anticipated to bring about a transformative phase of predictive coding, where IDEs will proactively suggest code snippets and solution patterns, significantly boosting development efficiency. Moreover, the open-source movement is poised to play a crucial role in this evolution, driving transparency, fostering community-driven enhancements, and ensuring that IDEs remain accessible and of high quality for all developers. IDEs are evolving into indispensable allies for developers and strategists alike, adapting to the rapid changes in the tech industry. This evolution of IDEs marks a new chapter where are the fundamental enablers in the technological progress and digital innovation.

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AI Tech

Friction to Flow: Solutions for Addressing IDE Challenges

Article | September 8, 2023

Venture into an in-depth exploration aimed at resolving prevalent IDE challenges and providing solutions, from refining debugging processes to achieving seamless UI/UX across diverse platforms. Contents 1. Introduction 2. Identifying Common Friction Points in IDE Usage 3. Overcoming the Challenges Encountered in IDE 3.1. Steep Learning Curve 3.2. Version Control Difficulties 3.3. Insufficient Debugging Tools 3.4. Plugin Dependency 3.5. Inconsistent UI/UX Across Platforms 3.6. Difficulties in Project Management 3.7. Security Vulnerabilities 3.8. Limited Testing Tools 3.9. Inefficient Remote Development Support 3.10. Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment Integration Complexities 4. Wrap-Up 1. Introduction Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) serve as the cornerstone of a developer's toolkit. These powerful platforms offer an integration of tools designed to streamline the coding, testing, and deployment processes. However, the challenges in modern IDEs present roadblocks that can hamper productivity, efficiency, and innovation. Developers face various obstacles, including learning processes, mastering new debugging tools, and managing projects to ensure consistent UI/UX across platforms. Moreover, the looming threat of security vulnerabilities and the limitations of testing tools further complicate the development workflow. This requires strategies for improving IDE performance in the development environment. This article on IDE solutions and challenges will lay out ten challenges, providing insights and actionable solutions to optimize the use of IDEs in software development projects. 2. Identifying Common Friction Points in IDE Usage Identifying and Addressing User Friction in IDEs 1. Understanding User Friction - User friction refers to challenges that hinder users from completing desired actions within a product. These arise from factors like poor UI design, confusing user flows, and resolving IDE performance issues. - Common causes of user friction in IDEs include generalized onboarding, unintuitive experience, outdated UI, product bugs, slow performance, and complex workflows. 2. Hierarchy of User Friction - User friction patterns fall into three main categories: structural friction, emotional friction, and cognitive friction, which are related to UI design, user feelings, and product understanding, respectively. 3. Diagnosing and Overcoming Friction Points - Employ empathy and observation to explore the IDE from a user's perspective, listen to user feedback, use product analytics to identify UI gaps, and implement in-app guidance to assist with navigation. 3. Overcoming the Challenges Encountered in IDE 3.1. Steep Learning Curve A lack of robust debugging tools may lead to prolonged debugging sessions, reducing overall productivity. Developers need visibility into code execution to diagnose and fix issues efficiently. Online courses or certification are the knowledge source for 40.39% of software developers. Empower with Debugging Techniques Invest in Strong debugging techniques for IDE include breakpoints, step-throughs, watches, and stack traces. Train developers to use these tools effectively through workshops and pair programming. Encourage a culture of logging and testing alongside debugging. 3.2. Version Control Difficulties Inconsistent version control leads to confusion and code conflicts. A small change to a source file can result in a different generated file, affecting the performance of the system. While the centralized server has a single point of failure, making copies of the repository is also difficult. In addition, IDE-generated files are usually user-specific. The version control system market size is estimated at USD 1.11 billion in 2024 and is expected to reach USD 2.39 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 16.63% during the forecast period (2024-2029). Unifying Branching Models IDE optimization strategies involve adopting a streamlined version control system, and a branching strategy is crucial to solve the aforementioned complexities. Standardize on a version control system. Offer clear guidance for branching, merging, and naming conventions. Implement tools to integrate seamlessly with IDE. This extensively simplifies version control workflows. 3.3. Insufficient Debugging Tools The absence of effective debugging tools can lead to prolonged debugging sessions, thereby reducing productivity. IDE developers need visibility into the code execution to diagnose and fix issues efficiently. Development folks spend 90% of our time debugging! Empower with Debugging Techniques Addressing the challenge of insufficient debugging tools necessitates a comprehensive approach that includes evaluating existing functionalities, and integrating or developing advanced plugins and extensions. This ensures IDE compatibility troubleshooting with current systems. Discover and invest in strong debugging techniques for IDE, such as breakpoints, step-throughs, watches, and stack traces to avoid inefficiencies. Train developers to use these tools effectively through workshops. Pair programming encourages a habit of logging, testing, and debugging. 3.4. Plugin Dependency IDEs often rely on plugins for extended functionality. However, being overly dependent on plugins can lead to maintenance headaches and performance issues. These issues include performance degradation, compatibility issues, and security vulnerabilities. Plugin Curation Curate a set of essential plugins that cover the team's varied needs. Regularly review and retire outdated or underused plugins. Encourage developers to contribute to or maintain internal plugins where appropriate, ensuring they align with the team's goals and standards. Address compatibility issues in IDE usage and emphasize the use of plugins from reputable sources or the IDE's own plugin marketplace to significantly mitigate security risks. 3.5. Inconsistent UI/UX Across Platforms With IDE developers working across a variety of devices and operating systems, UI/UX inconsistency can be jarring and impede the fluidity of the development process. This is another difficulty among the IDE challenges and solutions. As of the most recent data available in 2023, the global cross-platform app development framework market was valued at approximately US$ 120 billion. Universal Design Language Ensure the IDE adheres to a shared design language across platforms. Utilize cross-platform design tools and component libraries to maintain a consistent look and feel. Standardize design elements and user interactions across all platforms, coupled with offering customizable UI options to significantly enhance consistency and user satisfaction. Provide the best IDE for development environment. 3.6. Difficulties in Project Management Issues such as lack of visibility, communication breakdowns, and struggles with version control can significantly impede project progress, leading to missed deadlines and decreased team cohesion. An IDE lacking proper integration tools makes monitoring project milestones and managing expectations difficult. This often results in duplication of efforts and confusion over code changes. 37% of projects fail due to the lack of defined project objectives and milestones. Project Management Integration Select IDEs that integrate well with project management tools, such as issue trackers and scrum boards. Encourage the use of version control to maintain visibility over code changes and work progress. Prioritize integration with project management tools. Incorporate version control systems directly within the IDE, such as Git streamlines code management. Facilitate collaboration with simplified error resolution. Troubleshoot common errors in IDE 3.7. Security Vulnerabilities Integrated development environment challenges include security vulnerabilities in IDEs posing significant risks, including data breaches and unauthorized access, as these platforms often have access to sensitive project files and personal information. An analysis of 1,700 enterprise applications revealed that, on average, they contained 135 third-party software components, of which 90% were open source. Eleven percent of those open-source components had at least one vulnerability. Fortify with Remediation A solid security posture is the proven solution for IDE to protect both the team and the project. Select IDEs with robust security features, such as built-in code analysis and integration with security tools. Implement regular security updates and patches. Integrate robust security features like two-factor authentication and encrypted data storage to mitigate these risks and safeguard user data effectively. 3.8. Limited Testing Tools An IDE with limited testing capabilities can lead to a disjointed testing process and an increased chance of releasing buggy code, potentially leading to bugs and inconsistencies in the final product. Only 40% of organizations use formal security rating tools to check open-source package safety. Testing Expansion Expand the IDE's testing capabilities by integrating comprehensive testing suites and plugins. Facilitate easy access to external testing frameworks to enhance testing efficiency and coverage. Foster a culture of test-driven development to embed testing into the coding process. 3.9. Inefficient Remote Development Support Ignoring accessibility in IDE design can limit the ability of some developers to engage with their work fully. This may lead to exclusions and frustrations among developers, thereby losing the talented acquisitions. Inefficiencies grow from inadequacies, and inefficient RDS can result in less efficient development. As per asurvey, companies outsource their development tasks for various reasons, including 26%, to gain access to talented professionals. Universal Design Approach Ensure that the chosen IDE utilizes universal design principles to make all features accessible to developers with various needs. Offer training on accessible development techniques and tools to create a more inclusive environment. Advocate for better accessibility features. Collaborate with developers with different needs and provide feedback to IDE developers. 3.10. Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment Integration Complexities Inadequate automation owing to poor integration, mental effort from frequent context switching between IDEs and CI/CD technologies, and visibility gaps regarding build state and deployment progress can drastically reduce efficiency. Tool incompatibility may require complicated workarounds. Manual pipeline interactions increase security concerns due to human error or data exposure. A study shows that organizations with CI/CD adoption practices have 25% faster lead times and 50% fewer failures compared to those that don’t. Integration Streamlining Choose IDEs with built-in or easily integratable CI/CD features. Ensure that these features support your team's chosen CI/CD practices and tools. Create clear documentation and provide training on CI/CD integration within the IDE to promote efficient development workflows. 4. Wrap-Up The problems and solutions in the IDE require adequate automation due to proper integration. The integration that seamlessly blends coding, testing, deployment, and monitoring within a single platform will likely include advanced support for artificial intelligence and machine learning to assist in code generation, error detection, and even automated optimization suggestions. As a result, it will significantly reduce development time and improve code quality. Furthermore, cloud-based IDEs will become more prevalent, offering IDE developers the flexibility to work from anywhere, collaborate in real time, and access powerful computing resources without the need for high-end hardware.

