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Main article: Developer

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Google’s GitHub competitor gets better search tools

03:00 | 20 September

Google today announced an update to Cloud Source Repositories, its recently relaunched Git-based source code repository, that brings a significantly better search experience to the service. This new search feature is based on the same tool that Google’s own engineers use day in and day out and it’s now available in the beta release of Cloud Source Repositories.

If you’ve been on the internet for a while, then you probably remember Google Code Search. Code Search allowed you to search through any open-source code on the internet. Sadly, Google shut this down back in 2012. This new feature isn’t quite the same, though. It only allows you to search your own code — or that from other people in your company. It’s just as fast as Google’s own search, though, and allows you to use regular expressions and other advanced search features.

One nifty feature here is that for Java, JavaScript, Go, C++, Python, TypeScript and Proto files, the tools will also return information on whether the match is a class, method, enum or field.

Google argues that searching through code locally is not very efficient and means you are often looking at outdated code.

As Google also notes, you can mirror your code from GitHub and Bitbucket with Cloud Source Repositories. I’m not sure a lot of developers will do this only to get the advanced search tools, but it’s definitely a way for Google to get more users onto its platform, which is a bit of an underdog in an ecosystem that’s dominated by the likes of GitHub.

“One key benefit is that now all owned repositories that are either mirrored or added to Cloud Source Repositories can be searched in a single query,” Cloud Source Repositories product manager Russell Wolf writes in today’s announcement. “This works whether you have a small weekend project or a code base the size of Google’s. And it’s fast: You’ll get the answers you need super quickly—much faster than previous functionality—so you can get back to writing code. And indexing is super fast, too, so the time between new code being added and being available means you’re always searching up-to-date code.”

 


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Google’s Cloud Memorystore for Redis is now generally available

03:00 | 20 September

After five months in public beta, Google today announced that its Cloud Memorystore for Redis, its fully managed in-memory data store, is now generally available.

The service, which is fully compatible with the Redis protocol, promises to offer sub-millisecond responses for applications that need to use in-memory caching. And because of its compatibility with Redis, developers should be able to easily migrate their applications to this service without making any code changes.

Cloud Memorystore offers two service tiers — a basic one for simple caching and a standard tier for users who need a highly available Redis instance. For the standard tier, Google offers a 99.9 percent availability SLA.

Since it first launched in beta, Google added a few additional capabilities to the service. You can now see your metrics in Stackdriver, for example. Google also added custom IAM roles and improved logging.

As for pricing, Google charges per GB-hour, depending on the service level and capacity you use. You can find the full pricing list here.

 


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GitLab raises $100M

20:01 | 19 September

GitLab, the developer service that aims to offer a full lifecycle DevOps platform, today announced that it has raised a $100 million Series D funding round at a valuation of $1.1 billion. The round was led by Iconiq.

As GitLab CEO Sid Sijbrandij told me, this round, which brings the company’s total funding to $145.5 million, will help it enable its goal of reaching an IPO by November 2020.

According to Sijbrandij, GitLab’s original plan was to raise a new funding round at a valuation over $1 billion early next year. But since Iconiq came along with an offer that pretty much matched what the company set out to achieve in a few months anyway, the team decided to go ahead and raise the round now. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub earlier this year helped to accelerate those plans, too.

“We weren’t planning on fundraising actually. I did block off some time in my calendar next year, starting from February 25th to do the next fundraise,” Sijbrandij said. “Our plan is to IPO in November of 2020 and we anticipated one more fundraise. I think in the current climate, where the macroeconomics are really good and GitHub got acquired, people are seeing that there’s one independent company, one startup left basically in this space. And we saw an opportunity to become best in class in a lot of categories.”

As Sijbrandij stressed, while most people still look at GitLab as a GitHub and Bitbucket competitor (and given the similarity in their names, who wouldn’t?), GitLab’s wants to be far more than that. It now offers products in nine categories and also sees itself as competing with the likes of VersionOne, Jira, Jenkins, Artifactory, Electric Cloud, Puppet, New Relic, and BlackDuck.

“The biggest misunderstanding we’re seeing is that GitLab is an alternative to GitHub and we’ve grown beyond that,” he said. “We are now in nine categories all the way from planning to monitoring.”

