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Our First Foray into the World of Jenkins

Recently, the members of the Undo team traveled to Santa Clara, California for Jenkins World, the largest gathering of Jenkins users in the world. Greg Law, CEO and co-founder of Undo, was onsite – attending keynotes, listening to break-out sessions, meeting with customers and other sponsors, and soaking up all that Jenkins World has to offer. Below, Greg shares some of his thoughts and insights from the show.

Being onsite at Jenkins World really reiterated how Jenkins is not just a way to develop code; it is a culture. It was amazing to be amongst a large group of like-minded people that care about software quality assurance and are constantly learning from one another, and I certainly learnt from them. Through talking to developers of all ilks and listening to some of the major issues in software development that affected them, a common consensus was the belief that the right tooling can improve software quality. They had gone to Jenkins World to find out precisely how they could improve their development processes and what new tools were on the market to make development swifter and better.

I hadn’t quite realized how self-selecting Jenkins truly is, and this became clear during the course of the event. There is the pervasive belief that Jenkins is up-and-coming, and that mentality draws people from many different parts of the industry. Though they are all in software and technology, Jenkins users are very diverse, using different platforms, tools and approaches. It was very inspiring to be around so many like-minded individuals, all of whom are accomplishing unique projects in a variety of ways.

Three other members of the Undo team joined me at Jenkins World and I spent some time at the Undo exhibition booth, which was inundated with traffic from start to finish. There were so many reasons why people were interested in learning more about Undo and a variety of ways in which they would use the product. Listening to these conversations and the needs developers have will help carve out Undo’s journey as we continue to establish ourselves in the world of continuous integration and DevOps.

As a Linux developer, I was especially interested to learn how Jenkins was first developed and the need it first served. Jenkins founder, Kohsuke Kawaguchi, was not looking to start a company when he invented the world-renowned continuous integration tool but at the time, was looking to create a solution for problems that many developers were experiencing. As a coder at heart, I completely understand this evolution. My own company was founded because there was a lack of effective debugging tools on the market. I therefore set out with my co-founder, Dr. Julian Smith, to create a high performance reversible debugger, allowing developers to go backwards as well as forwards in their code to find the root cause of a bug. Since then, the company’s vision has matured and today, Undo’s recording and debugging technology gives developers complete visibility into what their software was really doing at the point at which it crashed. Like Jenkins, the genesis for Undo was thus a real market need and a desire to make software development easier and more efficient. While Kohsuke had no idea how far Jenkins would take him, it’s great to see the impact his work is having on millions of users around the world! At Undo, we look forward to continuing to minimize the $312 billion industry problem that is debugging as we continue to scale our business.

At the show, Undo announced our first-ever Jenkins Plugin for our recording technology, Live Recorder, which allows developers to capture an exact copy of their program’s execution in a recording file which can then be analysed and debugged on any machine (watch a short video on Youtube). As this is our first foray into the world of Jenkins, it was both exciting and useful to dive right into the community through this invigorating event. The Jenkins plugin grew out of a real user need and attending Jenkins World helped to confirm this, and we look forward to being an active member of the Jenkins community in the future.