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Application Development Platform

Strategic Approaches to DevOps Issue Detection and Tracking

Article | February 29, 2024

Identify strategic approaches and best practices for tracking and issue detection in DevOps to improve collaboration, streamline operations, and accelerate the delivery of high-quality software. Table of Contents 1. Executive Overview of DevOps 2. Fundamental Tenets of DevOps in Contemporary Business 3. Best Practices for High-impact DevOps Implementation 3.1 Agile Integration 3.2 Effective Use of Microservices Architecture 3.3 Enhance Container Orchestration 3.4 Embrace DevSecOps Integration 3.5 Foster Collaboration 3.6 Implement Test Automation 3.7 Incorporate Infrastructure as Code (IaC) 3.8 Adopt CI/CD 3.9 Deploy Chaos Engineering Methodology 3.10 Adopt Serverless Architecture 3.11 Version Control 3.12 Configuration Management 3.13 Application Performance Monitoring 3.14 Apply Lean Principles 3.15 Monitoring and Logging Metrics 4. Final Thoughts 1. Executive Overview of DevOps DevOps revolutionizes how software is delivered by integrating development and operations to enhance efficiency and speed. It is driven by principles like culture, automation, lean, measurement, and sharing. Successful DevOps adoption streamlines engineering departments and top management, leading to faster and simpler project completion. It's about bridging gaps between teams, focusing on continuous improvement, and connecting user feedback to development for agile market response. Adopting modern DevOps practices is critical for staying competitive, adapting swiftly to changes, attracting top talent, and building customer loyalty​​. 2. Fundamental Tenets of DevOps in Contemporary Business DevOps has emerged as a transformative force in modern business, driven by a set of core tenets that break down silos, accelerate delivery, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. The principles listed below emphasize on breaking down barriers, automation as a foundation, continuous improvement at its core, customer focus as the priority, and shared responsibility as a driving force. Automation Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) Collaboration and Communication Rapid and Reliable Delivery Monitoring and Feedback Quality and Security Scalability and Performance Optimization Agility and Flexibility Infrastructure as Code (IaC) Lean and Efficient Operations 3. Best Practices for High-impact DevOps Implementation 3.1 Agile Integration One of the most important aspects of Agile is its emphasis on continuous improvement and customer feedback. Integrating DevOps with Agile enhances value-delivery and streamline workflows, focusing on quick, iterative development and adaptive planning. Agile prioritizes incremental and iterative product delivery, allowing teams to maintain the flexibility and agility for responding to and incorporating stakeholder feedback. Agile follows these 4 core values: Prioritize people and interactions over tools and processes. Prioritize a working product over documentation. Prioritize customer collaboration over contract negotiation. Respond to changes over following a plan. 3.2 Effective Use of Microservices Architecture Being DevOps best practices in modern business, microservices architecture helps develop applications as a collection of small, independent services, and improves scalability and flexibility in development. This modularity allows for easier updates and maintenance, thus smoothening a faster delivery process and improved quality. Microservices enhance the dependability and robustness of systems by enabling the isolation and resolution of service failures without impacting the entire system. Container orchestration with microservices offers fine-grained environments for execution andthe ability to combine various application components into a single instance of an operating system. Microservices, containers, and orchestrators are an ideal complement to one another. 3.3 Enhance Container Orchestration Orchestration manages the lifecycle of containers using DevOps tools for issue detection like Kubernetes, providing automated deployment and scaling. It automates container scheduling, deployment, scalability, load balancing, availability, and networking. Docker introduced a paradigm shift towards distributed operating systems, streamlined software deployment processes, and enabled dependable application execution across diverse computing environments. By automating the deployment of multiple containers used to implement an application, this can be achieved more efficiently. The term used to describe this form of automation is orchestration. It is frequently employed to administer multiple containers through orchestration tools. In addition to mediating between applications or services and container runtimes, container orchestration manages resources, schedules and provides services. This ultimately helps handle the complexities of managing large deployments and reducing manual overhead. It automates provisioning, deployment, networking, scaling, and lifecycle management. 3.4 Embrace DevSecOps Integration Security practices in DevSecOps culture includes automated security checks for software security. It is an approach to automation that integrates security as a shared responsibility throughout the lifecycle entails DevSecOps. Password storage in private repositories for automation is on the decline due to the increasing threats with the development of technology. Therefore,implementing secure internal networks to isolate and track problems in CI/CD workflows is commendable for best strategy for implementing DevOps. One way to restrict exposure to hazards and enforce 'the principle of least privilege'is by utilizing VPNs, robust two-factor authentication, and identity and access management systems. 3.5 Foster Collaboration Encouraging open communication and teamwork across departments, fosters a healthy collaboration, and leads to efficient problem-solving and innovation. Cross-functional collaboration is essential for providing feedback loops and continuously improving work. This improves productivity and reliability. The primary objective of collaboration is to enable a sense of shared responsibility among development and operations teams. Embracing failure and continuous feedback can lead to a transparent and visible environment. Constant monitoring, measuring, and analyzing the software delivery facilitates iterative improvement. 3.6 Implement Test Automation One of the DevOps implementation best practices, this methodology combines operations and development operations in a single cycle. All parties involved in the software development process, including operations, quality assurance, and development, must work closely together. Testing enables constant monitoring of applications and infrastructure while providing feedback to improve development and operational activities. DevOps must establish a mature framework for automated testing that facilitates the programming of test cases. It is advised to start with simple, repetitive tasks and gradually expand coverage to build automation flows efficiently. Each test case should be limited in complexity for easy troubleshooting and built as independent, reusable components to minimize creation time and enhance efficiency. Maintaining separate, self-contained automated test cases also facilitates parallel execution across different environments. 3.7 Incorporate Infrastructure as Code (IaC) IaC helpsto recreate an exact environment subsequent to deployment due to the necessity of updating the systems it interacts with. It manages and provisions infrastructure through code, bringing speed and consistency to the whole environment setup.By eliminating the needfor manual infrastructure management, IaC mitigates the possibility of human error. Instead of relying on engineers to recall previous configurations or respond to failures, the entire system is composed of code and governed by thesource control system.Infrastructure as Code has further decreased cloud expenditures through the implementation of auto-scaling capabilities. 