Patrick is a Jenkins expert who joined AViSTO almost ten years ago. In a services center dedicated to a telecom giant, he helped design and implement a development environment used by thousands of programmers around the world every day.
Patrick presents his career and his job; he shares with us his thoughts on the open source world (Jenkins) and concludes by giving us his opinion on AViSTO.
Become a Jenkins Expert
Q: Can you tell us about your journey that led you to become a Jenkins expert?
I have 30 years of experience, so I will try to be synthetic! To summarize, my career has a certain consistency in the development of software tools allowing developers to build client applications.
After a Master Degree in Computer Science and Engineering Science, expert systems, in Polytech Nice-Sophia University, I worked 10 years around a CAD object platform, which allowed to develop software applications for nuclear power plants. Then, during 4 years, I intervened on the middleware part of a big system in relation with a call center.
Then, for 8 years, I was software architect and responsible for configuration management and changes in the field of automated re-documentation of computer applications. I joined AViSTO in 2007. I first worked for 2 years as a consultant in software configuration management, mainly with IBM ClearCase / UCM and ClearQuest tools. And since 7 years, I am expert on Jenkins solutions on a very big project.
Distributed development environment
Q: Tell us a little more about this project, which impresses me.
For a global telecom leader, AViSTO has put in place a distributed development environment that enables thousands of programmers around the world to benefit from the tools and methods they need to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week out of 7.
Q: Can you describe in broad outline the “machinery” that allows this feat of strenght?
Based on Jenkins solutions, we have designed a system to automate the build process – or continuous integration – and the workflow – or automation process – of the various tasks required to prepare new versions of software developed by our client.
This includes the recovery of configuration management data, the launch of builds made as jobs that follow one after the other, the completion of unit tests, and so on. until the final delivery of the software.
Continuous Integration Solutions
Q: And it’s Jenkins which can do all this?
Yes, Jenkins is an open source tool that allows you to supervise and integrate all those parts. He becomes the conductor of the entire development workflow. Part of the code can be created in Europe, another in the United States, the 3rd in Asia, the goal is to be able to launch a multitude of actions in parallel, to recover the deliverables and to consolidate them in a dashboard that allows you to have a global vision of everything that has been achieved.
IBM ClearCase / UCM
Q: In the past, you’ve also worked with IBM tools like ClearCase / UCM or ClearQuest. Do you prefer proprietary or open source solutions (Jenkins)?
There are good and bad on both sides.
If we talk about the negative aspects: in an open source context, the coordination between the various developers is often lacking; suddenly, it’s sometimes a bit of a mess: new versions come out quickly, but they are not always well tested and regressions appear. So when you use a software release from the open source world, you can never be 100% confident.
Q: Proprietary solutions are more “safe”?
Yes, the product is better finalized. But the counterpart is that it evolves less …
Q: In the end, are you more in favor of open-source solutions?
Today I feel comfortable in the open source environment, I even find that it has a certain charm. There is certainly little documentation, but we have access to sources. When one is a little resourceful, which is my case, one can find answers to questions; while with a proprietary tool, you can ask a question to the technical support, but it will not necessarily give you the right solution. And then, you will not have the opportunity to search for yourself. Thus, for people who like to “put their hands in the grease,” open source is interesting: we take an existing base and develop a variant; it’s much more flexible.
Jenkins Expert Job Description
Q: What do you like about your job as a Jenkins expert ?
I like the development side of tools that are available to other programmers. Moving in a fast moving environment, always at the cutting edge of technology.
Continuous integration, configuration management, is a key area for the company. For example, it is very important to be able to redeploy older versions of software up to several years back. To achieve this, you have to be able to trace everything that has happened. The tools I work on allow it.
Become a Jenkins Expert
Q: Do you have any advice for a student or a young engineer who wants to do continuous integration and configuration management, to become a Jenkins expert ?
First, be curious. Then, we must always have in mind the whole system, not just say “I want to develop such plugin”, but ask what is the overall purpose.
You must also want to make yourself available to other developers; it does not necessarily fit everyone.
Q: Is this a job for a young software engineer?
Maybe not for a beginner. Personally, while remaining in the technical side, it allowed me to do something a little bit beside; it’s rewarding because it requires a good overview of the system. So I would say it’s a great career development for engineers who want to get out of pure development
Q : Is knowing software development a prerequisite for doing your job?
Yes, because I’m also developing plugins.
But, for those who do configuration management only, not necessarily, even if it’s always a plus because it covers the full spectrum.
What he thinks about AViSTO
Q: To conclude, what can you tell us about your experience at AViSTO ?
When I was hired, I was already very experienced, and I was trusted. I was given the opportunity to work on large applications, for international companies that implemented them. I’m grateful for that.
I am also pleased to have been able to help the company develop real expertise in the field of continuous integration and configuration management, expertise that we can promote to other clients.
Every day, everything goes well, I’m happy, that’s for sure. And then, I appreciate the fact of being able to work very closely with the customer, in agile mode. We are more than consultants, we have set up a dedicated team for him; from the point of view of my personal investment, it is also very positive: I know that my work has an impact. It’s rewarding.
Jenkins Project Reference
Here’s an example of a project in the field of Continuous Integration and Configuration Management using Jenkins tools at AViSTO:
- Design and implementation of a development environment used daily by thousands of programmers around the world.
Jenkins Jobs, Emploument
Discover the job offers at AViSTO on our job board, where it is also possible to apply spontaneously.
Many thanks to Patrick for his testimonial!