Published on 20-Nov-2012
"With the new V8.5 Liberty profile and tooling, it takes seven seconds to fix an error and redeploy. The new WebSphere Developer Tools automatically compile and deploy the fix to the Liberty profile. The impact of these productivity enhancements over the whole development process is a reduction of cycle time by 20 percent. " - Raj Chacko, technical product manager, Cincom Systems
When Cincom Systems (Cincom) started up in 1968, there was no software industry. In its 44 years, the company has developed dozens of software products, among them Cincom Synchrony, a contact center and unified desktop solution that guides smarter interactions with customers and improves operational efficiency. Today Cincom’s 700 employees, located in 16 countries worldwide, are preparing for the next trend in software development: mobile applications.
Cincom’s Synchrony engineers develop using open source and deploy on licensed software. This can cause inconsistencies between the user experience in the development environment and the customer experience.
With IBM® WebSphere® Application Server 8.5 Liberty Profile, Cincom experienced fast correction of errors and redeployment that reduced development cycles significantly.
- Projected 20 percent reduction in development cycles and time to market - Fix errors and redeploy 60 times faster - Streamlined development of high-quality desktop and mobile applications
When Cincom Systems (Cincom) started up in 1968, there was no software industry. In its 44 years, the company has developed dozens of software products, among them Cincom Synchrony, a contact center and unified desktop solution that guides smarter interactions with customers and improves operational efficiency. Today Cincom’s 700 employees, located in 16 countries worldwide, are preparing for the next trend in software development: mobile applications. “That’s where the market is going,” says Raj Chacko, technical product manager for Cincom Systems. “Every industry—from healthcare to energy to retail and beyond—is moving toward mobile platforms.”
Creating inconsistencies that compromise quality
Like many other product development organizations, Cincom’s Synchrony engineering team has gravitated toward using open source products as part of its development process. However, Cincom’s customers, particularly in the financial services, energy and healthcare sectors, prefer licensed products for security as well as support reasons. Many vendor-licensed products have proprietary development environments, which can cost money and time. “In an effort to keep costs down and productivity up, what usually happens is the developers develop our products using the open source IDE and containers, and the actual deployment is done on vendor-licensed software,” says Chacko.
However, not being able to develop and test in the target deployment environment causes problems. “Customers report issues they are having in their environment,” says Chacko. “Our people can’t replicate the problems so they can’t see them. If we can’t see them, we can’t fix them.” Customers today not only expect quality products, they also expect updates and fixes to be done quickly. “We don’t have much time between the release of a product and identifying issues and trying to resolve them,” says Chacko. “That puts enormous pressure on us to get it right the first time. When we develop using open source containers, we’re bound to take directions that are different from the way the major vendors handle core technologies such as Java. Numerous threading issues result, which compromise quality.”
40 MB version of IBM WebSphere Application Server
Cincom is an IBM Premier Business Partner and for a long time has worked with IBM on various products such as Synchrony. Cincom has a product certified and running on IBM WebSphere Application Server 7 and was looking for a lightweight development version of WebSphere Application Server. Around this time Cincom received a call from an IBM contact asking the company to evaluate the new lightweight IBM WebSphere Application Server 8.5 Liberty Profile. Given that the product might solve some of Cincom’s challenges, the company was more than happy to comply. “Our first impression of the Liberty profile was that we could drag and drop it into the Eclipse environment,” says Chacko. “It worked out of the box immediately. The footprint is about 40 megabytes—next to nothing. This compares favorably to Tomcat or any other open source container.”
60-fold faster fixing of errors
Even the best coder makes errors. Fixing errors is part of the development process. “Using WebSphere Application Server prior to V8.5, it took seven minutes to fix an error and redeploy,” says Chacko. “With the new V8.5 Liberty profile and tooling, it takes seven seconds to fix an error and redeploy, which is 60 times faster. The new WebSphere Developer Tools automatically compile and deploy the fix to the Liberty profile. We don’t have to run a command. The impact of these productivity enhancements over the whole development process is a reduction of cycle time by 20 percent, helping us bring products to market in 20 percent less time. We can also produce higher-quality products.”
WASdev, the WebSphere Application Server development user community on developerWorks®, provides abundant information on development with the Liberty profile. The open source communities are a major reason for the success of open source, according to Chacko. “I tell my engineers, ‘You were participating in open source communities. Do it in WASdev. This community is going to help you back.’”
IBM Worklight and Liberty profile working together
Chacko also sees potential for the Liberty profile to simplify the process of extending functionality from Synchrony to mobile devices. “Mobile apps need to work on iOS, Android and possibly other operating systems,” Chacko says. “That adds even more complexity to managing an environment where development and deployment happen on two different platforms.”
IBM Worklight provides an open, comprehensive and advanced mobile application platform for smartphones and tablets that enables the creation of rich, cross-platform apps without the use of code translation, proprietary interpreters or unpopular scripting languages. Together, Worklight and the Liberty profile provide a lightweight, fast development environment that addresses both Java and mobile development needs.
“With the addition of Worklight in the Liberty profile, developers get a framework for developing and maintaining applications that can be supported across multiple smart devices,” Chacko says. “This is where we want to take our application.”
Will Cincom use the Liberty profile? “I see a place for Liberty profile in our future,” says Chacko. “Our engineers say it’s a great product, very promising. When engineers say ‘very promising,’ it means they’re really excited about the product. Otherwise they’d be the first ones to head out for open source alternatives.”
For more information
To learn more about the IBM WebSphere Application Server 8.5 Liberty Profile, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following websites:
www.wasdev.net (Developer Forum for the Liberty profile)
Products and services used
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