3.8 Adopt CI/CD Continuous Integration is a development methodology that enables programmers to commit changes to a shared repository multiple times daily. Automated builds are utilized to validate the code. This helps the team in the early stages of development in DevOps issue detection and promptly resolving them. It streamlines the software development process by enabling more frequent and reliable updates through regular integration and testing of code. This leads to the early detection of issues and ensures high-quality outputs. Moreover, CI/CD promotes better collaboration among developers and accelerates the feedback loop from users. This is crucial for rapid adaptation to market needs. The automation of deployment processes further reduces errors and saves time, enhancing overall efficiency in software development. 3.9 Deploy Chaos Engineering Methodology Chaos engineering is an approach that aims to enhance the dependability of a system by deliberately introducing failures and atypical situations. Chaos engineers intentionally break the system under controlled conditions to gain a deeper understanding of its vulnerabilities and rectify them before the occurrence of significant problems. Chaos engineering integration into DevOps pipelines enables fault-tolerance and resilience testing to be executed. This helps to identify and address potential system vulnerabilities during the early phases of development. This reduces the time and resources required to resolve and detect DevOps issues after the product has been released. Incorporating chaos experiments into the CI/CD pipeline promotes a culture of ongoing development and knowledge acquisition by enabling teams to promptly observe the consequences of code modifications on the system's overall stability. 3.10 Adopt Serverless Architecture The serverless model allows users to build and run applications and services without managing servers, resulting in one of the DevOps deployment best practices. All infrastructure management tasks are eliminated by this method. These tasks include cluster provisioning, patching, operating system maintenance, and capacity provisioning. Developers are only responsible for bundling their code into containers for deployment. Adopting serverless computing enables developers to delegate the critical tasks of provisioning servers and managing resources to a cloud provider, focusing instead on deploying their code. This strategic approach to DevOps lets the provider automatically manage scalability and resource allocation. Also, it lets them adapt to varying demands efficiently. Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) concept is central to serverless computing, which plays a pivotal role in its functionality. With serverless architectures, developers enjoy enhanced flexibility and accelerated time to release. 3.11 Version Control It is a mechanism that monitors the advancement of code throughout the software development lifecycle and its numerous iterations. Version control assists in change management by maintaining a record of each modification, including authorship, timestamp, and additional pertinent information. Investing in software version enables DevOps teams to improve collaboration among teams. With this, it enables enhanced efficiency in their work. By enabling teams to monitor modifications made to the code base, version control systems facilitate effective collaboration and expedite error resolution. In addition, version management paves the way for deployment of new features and upgrades. Additionally, it guarantees system stability and diminishes the probability of errors that may result in system outages. These systems facilitate the automation of processes by development teams, thereby increasing the speed and efficiency of repetitive activities such as testing, constructing, and deploying. 3.12 Configuration Management Multiple environments are necessary for each phase of the development process. These include unit testing, integration testing, acceptance testing, traffic testing, system testing, and end-user testing. The complexity of these environments escalates as the DevOps testing strategy progresses toward pre-production and production settings. Automated configuration management guarantees that these environments are configured optimally. Inadequate configuration management in DevOps may lead to system outages, data leaks, and breaches. It's also worth noting that bad environments make for improper, incomplete, and shallow tests. 3.13 Application Performance Monitoring Monitoring application performance within the DevOps framework is critical, as it enables the detection and resolution of problems before they can affect the overall system's performance. Although the objective is comparable to that of network performance monitoring (NPM), there are significant distinctions between the two methodologies that render them equally valuable to implement. System and application performance metrics are crucial as they reveal the performance details of the application. For instance, they indicate if the system is too sluggish or if the TPS (transactions per second) SLA is being met. Additionally, they help determine if the system can handle the peak load in the live environment and how the application recovers from a stressed state to a normal state, among other things. 3.14 Apply Lean Principles Applying lean principles in DevOps is recognized as a best practice. The approach enhances efficiency and productivity in software development and delivery processes. It lays emphasis on value creation, waste reduction, and continuous improvement. It aligns seamlessly with DevOps objectives. This involves a thorough understanding of customer needs to define value accurately and then mapping the value stream to identify and eliminate non-value-adding activities. Strategizing a flow in the DevOps pipeline ensures a smooth and uninterrupted delivery process, eliminating problems in DevOps pipelines. The 'pull' system in Lean, adapted to DevOps, ensures that development aligns with customer demand. 3.15 Monitoring and Logging Metrics Organizations analyze logs and metrics to determine how application and infrastructure performance affects the end-user experience of a product. By documenting, categorizing, and analyzing data and records produced by infrastructure and applications, organizations can gain insights into the effects of updates or modifications on users. This facilitates the identification of the underlying factors contributing to issues or unforeseen changes. Active DevOps monitoring strategies become more critical as the frequency of application and infrastructure updates rises, and services must be accessible around the clock. Implementing real-time analysis or setting up alerts for this data enables organizations to monitor their services more proactively. 4. Final Thoughts Looking ahead, the future of DevOps promises even greater innovation and efficiency gains. We can anticipate the continued evolution of automation tools, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to optimize further and accelerate software delivery pipelines. Additionally, incorporating security practices in DevOps culture will enable DevOps to become increasingly vital in safeguarding digital assets. The importance of DevOps in achieving streamlined operations cannot be overstated. By reducing manual interventions, businesses can deliver high-quality software consistently. Fostering collaboration helps them respond to market changes rapidly and ultimately improve customer satisfaction. Moreover, reduced operational costs, faster time-to-market, and increased revenue potential all contribute to a significant ROI.

