I was pleased at JavaOne 2012 to have an opportunity to converse with JFrog founder Yoav Landman (@yoavlandman). JFrog, in case you're unfamiliar with the company name, is the inventor of Artifactory, the Java repository management solution that won a 2011 Duke's Choice Award. They also regularly produce cool swag tshirts (see below).
Yoav was very busy at JavaOne 2012, but with advance notice he was able to schedule some moments to meet with me and Java.net home page manager Dale Farnham (@DaleFarnham). Our first question was: what impact did winning the Duke's Choice award in 2011 have on JFrog in the subsequent year? Yoav said that winning the Duke gave JFrog and Artifactory lots of exposure. We, of course, covered the news on Java.net, and Java Spotlight Podcast 95 featured an interview with JFrog's Baruch Sadogursky. As a result of the Duke, the JFrog web site received much more traffic, Artifactory received substantially increased recognition, and JFrog's already sizable community grew--then grew more!
One thing that has surprised Yoav is the adoption of Artifactory by enterprise companies. In his original concept, Yoav thought Artifactory would be attractive primarily to start-ups. That's certainly happened, but much larger, established companies have been investigating Artifactory's capabilities, and deciding it's the right match for their needs.
Now, when you have a business plan, and it succeeds, then a customer base you weren't even really thinking about starts putting your product to work -- that's a threshold any start-up would be thrilled to cross! It's happening for JFrog and Artifactory as we speak.
Yoav thinks that what happens, in larger companies, is that developers start using Artifactory, and they effectively argue for its formal adoption by their department; ultimately, more development teams within the company adopt it, which eventually leads to a broader decision higher up in the corporation. So, it's really bottom-up adoption within these companies, led by the developers. Of course, bottom-up adoption by one company can ultimately lead to top-down adoption in other companies, as CTOs and VPs of Software Development engage in work-related chat...
Yoav told us that the list of use cases for Artifactory is increasing. For example, some larger international companies utilize Artifactory's replication features to facilitate coordinated software development by teams located in different countries. Teams in India and the U.S. can work on the same project, with the developers in each location being able to pick up each morning on where the other team left off when their work day ended. Another new use case (perhaps also unanticipated by Yoav) is the situation where companies that develop non-Java software employ Artifactory for distributing software binaries. They appreciate Artifactory's capability for coherently pushing and replacing software, including scheduled updates.
Getting back to start-ups: they're discovering that Artifactory facilitates the possibility of 24-hour non-stop development. Consider a "virtual" start-up consisting of individual developers scattered around the world, across many different time zones: they can all make progress on a single code base with Artifactory. This is, indeed, a new world!
To keep up with all of this, JFrog itself is growing rapidly in terms of employees. Artifactory Cloud is a new product that really fits in with this new possibility of start-ups with global development teams. And the ideas in Yoav's head keep flowing -- but he asked us not to talk about certain things until they're announced. Given that we may have been speaking with the Frogfather himself, I think I'll honor that request!
Our conversation with Yoav didn't touch upon any potential involvement by him in creating the famous JFrog tshirts -- maybe we'll cover that in a future interview!