Apprendan Q&A – Talking 5.0 with Jon Norton, .NET Team Lead

Ryan Quackenbush

By Ryan Quackenbush

Our 5.0 release has been our biggest and most ambitious to date. We’ve all learned so much from our customers and we’re proud to know we’re building the best PaaS: for the Enterprise, with the Enterprise. This series of blog posts includes Q&A with some of the Apprendans who worked hard to create Apprenda 5.0. Hear what they learned, what they think is important, and how they made it through our most aggressive release schedule ever.

Fun Fact: Extreme Bass Player, wishes he could play like Stefan Lessard

Ryan: What are you most excited about in Apprenda 5.0?
Jon: There’s so much included in this release: some things that existing customers have really been looking forward to. Honestly, I think the most powerful feature is one that may take our clients a bit of time to get to know but will make the biggest difference in the long-term, is the bootstrap policy feature. It grants you an immense amount of flexibility.

Basically, this allows organizations to perform some of the magic that we’re able to do on their own. They can add functionality to their devs’ apps in an automated way, enabling them to perform it once for their entire company vs. each individual developer needing to perform an action for their individual apps.

Ryan: Can you describe a scenario where bootstrapping would come into play within an organization?
Jon: We have customers who are already planning to add their own authentication into it because they can’t quite use ours. Or more precisely, they’re augmenting our authentication with data that their developers are used to having. An enterprise can add support for the other services offered to its developers that aren’t part of the Apprenda platform. It makes everything seem much more integrated for the devs who are using it. And it also avoids a lot of error-prone configurations. Instead of having developers trying to copy & paste from a wiki or performing some kind of manual process along that line, they’re able to just say “I want support for X-Y-Z” and the platform does it for portal 2

Ryan: How did Apprenda come up with this feature?
Jon: A number of our customers needed support for various monitoring packs or customized things inside their organizations. We might not want to add support to these directly to the core Apprenda product, but by doing it this way we can more easily meet our customer’s needs. So we can provide support for New Relic (or some other monitoring package) as something that you can simply download from our website and install to your particular instance of the platform. Or, if you’ve got some custom, in-house thing you need to add support for, you can develop it yourself or with the help of our client services department.

Ryan: What was it like to work on a 9-month, as opposed to a 6-month release cycle?
Jon: It certainly let us get a lot done. It’s one of our most ambitious releases and I think you can tell that just by looking at the bullet points, and really how significant the bullet points in 5.0 are. Having this longer timeline certainly enabled that.

Ryan: Are there any features of 5.0 that you’s like to discuss that may not get as much fanfare in the general market?
Jon: I keep coming back to the bootstrap policies. To realize how helpful it is you have to be a fairly far along in your PaaS deployment. It’s not going to be a marquee item. When we announced the release, the fireworks are associated with our enhancements to Java and Oracle support and individual users across multiple tenants, but this really powerful thing is included in there, too. Down the line, it’s going to be really appreciated.

Ryan: Are there any other features that really stand out and that you think will really benefit a developer?
Jon: So many of our existing core features remain extremely useful. To start with, apps can be deployed with the click of a button, which is pretty cool for most devs. Adding to that, devs can get a single sign-on, the way the organization wants it, through the check of a box. Devs get authorization the way the organization wants it, multitenancy, and so on. These are all really powerful features all available for every Java and .NET developer using Apprenda’s platform. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Ryan: What message would you like to give to the first-time user of Apprenda?
Jon: Don’t be afraid to dig into it. It’s really easy to get excited about deployment. Everyone does deployment. It’s important to look at the deeper features we offer, such as authentication, authorization, multitenancy, other bootstrapping that your organization might need, and see how those can help you, too. These deeper features are where you truly begin to realize the value that our platform offers.

Check out the other interviews in this series!



Ryan Quackenbush
Ryan Quackenbush

Ryan Quackenbush is the Advocacy Programs Manager at Apprenda. His cooking is renowned, his record collection and library are extensive and, when not at Apprenda, he can usually be found rooting for the Mets or playing live music. You can follow him on Twitter at @RSQuackenbush.

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