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Software

From Development to Deployment: End-to-End DevOps Automation

Article | February 1, 2024

The seamless journey of DevOps automation in this article, from development to deployment leads to improved revenue, where efficiency meets excellence from initial development to seamless deployment. Contents 1. The Significance of Streamlining Development to Deployment 2. How Key Strategies for DevOps Success Elevate Revenue Generation? 3. Automating Development 3.1. Continuous Integration (CI) Essentials 3.2. Streamlining Continuous Deployment and Delivery (CD) 3.3. Efficient Version Control 4. Configuration Management 4.1. Role-based Configurations in DevOps 4.2. Dynamic Configuration Management (DCM) 5. Top Providers for DevOps Security and Collaboration 5.1. HackerOne 5.2. Teamwork 5.3. Embrace 5.4. Instabug 5.5. Nulab 5.6. Sonar 5.7. LogicMonitor 5.8. JetBrains 5.9. Perforce Software 5.10. Sentry 6. Exploring Emerging Technologies in DevOps Deployment without DevOps is characterized by a traditional, often siloed approach, typically following a linear and sequential 'waterfall' model. Development and operations teams, in such cases, work independently then lead to limited collaboration and communication. The process involves manual handovers, often with insufficient knowledge transfer, resulting in longer release cycles, making deployments riskier and more error-prone due to the bundling of numerous changes. Additionally, the feedback loop is limited, causing delays in implementing user or operational feedback. This is where streamlined deployment comes into the picture. For Example, Etsy, which grew at a regular pace, following the traditional waterfall approach, achieved 80 releases a day rather than deploying code twice a week, post-DevOps integration. 1. The Significance of Streamlining Development to Deployment The previously occurring Integration Issues can now be avoided by shifting the model to DevOps.For example, aligning and integrating the front and backend error-free is no longer tedious. Each developer has their local setup which can cause the infamous 'it works on my machine' syndrome when the code fails to run in different environments. This, ultimately, streamlines the end-to-end DevOps automation process flow. The traditional workflows, often lacking continuous testing and detection of errors, will eliminate costly delays and rework. Collaborating on code, especially in large teams, became a hassle with no shared tools or platforms. While DevOps management platforms enable teams tocollaborate and work together, DevOps collaboration tools and technologies manage work, improve team communication, and share expertise. The market size for custom software development was valued at $388.98 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to $650.13 billion by 2025. 2. How Key Strategies for DevOps Success Elevate Revenue Generation? An effective DevOps approach prioritizes customers. Focusing on strong software justifies extended development and release timelines. It also ignores the most important factor: software users. Consumers want a good product that solves their problem rather than the process. A good DevOps approach puts the team in the customer's shoes. While 22% of rework time is minimized with DevOps practices, the deployment frequency of firms with DevOps as compared to those without DevOps is a whopping 200 times. Adit Modi, Cloud Architect and Community Leader at Digital Alpha reported that he saw a whopping 30% increase in developer productivity within the first month in a startup. Continuous Integration A robust approach for automating development operations is CI. CI automates code build and change integration. An end-to-end DevOps automation implementation method emphasizes fast, automated systems. Continuous integration lets developers integrate code more often and create and merge code. Implementing CI saves a lot of time in development. It reduces regression bug-resolving time while promoting code quality. A promising CI pipeline helps one understand the codebase and customer features. For example, as stated in Netflix Technology Blog, Titus is Netflix’s infrastructural foundation for container-based applications. It provides Netflix scale cluster, resource management, and container execution with deep Amazon EC2 integration as well as common Netflix infrastructure enablement. Infrastructure-as-a-code and Automation IaC is a compelling way to automate IT infrastructure management, provisioning, and configuration. Maintaining ideal infrastructure is the fundamental goal of IaC. Infrastructure-as-a-code practices in DevOps are utilized to administer the server, storage, and networking infrastructure of a data center. It is designed to facilitate configuration and administration on a massive scale and automatically handles and manages steady-state deviations. Implementing a DevOps automation guide is among the best DevOps strategies for companies seeking to increase revenue as it streamlines development and operations, leading to faster deployment cycles, improved efficiency, and, ultimately, a quicker time-to-market for new and innovative services that drive sales growth. For example, Kloudspot drastically reduced development and service management time by 50% while deploying its new end-to-end DevOps automation infrastructure via an automated system. Constant Delivery and Deployment Continuous delivery (CD) helps teams build high-quality software quickly. Continuous delivery pipelines provide software on time with minimal manual intervention. CD is an effective DevOps release technique for faster software development, testing, and deployment. In an interview with Clare Liguori, Principal Software Engineer for AWS container services, she emphasized that AWS just doesn't enforce automation onto its processes and hope for the best; its automated deployment practices are carefully built, tuned, and tested based on what helps them balance their deployment safety against deployment speed. Microservice framework Microservices are compact, deployable services designed in the style of intricate applications. They are merely an iteration of the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) paradigm. In addition to being independent of technology, they exchange information using a variety of communication protocols. The noteworthy part is that one service does not crash or impact other parts of an application! For example, Uber's infrastructure exemplifies a commendable microservice architecture. Several thousand microservices comprise this component and communicate via remote procedure calls (RPC), as noted in their Domain-Oriented Microservice Architecture blog. 3. Automating Development Automated ecosystem orchestration is becoming increasingly important due to the proliferation of Kubernetes architectures, which have transcended the human capacity for management. Continuous integration and deployment are executed in four phases by the CI/CD pipeline: source, build, test, and deploy. Automation in DevOps is mission-critical to an organization’s ability to keep pace with customers and the rapidly changing market. Reducing toil and minimizing toolchain complexity through automation enables developers to focus on what they do best, delivering innovation that drives value for the business. - Hilliary Lipsig, Principal Site Reliability Engineer, RedHat 3.1. Continuous Integration (CI) Essentials A non-CI environment's communication overhead can result in an intricate and entangled synchronization task, thereby increasing project bureaucratic expenses unnecessarily. The manual coordination encompasses operations, the remainder of the organization, and the development teams. CI facilitates the expansion of engineering teams' headcount and output. By integrating CI,software developers are empowered to independently develop features in parallel. Product and engineering communication can be extraordinarily cumbersome. Continuous integration enables this engineering to estimate delivery times for requests when the risk associated with integrating new changes is uncertain. Thereby, CI helps quicken delayed code releases and minimize failure rates. The essentials for an efficient functional CI are: Automate tests to run for every change to the main repository. Run tests on every branch of the repository rather than just focusing on the main branch. Ensure that every feature that gets developed has automated tests. Get a CI service to run those tests automatically on every push to the main repository. Integrate changes regularly. Establish security early in pipelines before building artifacts or deploying. Scan built container images for vulnerabilities with vulnerability scanning for artifact analysis. Implement linting and static code analysis early in pipeline to avoid weaknesses like accepting raw inputs. Use binary authorization to prevent images that contain vulnerabilities from being deployed to clusters. Create pipelines to enable rapid iteration. Ideally, CI pipelines should run in less than 10 minutes. 3.2. Streamlining Continuous Deployment and Delivery (CD) Use GitOps methodology to review changes before they are deployed through merge or pull requests and help in recovery through snapshots in case of failure. Promote, rather than rebuild container images, to avoid minor differences across code branches. Consider using more advanced deployment and testing patterns according to business needs. These include Recreating a deployment, Rolling update deployment, and blue-green deployment. Use Separate clusters for different environments like development environments, pre-production environments (Staging or QA) and production environments. Keep pre-production environments close to production; while pre-production clusters should ideally be identical to production clusters, they can be scaled-down replicas for cost considerations. Implement a clearly defined rollback strategy to address any substantial issues that may arise throughout the deployment process, enabling users to swiftly revert to the previous version, thereby reducing the likelihood of any adverse effects. 3.3. Efficient Version Control Teams typically face these challenges when adopting CI/CD: Conflicts due to manual testing Downtime risk Inefficient resource utilization Kubernetes has the capability to resolve these issues. In a CI/CD pipeline, it decreases the time and effort necessary to develop and deploy applications. The model's effective resource management increases hardware utilization, automates management procedures, and decreases customer-detrimental disruptions. Cluster management, orchestrate deployment and provisioning, and declarative constructs are some specializations performed by Kubernetes. Efficient version control is demonstrated by Kubernetes through the below mentioned techniques: Kubernetes packages applications and their dependenciesthroughcontainers. Enabling consistent versioning of applications, this practice standardizes environments throughout development, testing, and production. DevOps delivery infrastructure considerations are minimized with Kubernetes, which also enhances application resiliency, automation, and scalability. Incorporating version control directly into the deployment process, Kubernetes enables the automated deployment of new application versions and permits a rollback to previous versions ifissues are raised. Kubernetes provides support for a range of deployment strategies, including blue-green and canary deployments. This support enables the gradual rollout and testing of new versions while ensuring the continuity of service. 