For this week's user spotlight, I'm talking to Rasheed Abdul-Aziz of VisFleet Ltd. out of New Zealand. This being our second "spotlight" on a particular company, the format can still be considered beta; if you have any additional questions for Rasheed, feel free to ask them in the comments and I'll try to get Rasheed to answer.

Similar to the spotlight on ITA Software from last week, VisFleet builds business software helping their customers operate their businesses more effectively through web applications in tandem with mobile applications. While I could endlessly discuss the power and flexibility of Hudson, particularly for building web software, I'll let Rasheed do the majority of the talking, so let's get to it.

Hudson Rasheed, thanks for talking with me today, I think I did a poor enough job introducing VisFleet, would you mind explaining a bit more of what you guys do and some of the challenges it presents?
Rasheed It's a pleasure. VisFleet has changed it's direction somewhat, moving from services into product development. As we move into product, we want to be responsive to our customers. Agile development is becoming core to how we operate, and as such, continuous builds and integration became a major factor. We now plan to offer two products for work planning and and vehicle tracking. We want to present these systems with a SaaS model. The world of online, pay as you go software, has a culture of frequent improvements and responsiveness to user feedback. If we want to do well in this space, it's important that we can code, test, release and feed back in tight iterations.

Hudson How long has VisFleet been using Hudson?
Rasheed About 14 months now.

Hudson Did you guys work with continuous integration prior to starting to use Hudson? If so, what system was VisFleet using and what compelled the switch to Hudson?
Rasheed We didn't actually, but certainly everyone I knew who was doing continuous integration recommended Hudson.

Hudson That's good to hear! How lucky you are to know so many smart people :)

What kinds of projects is VisFleet building with Hudson?
Rasheed We build and test Ruby On Rails service layer applications. We also build Flex applications using the Flex SDK for our web-deployed RIA offering. Lastly, we build our iPhone applications using Hudson.

Hudson I'd say building and testing web applications alone with Hudson would be quite notable, but to add Flex and iPhone applications into the mix as well is certainly interesting! Anything specific that's interesting about VisFleet's use of Hudson?
Rasheed It runs multiple agent types, and automates deploys to different cloud infrastructures. At the moment we have 2 Flex build agents running Ubuntu, A Mac Mini building our iPhone app, and several Ubuntu Servers testing our web tier. We currently deploy to Citrix Xen servers, and soon to Rackspace Cloud as well.

In the near future, we will automate integration by first updating an integration system on the cloud, deploying our system and then running our tests. All very quickly.

We have very little metric and reporting output from Hudson, and this is noteworthy in it's absence. It's very important to use to provide clear development metrics and integrate those into our Scrum/Kanban approach. What Hudson has done for us is educate us about the possibilities in visualisation and reporting, and is informing the way we structure our codebase going forward. Soon, we expect to have a premium test driven development environment and workflow.

Hudson We all know Hudson isn't perfect but there's a lot of room for extending it to meet your demands if need be, what additional tools have you written to glue everything together behind the scenes?
Rasheed We are using 'Vlad the Deployer' and in legacy, 'Capistrano' for a lot of our deployment and build tasks. These are merely infrastructure specific scripts to ensure we can bring up live environments in the shortest amount of time possible.

Hudson So it sounds like you guys are all on board with Hudson, on a 1-10 scale, how important would you rate Hudson's importance to VisFleet's workflow?
Rasheed 7, aiming at 10. The missing points are just a matter of time :)


Thanks again to Rasheed for chatting with me about how Hudson helps VisFleet keep cranking on what they do best. If you would like to discuss your company's use of Hudson for Continuous Blog, you can contact me at tyler at linux.com


Editor's Note: Rasheed Abdul-Aziz is a Software Architect at VisFleet Ltd. Rasheed specializes in Flex RIA development, but also loves a good build script and manages Hudson for VisFleet. Find out more about VisFleet and Rasheed on the VisFleet devblog and Rasheed's blog

About the Author
R. Tyler Croy

R. Tyler Croy has been part of the Jenkins project for the past seven years. While avoiding contributing any Java code, Tyler is involved in many of the other aspects of the project which keep it running, such as this website, infrastructure, governance, etc.