“I want to spend less time in QA, but I still want to go to production with full confidence in the release. The more time we spend in QA, the more time we waste – we just can’t expect to catch everything in testing, our product is too complex and our QA team is too small. Can you guys help with that?”
This is an excerpt from a conversation I had with a CTO several years ago. I don’t think I’ve personally had a more prophetic conversation with someone about a product than this one. The thing is, I didn’t even recognize the genius of it then. None of us did.
See, here’s the thing: even though our focus was on insights into your product once it’s in production, as a developer, you’re not really thinking all that much about what happens after it goes into production and stabilizes. No, your focus, of course, is writing code – hopefully writing quality code, efficient code, elegant code. But, first and foremost, your job is to build stuff. You look for tools that help you write better code, and write it faster; you look for tools and techniques that help you know your code has quality and performance baked in; and, as much as possible, you try to put secondary tasks on autopilot (builds, deployments, tests, etc.) so that you can focus on job 1: writing great code.
And, really, therein lies the rub: from the time you write the code until the time you deploy it to production, there is precious little insight for most of us into whether that code is going to be any good or not once it faces live fire. Sure, we can give you great feedback once it’s there, but that’s awfully late in the game to start improving your code!
So, that got us thinking: What if we could take all of the great technology that we had already developed and move the insights earlier in an application’s lifecycle (shift left) to help you prevent code-level problems from making it into production in the first place? Can we help put runtime code and release validation on autopilot? Can we tie it all together through the whole lifecycle so you have a safety net at every step of the way?
We started by building our new developer tool, Prefix, packing the same kind of runtime code-level insights you get in production via Retrace into a desktop version that profiles your code in real-time while you’re running it locally. With Prefix, now you can identify and fix problems before they ever even get checked in.
It takes almost no effort to install and use Prefix – it quietly observes while you do your work – but you get immediate, in-depth feedback that will prove invaluable. It’s as autopilot as it gets – instant feedback, meaningful insights, zero effort. Try the free version and use it as long as it serves your needs; if you outgrow it, you’re welcome to try out our Premium version (and you can always go back to the free edition if you decide that’s all you need).
Why Retrace for Pre-Prod—doesn’t Prefix catch everything? Well, in many cases there are new variables introduced once you bring all the code together in a pre-production environment that don’t exist on your workstation, and it’s here that you get to start seeing how your app will behave in an increasingly production-like environment. This is your first chance to see what might go wrong in production, well before you actually get to production and impact real users.
Retrace for Pre-Production gives you all of the insights into the performance and health of your app that you get from Retrace for Production, including full code profiling and identification of new and regressed errors, but at a discounted price befitting the pre-production environment. Want to make sure that your release is really ready for prime time before pushing to production? Let Retrace for Pre-Production help you validate that release while you do the testing that you’re going to be doing anyway, providing a safety net to help you catch anything that would otherwise sneak into production. QA can’t catch everything, after all.
Oh, and if you’re running Prefix already, you can compare performance between your desktop version and what’s running in your other environments!
Again, just one more way we put a complex task on autopilot for you and provide a safety net to help you move forward quickly with confidence.
This is really just the beginning for us in bringing you more powerful visibility and support for building better apps and delivering them to production faster with more confidence. Just like that conversation helped us connect some dots on how best to serve you, we hope Prefix and Retrace help you connect some dots of your own when those mysteries show up in your code.
We also hope you will continue the dialog and help us connect more dots for you. Let us know what else would help you build better apps faster and get to production quicker with better quality and greater confidence. Just as with that pivotal conversation a few years ago, we’re always listening!