4. Configuration Management Unit testing, integration testing, acceptance testing, load testing, system testing, and end-user testing are all critical components of a development infrastructure. As testing advances production environments, the complexity of these environments escalates. The role of automation in DevOps ensures that these environments are configured optimally through configuration management. DevOps configuration management automates routine maintenance tasks and frees up development time for the actual programming. 4.1. Role-based Configurations in DevOps Role-based configuration management in DevOps plays a significant role in managing infrastructure updates and creating organized systems. Roles, for example, bundle and organize automation tasks and configurations in a reusable manner, making it easier to handle complex workflows. These roles promote teamwork and efficiency in development​​. Role-based configurations are a sophisticated strategy for delineating access and operational privileges within the CI/CD pipeline tailored to the specific responsibilities of team members. This paradigm leverages identity and access management protocols to automate the enforcement of security policies, reducing the risk of unauthorized changes that lead to system vulnerabilities or compliance breaches. Organizations can create a more secure, stable, and efficient delivery environment by employing a granular control mechanism. As a result, this facilitates a higher caliber of software releases, optimized resource allocation, and an acceleration in delivering value to customers, which in turn can drive revenue growth and competitive advantage. 4.2. Dynamic Configuration Management (DCM) DCM addresses the entire lifecycle of an application. Top organizations implement dynamic configuration management because they recognize its criticality in enterprise-grade platforms. It addresses the limitations of static configuration management, which may hinder developer and Ops productivity. DCM uses a workload specification to create configurations, reducing the number of configuration files needed and simplifying the deployment process. This approach can significantly reduce configuration file numbers, improving overall business performance​​​​​​​​​​​​. For example, an app with ten services and dependencies is deployed across four environments. Assuming an organization deploys three times a day every 21 working days, a typical cloud native setup would be 300 to 600 configuration files with up to 30,000 versions a month. That is up to 95% fewer files than the static approach. 5. Top Providers for DevOps Security and Collaboration 5.1. HackerOne Being the frontrunner in human-powered security, HackerOne outperforms cybercriminals, employing human ingenuity to identify the most critical security vulnerabilities across any attack surface. Integrating cutting-edge artificial intelligence with innovative human intelligence, HackerOne's Attack Resistance Platform mitigates risk throughout the software development lifecycle. Facilitating the identification of novel and illusive vulnerabilities via bug bounties ensures that organizations meet compliance requirements through penetration testing. HackerOne's elite community of ethical hackers empowers businesses to transform themselves confidently. 5.2. Teamwork Teamwork provides a platform that combines user-friendly project administration with industry-leading client operations, which teams adore. It helps you deliver work on time and budget, eliminate client chaos, and understand profitability all in one platform. It provides a single solution for all client operations challenges. Delivering profitable projects, streamlining client operations, and delighting clients help optimize the recurring revenue from retainers. Teamwork.com integrates all the tools a company uses, hence making the company more accessible to manage all in one place. 5.3. Embrace The organization develops and defines a performance management platform for mobile applications that aid in the detection and resolution of any user-impacting problems that may arise within the applications. The mobile environment presents mobile teams with a singular challenge:they must now consider the infinite variety of user and environmental variables across millions of autonomous devices. Embraceliberates the value by ingesting one hundred percent of the time-based technical and user behavior session data.With the help of Embrace, product and engineeringteamshave access to real-time observability while marketing and BI benefit from automated analysis of transformed and usable datasets. 5.4. Instabug Instabug provides a mobile application performance monitoring (APM) platform, offering advanced services that enhance app performance and user experience. It features efficient bug and crash reporting systems, which help quickly identify and resolve app issues, ensuring stability and user trust. With a robust infrastructure supporting over two billion devices, Instabug ensures scalability and reliability. Its simple SDK integration and full visual reproduction tailored for mobile app development challenges make it an essential tool for developers focused on optimizing app functionality and user satisfaction. 5.5. Nulab Nulab is an expanding software company that provides teams of all sizes with online collaboration tools. It places a premium on forward-thinking, collaboration, and trust as an organization to unite groups through technology securely. Its platform provides project management, version control, and bug tracking. Providing Integrated tools to support collaboration at every stage helps in tracking real-time progress. Nulab provides solutions from UX & DEsign to marketing and Quality assurance to plan and strategize beforehand. 5.6. Sonar One of the DevOps security providers, Sonar's market-leading solution empowers development teams and developers to write clean code and automatically remediate existing code, allowing them to concentrate on their favorite tasks and increase the value they deliver to organizations. Its commercial and open-source solutions are compatible with thirty programming languages. SonarLint is a complimentary IDE extension that preventscoding errors. SonarCloud provides straightforward resolution guidance for any Code Quality or Security issue it detects and integrates with existing cloud-based CI/CD workflows. SonarQube is the preeminent instrument developed teams utilize to audit their codebases' code quality and security in real-time and provide direction during code reviews. 5.7. LogicMonitor LogicMonitor's developments demonstrate the company's dedication to a unified monitoring experience based on layered intelligence and hybrid observability. These innovations aim to proactively enhance IT infrastructure and avert issues through quick-to-deploy, SaaS-based automated tools for infrastructure, applications, and business services, focusing on innovation and reducing remediation. A notable advancement is integrating Airbrake error monitoring with LogicMonitor, enabling streamlined usage of both platforms via a single interface. The combined capabilities of LogicMonitor and Airbrake improve visibility and control in IT environment monitoring and management, marking substantial progress in IT operations optimization. 5.8. JetBrains JetBrains core is coding, with its mission to create the most robust and efficient developer tools available. Its tools accelerate production by automating routine checks and corrections, allowing developers more time to develop, explore, and innovate. Regardless of the size of any team, its products provide a seamless experience throughout the process of code development, work planning, and collaboration. YouTrack, a developer tool of JetBrains, is a project management tool that helps deliver efficient products, use agile boards, assist in planning sprints and releases, maintain a strong knowledge base, work with reports and dashboards, and create workflows that follow business processes. 5.9. Perforce Software Perforce Software is an industry leader in DevOps and development solutions that are scalable and optimized to facilitate intelligent testing, dynamic growth, boundaryless collaboration, and risk management. It collaborates with businesses to reduce risk and accelerate time to market in environments where failure has a high cost. Its global specialists provide companies in various industries like automotive, semiconductor, financial services, game development, virtual production, and amusement. Its primary objective is to facilitate solutions that enable its clients to generate innovations rapidly and on a large scale. Perforce is mainly concerned with scalable DevOps by eliminating obstacles to collaboration and productivity. 5.10. Sentry Sentry's performance monitoring eliminates the need for developers to speculate to identify the source of application performance bottlenecks. Rather than delving into performance metrics, Sentry provides the precise lines of code that impede the performance of applications, allowing us to locate the underlying cause. It helps enable notifications before most businesses' users are impacted by performance issues to identify, designate, and resolve within the workflow. It consolidates runtime errors and mobile application malfunction reporting into a single view and provides a real-time, comprehensive assessment of the application's health. By associating errors with releases, identifiers, and devices, one can efficiently resolve issues, reduce customer attrition, and enhance user retention. 6. Exploring Emerging Technologies in DevOps The future of end-to-end DevOps automation promises even greater innovation and efficiency gains. We can anticipate the continued evolution of automation tools, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to optimize further and accelerate software delivery pipelines. Additionally, by incorporating security as a core DevOps principle, DevSecOps will become increasingly vital in safeguarding digital assets. The importance of DevOps’ latest technologies in achieving streamlined operations cannot be overstated. By reducing manual interventions and fostering collaboration, businesses can consistently deliver high-quality software, respond rapidly to market changes, and ultimately enhance customer satisfaction. Moreover, the impact on ROI is substantial, with reduced operational costs, faster time-to-market, and increased revenue potential.

