He is a mortgage broker, and I remember him describing the loan process. The application is taken, the bank approves the application, an appraiser sets the value of the house, the lawyers draw up paperwork, the title company makes sure the house is unencumbered, and they’re ready to close the loan. There’s only one problem. The borrower decides at the last minute he wants to think about it some more, and cancels the closing. My brother-in-law’s comment: “We could do so many more loans if it weren’t for those darn borrowers!”That’s how it feels in the software industry today. A marketing department sees a sales opportunity. Designers create a new interstitial for the website, and developers make it happen with workflows and links back to fulfillment. Meanwhile, analytics pipelines are created and each step by every visitor to the website is tracked. Performance metrics are studied. Behaviors are noted. Yet, so many website visits end in “no sale.”It’s not that the company failed to execute. They did everything correctly. And you know what? Online retailers could do so much more business if it weren’t for those darn customers!The point is, there’s a human element to all of this. People are just not predictable. Some are loyal to a brand, and, like me, will forgive a one-off poor experience. Others have no patience. Some buy on a whim. Others shop an item around, and read up on features, before pulling the trigger on a purchase. It’s unpredictable behavior that renders all that resource planning, Continuous Delivery and analysis almost useless. There’s a reason that “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” is a saying.(There is an answer, and it’s found in Creepytown: “Hey we saw you put an item in your cart but failed to purchase. Can you tell us why, so we can get your money next time?”)So, is it imperative that companies race to deliver software that hasn’t been thoroughly tested, for the possibility of cashing in on an opportunity that may or may not even exist?To me (and the Ford Motor Company), quality should be now and forever Job One. Give your customers an excellent (fill in the blank) experience, and they will remain loyal customers. You won’t have to forgive a glitch, or a page that takes that little bit longer to load, or any of the other fallout from rushing an application into the world too soon. If you listen to the voices out there in our industry, organizations must release software at a breakneck pace if they want to survive in this consumerized, instant-gratification world of applications. Heaven forbid a competitor develops a new feature before you do. If that happens, you’re told, you might as well shut down your business and go fishing, which probably suits your pace better anyway!Certainly, that is the case in some situations. Anyone remember MySpace? They got to market around the same time (or even a bit before, if memory serves) as Facebook, and lost that battle, as Facebook developed advertising tools and a more engaging user interface that captured people’s imaginations. Google wasn’t the first search engine, but destroyed the competition by building out an entire (again) advertising platform and a whole lot of productivity software.(Related: Stop collecting useless business metrics)But the hyperbole thrown around today about speed to market, and lost opportunities, seems, as Bob Uecker might say, juuust a bit over the top!If you have a retail application that is slow to load, or crashes during checkout, that creates a bad user experience. But is it the end of your world? I do plenty of shopping online, at websites of retailers that I have long relationships with, and whose products I enjoy using. If their app fails while I’m checking out, I’m not going to find another website and shop there. I’m not in that much of a hurry to get my Derek Stepan jersey, or a pair of new water shoes for my wetsuit. I’ll just come back later, because I know the situation is temporary, and I like the company’s quality and service.I remember something I heard from my brother-in-law years ago that stuck with me because I thought it funny, but it still rings true today, albeit in a different industry.
NodeSource has announced the release of its platform for managing, securing and analyzing mission-critical Node.js apps. N|Solid 3.2 features new diagnostic functionality and an improved UI for monitoring and managing large-scale Node.js deployments. “As our customer base has grown along with the Node.js ecosystem, we saw the need for more powerful monitoring and management functionality in N|Solid, especially at the enterprise level,” said Thomas DeMeo, vice president of product for NodeSource “Among other major enhancements, N|Solid 3.2 delivers a more intuitive, interactive experience that makes working with Node.js applications faster and easier. It also provides more flexibility to explore Node.js metrics that no other tool can expose.”Other features include CPU profile visualizations, CPU profiles and heap snapshots and five saved view presets. Instana announces AI-powered monitoring for AWS LambdaAPM provider Instana has announced it is extending its performance monitoring solution to support AWS products including Amazon’s serverless computing platform AWS Lambda. Instana’s AI-powered APM solution is now also available through the AWS marketplace. “More business applications are operating in a hybrid environment, incorporating traditional monolithic applications, wrappered with a new microservice stack, and using native AWS services. It’s now also common to see customers starting to use AWS Lambda Functions for specific microservices as well,” said Mirko Novakovic, Instana CEO. “This level of complexity requires the ability to monitor the whole environment with a single solution that can give DevOps the required observability to see and address problems, no matter where they reside.”New AWS capabilities include continuous automatic discovery of components, and insight into configuration, performance and health of each platform. Microsoft updates Azure Databricks Microsoft has announced new capabilities to the Azure Databricks solution. Azure Databricks is designed to combine the Apache Spark analytics platform with Microsoft Azure. The latest updates include support for GPU enabled virtual machines, and a new runtime for machine learning. The runtime provides a distributed, multi-GPU training of deep learning networks and comes pre-installed and pre-configured. “This runtime enables developers to build deep learning models with a few lines of code. Previously, developers had to invest considerable time and effort to leverage these toolkits. Now, they no longer have to write their own logic to load data, distribute training code to multiple clusters and validate model accuracy,” Rohan Kumar, corporate vice president of Azure Data, wrote in a post. Microsoft announces phase two of Project Natick Microsoft is one step closer to building and deploying its underwater datacenter. Microsoft announced it has an “experimental, shipping-container-size prototype” processing workloads on the seafloor. “The deployment of the Northern Isles datacenter at the European Marine Energy Centre marks a milestone in Microsoft’s Project Natick, a years-long research effort to investigate manufacturing and operating environmentally sustainable, prepackaged datacenter units that can be ordered to size, rapidly deployed and left to operate lights out on the seafloor for years,” the company wrote. Phase one of the project was to show that the underwater datacenter was possible. Phase two will focus on researching whether it is logistical, environmentally and economically practical. SmartBear SoapUI Pro 2.4SmartBear announced the release of SoapUI Pro. SoapUI Pro is an automated API testing tool. The latest version 2.4 features a new native Jenkins plugin and improved API discovery. In addition, it provides easy-to-use API testing capabilities for teams that want to move from manual to automated testing. “The new API Discovery capability in SoapUI Pro can help bridge the gap between QA and development teams giving QA team members a fast lane to begin testing their REST and SOAP API calls and introducing quality earlier in the development process,” said Christian Wright, EVP and GM, API business at SmartBear.