Sijbrandij notes that there’s a billion-dollar player in every space that GitLab competes it. “But we want to be better,” he said. “And that’s only possible because we are open core, so people co-create these products with us. That being said, there’s still a lot of work on our side, helping to get those contributions over the finish line, making sure performance and quality stay up, establish a consistent user interface. These are things that typically don’t come from the wider community and with this fundraise of $100 million, we will be able to make sure we can sustain that effort in all the different product categories.”

Given this focus, GitLab will invest most of the funding in its engineering efforts to build out its existing products but also to launch new ones. The company plans to launch new features like tracing and log aggregation, for example.

With this very public commitment to an IPO, GitLab is also signaling that it plans to stay independent. That’s very much Sijbrandij’s plan, at least, though he admitted that “there’s always a price” if somebody came along and wanted to acquire the company. He did note that he likes the transparency that comes with being a public company.

“We always managed to be more bullish about the company than the rest of the world,” he said. “But the rest of the world is starting to catch up. This fundraise is a statement that we now have the money to become a public company where we’re not we’re not interested in being acquired. That is what we’re setting out to do.”

 


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Mabl announces $20 million Series B to bring automated QA to enterprise customers

16:00 | 18 September

Mabl, a Boston-based startup from the folks who brought you Stackdriver, wants to change software testing using machine learning, and today it announced a $20 million Series B investment led by GV (formerly Google Ventures).

Existing investors CRV and Amplify Partners also participated. As part of the deal, Karim Faris, general partner at GV will be joining the Mabl board. Today’s investment comes on top of a $10 million Series A announced in February.

While it was at it, the company also announced a brand new enterprise product. In fact, part of the reason for going for a hefty Series B so soon after landing the Series A was because it takes some money to service enterprise clients, company founder Izzy Azeri explained.

Azeri says that when he and his partner Dan Belcher decided to start a new company after selling Stackdriver to Google in 2014, they wanted to be methodical about it. They did some research to find gaps and pain points the new company could address. What they found was that QA wasn’t keeping up with modern development speed.

They saw development and testing teams spending too much time simply maintaining the testing regimen, and they believed with machine learning they could help automate the QA process and deliver it in the form of a cloud service, allowing testing to keep up.

Instead of looking at the code level, Mabl looks at your website or service and alerts you to errors like increased load time, broken links or other problems, and displays the results in a dashboard. When it finds an issue, it flags the step in the process where the problem occured and sends a screenshot to the test or development team where they can analyze it and fix it if needed.

Mabl dashboard. Screenshot: Mabl

They launched in Beta last February and went GA in May. Since then, they were pleasantly surprised to find that larger companies were interested in their service and they knew they needed to beef up the base product to appeal to these customers.

That meant adding secure tunneling, which they call Mabl Link, a higher level of encryption, support for cross-browser testing and integration with enterprise single sign-on. They also needed a higher level of support and training, which are also part of the enterprise package.

They let each customer try the full suite of features when they sign up for 21 days, after which they can drop down to Pro or sign up for the enterprise version, depending on their budgets and requirements.

Mabl currently has 30 employees in Boston, and as they develop the enterprise business, the plan is bring that up to 70 in the next year as they add enterprise sales people, customer success staff and of course more engineering to keep building the product.

 


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Nvidia launches the Tesla T4, its fastest data center inferencing platform yet

06:00 | 13 September

Nvidia today announced its new GPU for machine learning and inferencing in the data center. The new Tesla T4 GPUs (where the ‘T’ stands for Nvidia’s new Turing architecture) are the successors to the current batch of P4 GPUs that virtually every major cloud computing provider now offers. Google, Nvidia said, will be among the first to bring the new T4 GPUs to its Cloud Platform.

Nvidia argues that the T4s are significantly faster than the P4s. For language inferencing, for example, the T4 is 34 times faster than using a CPU and more than 3.5 times faster than the P4. Peak performance for the P4 is 260 TOPS for 4-bit integer operations and 65 TOPS for floating point operations. The T4 sits on a standard low-profile 75 watt PCI-e card.

What’s most important, though, is that Nvidia designed these chips specifically for AI inferencing. “What makes Tesla T4 such an efficient GPU for inferencing is the new Turing tensor core,” said Ian Buck, Nvidia’s VP and GM of its Tesla data center business. “[Nvidia CEO] Jensen [Huang] already talked about the Tensor core and what it can do for gaming and rendering and for AI, but for inferencing — that’s what it’s designed for.”