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Mainstream Technologies

Mainstream Technologies is an information technology services firm specializing in custom software development, managed IT services, cybersecurity services and hosting. We develop long-term relationships with our customers by understanding their needs and developing the right solution for each need.

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Rasa | October 13, 2023

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Planview Launches AI Copilot for Smarter Data-Driven Decision-Making

Planview | September 13, 2023

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Invoca Unveils Next-Generation Conversation Intelligence Boosted by Generative AI

Prnewswire | June 19, 2023

Invoca, a recognized leader in conversation intelligence AI, today unveiled new capabilities that leverage a combination of generative AI, large language models (LLMs), voice biometrics, and patented machine-learning technologies to help consumer brands acquire more customers and drive revenue growth. These updates unlock new, actionable insights from conversations that marketing, e-commerce, and contact center teams can use to drive efficiencies, deliver amazing customer experiences, and significantly improve conversion rates. With generative AI and LLMs affecting two critical aspects of the customer experience – search engines and the contact center – Invoca empowers brands to stay ahead of the curve. Especially in challenging economic times, companies must deploy AI to drive tangible business impact. 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With Invoca's new cutting-edge generative AI-powered features, consumer brands can drive revenue growth by powering digital advertising and contact center performance, tapping into a goldmine of insights from phone conversations, and supercharging contact center QA and agent coaching: Powering Digital Advertising and Contact Center Performance with Actionable Insights Rapid Custom AI Model Creation: Create custom algorithms faster than ever before to pinpoint unique, actionable insights from every phone conversation, such as the product a caller is interested in, if a qualified sales lead doesn't make a purchase, or if an agent fails to qualify the caller or handle objections according to your specific call flow. Using semantic search modeled after ChatGPT, users are shown specific moments from relevant calls to review and, with a few clicks, create an algorithm to classify similar conversations in the future. This game-changing update reduces required training data by over 90% and provides a "no code" approach to building highly accurate custom algorithms trained on each business's calls in less than 30 minutes of user review time. AI Smart Alerting: Notify key personnel of mission-critical exceptions in contact center operations. Contact center managers can be alerted right away when call handling or compliance issues arise, and marketing teams can understand fast-moving topics of conversation with customers, such as pricing or competitive shifts and changes in conversion rates and campaign results. Tapping Into a Goldmine of Insights From Phone Conversations ChatGPT Call Summaries: Get a succinct AI-generated call recap, highlighting the intent, interest, outcome, and flow of every conversation. Call summaries speed up quality assurance (QA) review, reduce manual post-call work for contact center agents, and help marketers get a deeper understanding of what's happening when their campaign leads call in. Structured Data Extraction: Improve agent post-call productivity and enrich consumer profiles by using AI-powered named entity recognition (NER) to identify and extract structured zero-party data – such as intricate product details– from unstructured conversations. For example, automotive dealerships, OEMs, and service centers can extract the vehicle year, make, and model discussed by a consumer and pass that data into lead management, CRM, and CDP applications for use in automated workflows. Supercharging Contact Center QA and Agent Coaching Agent Voice ID: AI-based agent voice biometric technology automatically analyzes every conversation to identify the specific agent that handled each call. 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Banner Health decreased overall patient acquisition costs by 74%, DIRECTV saw a 110% improvement in sales agent close rates, Renewal by Andersen increased contact center appointment rates by 47%, and Spectrum Retirement experienced a 20% reduction in resident turnover. Availability Rapid custom AI model creation, AI smart alerting, ChatGPT call summaries, and Agent Voice ID are in beta with select customers today. Structured data extraction and AI call review console will be in beta in fall 2023. What Businesses Are Saying About the Impact of Invoca's AI DIRECTV: "Invoca's AI has become a critical part of our tech stack. It's given us full visibility into the call channel and significantly reduced our cost per acquisition. And we're just scratching the surface of what it can do." ~ Mark Loovis, Director of Marketing Technology at DIRECTV Banner Health: "Invoca's AI has been critical for boosting the performance of our different audience segments. It has helped us understand what a loyal vs. a non-loyal patient's experience looks like all the way through the funnel. From there, it has allowed us to improve the experience for each segment and build lasting loyalty." ~ Chris Pace, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at Banner Health Spectrum Retirement: "With Invoca, we let the machine learning do the work and score 100% of calls to our communities, identifying each agent's strengths and areas for improvement. Having this data in one platform for every location in real-time is a huge time-saver, and being able to tag calls in Invoca with comments has changed the game for how we coach agents." ~ Jeff Arduino, National Director of Sales at Spectrum Retirement Rick's Custom Fencing & Decking: "Invoca's AI not only measures the intent and outcome of every call, it analyzes the performance of our sales agents for the KPIs we care about. And now with Agent Voice ID, Invoca automatically identifies the specific agent on every call by analyzing their voiceprint. The technology is amazing — it's accurate and easy to use." ~ Taylor Wick, Director of Marketing at Rick's Custom Fencing & Decking About Invoca Invoca a recognized leader in conversation intelligence AI that enables marketing, sales, customer experience, and e-commerce teams to understand and immediately act on the information consumers share via conversations. Through deep integrations with leading technology platforms, revenue teams can turn conversation data into automated action to enhance every digital touchpoint and human interaction, leading to better experiences, more conversions, and higher revenue. Invoca is trusted by top brands like Dish Network, Mayo Clinic, Mutual of Omaha, and DIRECTV. Invoca has raised $184M from leading venture capitalists, including Upfront Ventures, Accel, Silver Lake Waterman, H.I.G. Growth Partners, and Salesforce Ventures. For more information, visit www.invoca.com.

