When ZeroTurnaround first burst onto the scene in 2007 with its quick deployment tools and promises to improve developer productivity by integrating code changes on the fly, I recognized the value in what they were offering to the Java community, but I certainly didn't think their company would have a very long shelf life.
After all, the need for a product like JRebel was predicated on the shortcomings of the Java Development Toolkit (JDK) and the weird way in which classloaders behaved. It seemed that ZeroTurnaround -- a seller of software development tools based in Boston and Tartu, Estonia -- lived with uncertainty hanging over its head, as all it would take is a new release of the JDK in which Sun or Oracle modified the implementation enough to allow for automatic redeployment of code. That would eliminate the need for JRebel completely, and all of ZeroTurnaround's product releases would be little more than a footnote in the Java history books.
Of course, my assessment of ZeroTurnaround's long-term prospects couldn't have been further off the mark, as the company has not only survived but has grown, while at the same time releasing new products like XRebel, a lightweight Java profiling tool, onto the market.
Proving that ZeroTurnaround is indeed still around, I got a chance to chat with Anton Arhipov, a product manager there, and Geert Bevin, a former product manager for the company who recently became senior software engineer at Moog Music. In the conversation, I brought up the question about their long-term prospects, and why it is that Sun -- and later Oracle -- never ended up stepping on their toes by integrating JRebel-esque, build-and-deploy features into the JDK. Take a listen to the accompanying podcast to hear their take on developer productivity.
Other questions we pitch to Arhipov and Bevin in this podcast include:
- What are the intangible attributes that make a good software product great?
- How has the commoditization of integrated development environments changed the software development market?
- Why does a commercial tool like IntelliJ IDEA remain so popular when highly polished, free and open source alternatives like Eclipse and NetBeans exist?
- What are the pertinent use-cases for XRebel?
- How has JRebel changed over the years? For example, if people haven't used the tool in five years, what big changes would impress them if they installed it today?
It's a short podcast, clocking in at just under 10 minutes in length, so give it a listen and find how ZeroTurnaround assesses the current state of software tooling and how to improve developer productivity in the Java industry.
What are the productivity tools that you can't live without? Let us know.
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