Exadel had developed two well-regarded products in 2006. Exadel Studio was an Eclipse plug-in that converted Eclipse from just an integrated development environment (IDE) to a powerful web app IDE. RichFaces was a JavaServer Faces (JSF) component library developed by Exadel as part of its leadership role in JSF development at the time.
In March 2007, Exadel began a partnership with Red Hat putting Exadel Studio and RichFaces into open source under JBoss. A key part of this partnership that continues to this day (eight years later) is Red Hat contracting with Exadel for Exadel to provide a development team to work on what is now known as JBoss Developer Studio.
Denis Golovin, in our California office, has been the team lead on the Exadel side of the partnership for this whole time, so we thought we’d ask him a few questions about it.
Q & A
Eight years? That’s longer than a lot of marriages. What do you think have been key factors in keeping this partnership going?
We all just like working together as a team. It’s as simple as that. We also have an annual meeting in Brno, Czech Republic where we can get together and see each other in person.
What kind of overall team works on JBDS?
We have about 20 developers and about 10 QA people. Max Rydahl Andersen is the project manager. He lives in Switzerland. Our team is spread out across Europe and North America: Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, Belarus, Russia, Canada, and the US. Almost everyone works from home. This is all a pretty standard setup for JBoss teams.
What part of the team is contributed by Exadel?
At this point, Exadel provides six developers. Three are in the San Francisco Bay Area (including me), one in Moscow, and two in Minsk (Belarus). There’s also a project manager who spends a small amount of time ensuring that our development time is properly accounted for.
What was your involvement with the products before Red Hat/JBoss?
I’ve been with Exadel since 1999. I worked on Exadel Studio through all of its changes starting with Exadel Studio 1.0. At the time JBoss took over, I was managing both Exadel Studios (for Struts and JavaServer Faces) and RichFaces. I stayed in Moscow for a year after the deal and then came to the US.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome during the time of this development partnership, both technical and non-technical?
Two things come to mind right now. First, we had to get used to the incredibly distributed nature of JBoss development teams. Sure, with Exadel projects, you might have a team in the US and one in, say, Moscow, but that’s just two teams instead of one. This was much more spread out.
Second, we had to get used to working in open source code—feeling totally exposed. (I think it should be called “naked” source.)
Of course, now, we love both: highly distributed teams and open source.
What have been the big changes up till now product-wise?
Well, the RichFaces team decided they wanted to move beyond RichFaces, so that’s no longer developed at all. Also, JBoss Developer Studio is now free. As JBoss Developer Studio, it comes with its own Eclipse; as JBoss Tools, it can be installed as plug-ins for an existing Eclipse installation.
What kind of marketing support have you seen for JBDS?
The main part I see as a developer is support for attending conferences—very important for the kind of product JBDS is. I usually see Max at EclipseCon held out here near San Francisco. Our guys are also very involved on the conference circuit in Europe. (A lot of us are already there in Europe.)
What do you see as big changes in the future for JBDS?
More connections to other products. We’re looking at some products that host apps, Docker and Open Shift. As we get a better handle on how the FeedHenry mobile app development platform is evolving after being acquired by Red Hat, we’d like to be able to work more closely with it.
And, remember, underneath everything is Eclipse. Red Hat has been working hard to strengthen Eclipse by putting resources and leadership into the Eclipse organization. You should see a lot of improvements in Eclipse that also make JBDS better.
Any amusing anecdotes to share about the last eight years?
I can think of something that isn’t an anecdote, but is amusing. I used to have this cartoon that showed someone cutting a giant tree next to two houses. The guy ran off after cutting the tree through. Then, amazingly, the tree fell right between the houses. We sometimes joke that this is what development is often like.
The Bottom Line
When you turn to Exadel for your business solutions, you’re tapping into a pool of talent that’s both smart and intensely collaborative, and you’re partnering with an organization that’s incredibly flexible in structuring the kind of development relationship you need to help in your success.