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AI Applications

Innovation Meets Conversational AI: Rasa’s Revolutionary Platform

Rasa | October 13, 2023

Rasa Technologies, a pioneer in conversational AI, introduced its innovative Generative AI-native enterprise conversational platform, streamlining AI assistant construction and blending pro-code and low-code development to maximize productivity. Soufiane Houri, Chief Product Officer at Rasa, reportedly commented, With our latest platform, Rasa is democratizing generative AI, making it transparent, reliable, and trustworthy for enterprises. [Source – Cision PR Newswire] The platform, centered around CALM (Conversational AI with Language Models), facilitates natural interactions and robust language processing. This approach significantly enhances assistant fluency and reduces complexity, ensuring seamless integration within existing business logic and workflows. Comprising Rasa Pro and Rasa Studio, the platform caters to both technical and business users. Rasa Pro, an open-core conversational AI framework, enables sophisticated conversation understanding and deployment at scale, while Rasa Studio empowers users with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface to streamline workflow design. Franz Weisenburger, Head of Innovation at Deutsche Telekom Service, reportedly emphasized the platform's potential by adding, Rasa's latest platform marks a revolutionary advancement in the realm of conversational AI. It effortlessly combines ease of use with advanced capabilities. [Source – Cision PR Newswire] The Rasa Conversational AI platform, while striving to balance pro-code and low-code development, might potentially pose challenges for businesses with limited technical expertise, as the integration and optimization process could require a certain level of technical proficiency. Additionally, the platform's sophisticated nature might necessitate comprehensive training for users unfamiliar with advanced AI systems, possibly leading to a slower initial adoption rate. Rasa's newly launched conversational AI platform, integrating pro-code and low-code development, stands out as an innovative solution that simplifies AI assistant construction. By leveraging the benefits of its CALM (Conversational AI with Language Models) approach, the platform facilitates natural interactions and enhances assistant fluency, leading to a more seamless integration within existing business workflows. Furthermore, the inclusion of Rasa Pro and Rasa Studio accommodates both technical and business users, ensuring an adaptable interface and streamlined workflow design, thereby enhancing overall productivity and the user experience. About Rasa Rasa, a leading open generative conversational AI platform, caters to Fortune 500 companies, prioritizing data privacy, security, and scalability for enterprises. Since its inception in 2016, it has facilitated the creation and enhancement of enterprise-grade text and voice-based AI assistants, boasting a user base that spans both startups and large corporations. With a remote-first approach and global presence, the company's suite of products includes Rasa Pro, Rasa X/Enterprise, and Rasa-as-a-Service, allowing businesses to build, review, and improve AI interactions with ease.

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AI Applications

Planview Launches AI Copilot for Smarter Data-Driven Decision-Making

Planview | September 13, 2023

Planview, a leader in portfolio and value stream management, unveiled Planview Copilot, an advanced generative AI assistant, at its annual flagship customer event, Planview Accelerate. This innovative AI tool leverages comprehensive data sets to provide operational insights across portfolio management, value stream management, and agile planning and delivery, offering a conversational interface for data-driven strategic decision-making. Razat Gaurav, CEO of Planview, expressed his views on the potential of digital transformation initiatives. He emphasized that as organizations undertake an increasing number of these initiatives and utilize a wide range of tools to implement them, there is a significant opportunity to rethink how intelligent decisions can be made to expedite business results. He introduced Planview Copilot, which harnesses all pertinent data across project and product initiatives and delivers insights, decision support, and actions through a straightforward, conversational interface. He further highlighted this as a crucial progression in their journey from being a system of record to evolving into a system of insights for digital transformations. Planview Copilot gains access to a vast ecosystem of operational data, including exclusive strategy-to-delivery data, broader data from team tools, and an organization's historical initiative data. By integrating these data sources with Planview’s Flow Methodology and Agile Principles, Planview Copilot offers guidance and solutions throughout the strategy-to-execution journey. Richard Sonnenblick, Chief Data Scientist at Planview, stated that the future of connected work is built on a profound and insightful comprehension of how their customers deliver services, launch products, and successfully implement their strategies. He emphasized that this understanding is rooted in customer data. He explained that they utilize AI and machine learning techniques to analyze each customer's current and historical operational data in order to predict task completion, provide early warnings about tasks that may need course correction, and identify discrepancies between strategic objectives and ongoing activities. Also, he further added that through Planview Copilot, generative AI serves as the cherry on top, providing a user-friendly, conversational access point to these advanced AI and ML insights. Planview Copilot simplifies complex data insights using natural language processing, making them accessible to individuals and teams. It serves as an early warning system, alerting organizations to potential issues before they become costly or risky. This AI assistant is designed to empower executive leaders, portfolio managers, and teams by providing clear insights and recommendations. Dr. Mik Kersten, Planview CTO and Founder of The Flow Framework, emphasized, The launch of Planview Copilot marks the start of a step-function improvement in turning established organizations into digital innovators. [Source: Business Wire] This announcement follows Planview’s recent launch of Digital Products Insights, a convergence of portfolio management, agile planning, and value stream management powered by AI sentiment analysis. Planview Copilot is set to be available in Q4 2023, will reinforce Planview's commitment to proactive, data-driven decision-making for connected work. About Planview Planview, a software development company based in Austin, Texas, is on a mission to shape the future of connected work. The company is dedicated to helping organizations accelerate the achievement of their most important goals. Its platform, which underpins business and digital transformations for over 4,500 customers globally, including 59 Fortune 100 companies, is designed to accelerate the achievement of goals.