In addition to the new chip, Nvidia is also launching a refresh of its TensorRT software for optimizing deep learning models. This new version also includes the TensorRT inference server, a fully containerized microservice for data center inferencing that plugs seamlessly into an existing Kubernetes infrastructure.

 

 

 


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Anaxi brings more visibility to the development process

19:16 | 11 September

Anaxi‘s mission is to bring more transparency to the software development process. The tool, which is now live for iOS, with web and Android versions planned for the near future, connects to GitHub to give you actionable insights about the state of your projects and manage your projects and issues. Support for Atlassian’s Jira is also in the works.

The new company was founded by former Apple engineering manager and Docker EVP of product development Marc Verstaen and former CodinGame CEO John Lafleur. Unsurprisingly, this new tool is all about fixing the issues these two have seen in their daily lives as developers.

“I’ve been doing software for 40 years,” Verstaen told me.” And every time is the same. You start with a small team and it’s fine. Then you grow and you don’t know what’s going on. It’s a black box.” While the rest of the business world now focuses on data and analytics, software development never quite reached that point. Verstaen argues that this was acceptable until 10 or 15 years ago because only software companies were doing software. But now that every company is becoming a software company, that’s not acceptable anymore.

Using Anaxi, you can easily see all issue reports and pull requests from your GitHub repositories, both public and private. But you also get visual status indicators that tell you when a project has too many blockers, for example, as well as the ability to define your own labels. You also can define due dates for issues.

One interesting aspect of Anaxi is that it doesn’t store all of this information on your phone or on a proprietary server. Instead, it only caches as little information as necessary (including your handles) and then pulls the rest of the information from GitHub as needed. That cache is encrypted on the phone, but for the most part, Anaxi simply relies on the GitHub API to pull in data when needed. There’s a bit of a trade-off here in terms of speed, but Verstaen noted that this also means you always get the most recent data and that GitHub’s API is quite fast and easy to work with.

The service is currently available for free. The company plans to introduce pricing plans in the future, with prices based on the number of developers that use the product inside a company.

 


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What makes Apple’s design culture so special

18:14 | 10 September

A few days ago, I interviewed Ken Kocienda at TechCrunch Disrupt SF — he just released a book called Creative Selection. After working at Apple during some of the company’s best years, Kocienda looks back at what makes Apple such a special place.

The book in particular starts with a demo. Kocienda is invited to demo to Steve Jobs his prototype of what is about to become the iPad software keyboard.

And it’s the first of a long string of demos punctuating the book. As a reader, you follow along all the ups and downs of this design roller coaster. Sometimes, a demo clearly shows the way forward. Sometimes, it’s the equivalent of hitting a wall of bricks over and over again.

Kocienda’s career highlights include working on WebKit and Safari for the Mac right after he joined the company as well as working on iOS before the release of the first iPhone. He’s the one responsible of autocorrect and the iPhone keyboard in general.

If you care about user interfaces and design processes, it’s a good read. And it feels refreshing to read a book with HTML code, keyboard drawings and other nerdy things. It’s much better than the average business book.

 


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PagerDuty raises $90M to wake up more engineers in the middle of the night

20:47 | 6 September

PagerDuty, the popular service that helps businesses monitor their tech stacks, manage incidents and alert engineers when things go sideways, today announced that it has raised a $90 million Series D round at a valuation of $1.3 billion. With this, PagerDuty, which was founded in 2009, has now raised well over $170 million.

The round was led by T. Rowe Price Associates and Wellington Management . Accel, Andreessen Horowitz and Bessemer Venture Partners. Given the leads in this round, chances are that PagerDuty is gearing up for an IPO.

“This capital infusion allows us to continue our investments in innovation that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning, enabling us to help our customers transform their companies and delight their customers,” said Jennifer Tejada, CEO at PagerDuty in today’s announcement. “From a business standpoint, we can strengthen our investment in and development of our people, our most valuable asset, as we scale our operations globally. We’re well positioned to make the lives of digital workers better by elevating work to the outcomes that matter.”

