7 old tools teams need to dump in 2017 for better ones, to develop better

Today’s post is about migrations from old tools and technologies to new and better ones. One cannot ignore how quick our technology is progressing, one small change in workflow saves enormous amount of time which otherwise is overlooked. When I say technology I do not mean technology on conceptual level, but technology which empowers common users and teams like ours.

We often get comfortable with the set of tools we work with daily, even though we really need to be more transparent and more objective with such decisions. We at Test Collab are often guilty of the same thing. It’s crucial to get some external feedback to see things more objectively. So that’s why I’d like to share some tools you need to dump and why, along with their newer and better alternatives.

#1 CI System: Old self-hosted Jenkins to any new cloud hosted tools.

Out: Jenkins

In: Shippable

Why?

Jenkins is a mature project and while it was a great tool few years back, it no longer works with essential requirements teams need today. The absence of pipelines and branching as first class citizens, and stricter environment level provisioning – Jenkins no longer works for moving up the ladder of continuous deployment maturity.

Apart from getting old, other issue is cost. Computing costs have gone down and most of the cloud tools provide a lot of functionality and builds at free of cost – at a starter level. These new cloud tools are extremely scalable and provides great ROI.

Other alternatives:

Travis CI, Semaphore CI

 

#2 Version control: SVN to Git

Out: SVN

In: Git

Why?

In beginning, I was a bit skeptical about the gains it would offer compared to the cost it would require to migrate. So I set out to do some experimentation and was pleasantly surprised by source code push/pull speeds and merging. Git uses compressed network transfer mode which made pulling out 2500 or so files in seconds as opposed to minutes in Subversion.

Although SVN is still an active project but I doubt they’ll push something as innovative as Git – so this seems like a good move.

Alternative:

Mercurial

 

#3 Project management: JIRA to any Kanban tool

Out: JIRA

In: Trello

Why?

While JIRA and similar tools make good issue managers to dump all your bugs in, they make a terrible project management tool. Really, think about it, what project really is? First there’s your product and any iteration you do on it is a project. Now in order to be kickass with your iterations you need to see where everything is, along with their respective statuses and if something is being worked upon for too long to quickly identify issues. JIRA and such tools don’t offer that (at least they weren’t created for this purpose)

With new Kanban board tools, you get to see full picture every time you open them instead of dead index of issues. I don’t know about others but I’m urged to push forward when I see the bigger picture.

Alternatives:

Kanban Tool

 

#4 Test Management: Spreadsheets to Test Collab

Out: Spreadsheets

In: Test Collab

Why?

Okay, we maybe a little biased here but hey, we gotta pay our bills too. Spreadsheets doesn’t work well for test management tasks. Spreadsheets don’t delegate… Test Collab does. Spreadsheets doesn’t integrate with your issue managers, Test Collab does. Spreadsheets doesn’t track testing time and quality metrics, Test Collab does. So I guess that’s enough reason to at least try us. huh?

Alternatives:

HP Test Manager

 

#5 Development environment: Desktop to C9

Out: Desktop

In: C9

Why?

Why code on your laptop when you can code in browser on remote workspace? Wait did I say workspace? Try tens or hundreds of workspaces. With tools like C9 you can launch as many workspaces as you want with clean OS and nothing else. Finally, you can focus plainly on all things creative instead of resolving dependency hell and desktop issues.

You can experiment more on OS level and quickly install / uninstall so many packages. Desktop lovers might be thinking, so what? We’ve got VM’s and now Docker, what’s the big deal? Yes it is a big deal – I can open 10 parallel workspaces and play with them without watching my laptop hard-drive go crazy. And another lovable fact: your packages download super-fast without hurting your bandwidth.

Alternatives:

Code Anywhere

 

#6 Webhooks: Custom coded to Zapier

Out: Your hacky custom coded stuff

In: Zapier

Why?

There’s no reason to code several connectors among different web services anymore (well in at least 90% of the cases now). Because any service you can possibly imagine will most likely be found at Zapier and you can make your own integrations very easily. It has never been this easier to connect 2 or more services together and make data flow through them – it just works wonderfully.

Alternatives:

Automate.io

 

#7 Hosted servers to Server-less computing

Out: Hosted servers

In: AWS Lambda

Why?

I haven’t seen a similar company as Amazon. These guys are so disruptive that they disrupt their own products – Lambda is such a product. AWS Lambda removes the need of always-on servers altogether instead your code runs in the cloud and you just manipulate the result. Migrating an existing API to AWS Lambda has steep learning curve and also requires some kind of shift in team’s mentality but it’s totally worth it. You can cut down your costs as much as 50-60% in some cases.

Alternatives:

Google Cloud Functions

About the Author

Abhimanyu is founder of Test Collab, a test case management tool. Test Collab makes your testing more productive and efficient by enabling teams to collaborate in real-time.

  • Amazingly written article. Yes, when it comes to CI/CD, Shippable beats everyone.

    • Abhimanyu Grover

      Thanks for the kind words. I think Shippable works perfect especially when you have Docker involved in your native workflow. But for people starting out, Semaphore is more flexible and gives a little leeway to play around.

      • Shippable comes with a freemium plan that lets you build unlimited public projects and 150 builds/mo for private projects & support .travis.yml format so it’s actually pretty easy to get started.