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AI Tech, General AI, Software

Invoca Unveils Next-Generation Conversation Intelligence Boosted by Generative AI

Prnewswire | June 19, 2023

Invoca, a recognized leader in conversation intelligence AI, today unveiled new capabilities that leverage a combination of generative AI, large language models (LLMs), voice biometrics, and patented machine-learning technologies to help consumer brands acquire more customers and drive revenue growth. These updates unlock new, actionable insights from conversations that marketing, e-commerce, and contact center teams can use to drive efficiencies, deliver amazing customer experiences, and significantly improve conversion rates. With generative AI and LLMs affecting two critical aspects of the customer experience – search engines and the contact center – Invoca empowers brands to stay ahead of the curve. Especially in challenging economic times, companies must deploy AI to drive tangible business impact. Invoca continues to embed cutting-edge AI technology in workflows to improve marketing ROI, increase contact center productivity, and drive profitable growth in industries like healthcare, automotive, financial services, telecom, and travel/hospitality. Today's updates include a sophisticated mix of AI technologies, each chosen for its ability to solve specific business challenges and deliver superior ROI. These new features complement Invoca's broad base of patented AI technology, first introduced in 2015 and represented today in Invoca's flagship Signal AI offering, launched in 2017. With Invoca's new cutting-edge generative AI-powered features, consumer brands can drive revenue growth by powering digital advertising and contact center performance, tapping into a goldmine of insights from phone conversations, and supercharging contact center QA and agent coaching: Powering Digital Advertising and Contact Center Performance with Actionable Insights Rapid Custom AI Model Creation: Create custom algorithms faster than ever before to pinpoint unique, actionable insights from every phone conversation, such as the product a caller is interested in, if a qualified sales lead doesn't make a purchase, or if an agent fails to qualify the caller or handle objections according to your specific call flow. Using semantic search modeled after ChatGPT, users are shown specific moments from relevant calls to review and, with a few clicks, create an algorithm to classify similar conversations in the future. This game-changing update reduces required training data by over 90% and provides a "no code" approach to building highly accurate custom algorithms trained on each business's calls in less than 30 minutes of user review time. AI Smart Alerting: Notify key personnel of mission-critical exceptions in contact center operations. Contact center managers can be alerted right away when call handling or compliance issues arise, and marketing teams can understand fast-moving topics of conversation with customers, such as pricing or competitive shifts and changes in conversion rates and campaign results. Tapping Into a Goldmine of Insights From Phone Conversations ChatGPT Call Summaries: Get a succinct AI-generated call recap, highlighting the intent, interest, outcome, and flow of every conversation. Call summaries speed up quality assurance (QA) review, reduce manual post-call work for contact center agents, and help marketers get a deeper understanding of what's happening when their campaign leads call in. Structured Data Extraction: Improve agent post-call productivity and enrich consumer profiles by using AI-powered named entity recognition (NER) to identify and extract structured zero-party data – such as intricate product details– from unstructured conversations. For example, automotive dealerships, OEMs, and service centers can extract the vehicle year, make, and model discussed by a consumer and pass that data into lead management, CRM, and CDP applications for use in automated workflows. Supercharging Contact Center QA and Agent Coaching Agent Voice ID: AI-based agent voice biometric technology automatically analyzes every conversation to identify the specific agent that handled each call. This is valuable for contact centers and a breakthrough for multi-location and franchise businesses where multiple staff members answer calls from one shared phone number. AI Call Review Console: Designed for contact center QA managers to speed up the call review and agent coaching process, the AI-powered call review console highlights calls for managers to review, facilitates coaching and feedback, and enables teams to create and share call playlists for compliance, auditing, and insight extraction. "Since the introduction of Signal AI in 2017, Invoca has focused on providing innovative, no-code AI solutions that deliver measurable business results – for experts and ordinary business users alike," said Gregg Johnson, CEO of Invoca. "In this next phase of AI adoption, we're excited to combine generative AI and LLMs with our market-leading conversation intelligence technology to push the boundaries of what's possible for marketing, e-commerce, and contact center teams in their quest to drive efficient revenue growth." Invoca's award-winning AI has received multiple accolades. Opus Research named Invoca the Leader and Top Solution for Sales & Marketing in its 2022 Conversational Intelligence Intelliview. Forrester also named Invoca a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Conversation Intelligence: Sales And Marketing, Q4 2021, claiming "Invoca is one of the few established conversation intelligence vendors that can legitimately claim AI capabilities." Since 2017, Invoca's pioneering Signal AI offering has powered marketing decision-making and increased digital and phone call conversion rates at leading brands with clear and tangible results. Banner Health decreased overall patient acquisition costs by 74%, DIRECTV saw a 110% improvement in sales agent close rates, Renewal by Andersen increased contact center appointment rates by 47%, and Spectrum Retirement experienced a 20% reduction in resident turnover. Availability Rapid custom AI model creation, AI smart alerting, ChatGPT call summaries, and Agent Voice ID are in beta with select customers today. Structured data extraction and AI call review console will be in beta in fall 2023. What Businesses Are Saying About the Impact of Invoca's AI DIRECTV: "Invoca's AI has become a critical part of our tech stack. It's given us full visibility into the call channel and significantly reduced our cost per acquisition. And we're just scratching the surface of what it can do." ~ Mark Loovis, Director of Marketing Technology at DIRECTV Banner Health: "Invoca's AI has been critical for boosting the performance of our different audience segments. It has helped us understand what a loyal vs. a non-loyal patient's experience looks like all the way through the funnel. From there, it has allowed us to improve the experience for each segment and build lasting loyalty." ~ Chris Pace, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at Banner Health Spectrum Retirement: "With Invoca, we let the machine learning do the work and score 100% of calls to our communities, identifying each agent's strengths and areas for improvement. Having this data in one platform for every location in real-time is a huge time-saver, and being able to tag calls in Invoca with comments has changed the game for how we coach agents." ~ Jeff Arduino, National Director of Sales at Spectrum Retirement Rick's Custom Fencing & Decking: "Invoca's AI not only measures the intent and outcome of every call, it analyzes the performance of our sales agents for the KPIs we care about. And now with Agent Voice ID, Invoca automatically identifies the specific agent on every call by analyzing their voiceprint. The technology is amazing — it's accurate and easy to use." ~ Taylor Wick, Director of Marketing at Rick's Custom Fencing & Decking About Invoca Invoca a recognized leader in conversation intelligence AI that enables marketing, sales, customer experience, and e-commerce teams to understand and immediately act on the information consumers share via conversations. Through deep integrations with leading technology platforms, revenue teams can turn conversation data into automated action to enhance every digital touchpoint and human interaction, leading to better experiences, more conversions, and higher revenue. Invoca is trusted by top brands like Dish Network, Mayo Clinic, Mutual of Omaha, and DIRECTV. Invoca has raised $184M from leading venture capitalists, including Upfront Ventures, Accel, Silver Lake Waterman, H.I.G. Growth Partners, and Salesforce Ventures. For more information, visit www.invoca.com.

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