Currently PagerDuty users include the likes of GE, Capital One, IBM, Spotify and virtually every other software company you’ve ever heard of. In total, over 10,500 enterprises now use the service. While it’s best known for its alerting capabilities, PagerDuty has expanded well beyond that over the years, though it’s still a core part of its service. Earlier this year, for example, the company announced its new AIOps services that aim to help businesses reduce the amount of noisy and unnecessary alerts. I’m sure there’s a lot of engineers who are quite happy about that (and now sleep better).

 


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PoLTE lets you track devices using LTE signal

01:02 | 6 September

Meet PoLTE, a Dallas-based startup that wants to make location-tracking more efficient. Thanks to PoLTE’s software solution, logistics and shipment companies can much more easily track packages and goods. The startup is participating in TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF.

If you want to use a connected device to track a package, you currently need a couple of things — a way to determine the location of the package, and a way to transmit this information over the air. The most straightforward way of doing it is by using a GPS chipset combined with a cellular chipset.

Systems-on-chip have made this easier as they usually integrate multiple modules. You can get a GPS signal and wireless capabilities in the same chip. While GPS is insanely accurate, it also requires a ton of battery just to position a device on a map. That’s why devices often triangulate your position using Wi-Fi combined with a database of Wi-Fi networks and their positions.

And yet, using GPS or Wi-Fi as well as an LTE modem doesn’t work if you want to track a container over multiple weeks or months. At some point, your device will run out of battery. Or you’ll have to spend a small fortune to buy a ton of trackers with big batteries.

PoLTE has developed a software solution that lets you turn data from the cell modem into location information. It works with existing modems and only requires a software update. The company has been working with Riot Micro for instance.

[gallery ids="1705634,1705625,1705622,1705621,1705619"]

Behind the scene PoLTE’s magic happens on their servers. IoT devices don’t need to do any of the computing. They just need to send a tiny sample of LTE signals and PoLTE can figure out the location from their servers. Customers can then get this data using an API.

It only takes 300 bytes of data to get location information with precision of less than a few meters. You don’t need a powerful CPU, Wi-Fi, GPS or Bluetooth.

“We offer 80 percent cost reduction on IoT devices together with longer battery life,” CEO Ed Chao told me.

On the business side, PoLTE is using a software-as-a-service model. You can get started for free if you don’t need a lot of API calls. You then start paying depending on the size of your fleet of devices and the number of location requests.

It doesn’t really matter if the company finds a good business opportunity. PoLTE is a low-level technology company at heart. Its solution is interesting by itself and could help bigger companies that are looking for an efficient location-tracking solution.

 


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TomTom launches a free mobile maps SDK for developers

16:00 | 5 September

TomTom, the mapping and navigation company you probably still remember from its heyday as a leader in the stand-alone in-car GPS space, is launching a free mobile maps SDK for developers at TechCrunch Disrupt today. This move is part of the company’s overall transformation from a consumer device manufacturer to a software company.

The new SDK will feature free maps and traffic tiles for all Android and iOS users. As TomTom VP of business development and product marketing Leandro Margulis told me, free in this case really means free. While the SDK doesn’t offer routing and some other advanced features, there’s no limit to how developers use its mapping and traffic tiles.

“This is about putting the developer at the center of everything that we do,” Magulis told me. “If you look at any kind of partnership that you do, either big or small, at some point you tell and engineer or a developer to go and try the API. We want to make sure that everybody can see the beauty of what we can do.” He noted that other players in this space also give away a lot of different things, but that TomTom decided to give away what it does best — and to do so without any restrictions in terms of API calls. And developers won’t even have to give TomTom a credit card number to do so.

As Magulis also stressed, developers can mix and match geolocation services from multiple vendors without breaking any of TomTom’s rules.

In addition to the new SDK, TomTom is also making a number of other announcements today. STMicroelectronics, for example, is connecting its development tools directly to TomTom’s Maps API to help IoT companies locate their devices. RideOS, an autonomous driving startup, will use TomTom’s real-time and historical traffic data and maps for its platform while Zenly will use the company’s routing and parts of its search APIs to power its social maps.

“People may say, ‘TomTom, are you guys still around?’ But yeah, we’re thriving,” Margulis said. “And we’re not your dad’s TomTom, we’re not you mom’s TomTom. We’re your TomTom. We are a technology company, we are location experts and we are here to enable the next generation of location-based use cases.”

 

 

 


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