One of the big problems with deploying applications to the cloud is all the work developers must do to integrate their code project with a service platform, a configuration-management tool, and more. All this manual integration seems to fly in the face of agile development and deployment, according to the CEO of a startup created to deal with this issue.
“Developing and deploying to the cloud sucks,” said Maciej Skierkowski, CEO of Factor.io. And he should know: He spent five and a half years at Microsoft working on the Windows Azure team, then joined the company now known as AppFog as director of products. In those roles, he had a front-row seat to view the problems developers have writing in and to the cloud.
“There are at least 20 services and frameworks development shops are using to create modern Web applications,” said Skierkowski. “The challenge is, they want to become more agile but can’t integrate the tools in a way that represents their processes.”
So Skierkowski formed a company to handle the integrations, freeing up developers to work on business applications. Today, Factor.io launched its platform for continuous code deployment into public beta.
“It seems absurd that so much time was spent on these integrations,” said Skierkowski. “So we created a drag-and-drop UI to create workflows that then fully automate the process of creating these integrations.”
In its announcement of the beta release, the company said, “Factor.io enables developers to automate tedious infrastructure and application-development processes by connecting tools such as GitHub, Heroku, Trello, HipChat, Chef, and the many others already used in their workflow into a simple if-this-then-that interface. As a result, developers are able to build and ship Web applications without the need to manually manage and deploy each tool individually, reduce downtime, and push advanced new features with ease.”
Skierkowski gave an example of a developer who wants to deploy GitHub code to Heroku: “The platform listens for GitHub push events, then Factor.io downloads the code from GitHub and pushes it to Heroku.” Writing this manually, he said, could take weeks.
Further, the platform gives developers the option to run workflows on-premise or in a public cloud, and users can collaborate on workflows and channels by allowing shared permissions across teams and groups.
Factor.io began work on the platform late last year, interviewing companies to find out what their development challenges were, and was incorporated in mid-March of this year, Skierkowski said. The company grew out of the Microsoft Accelerator powered by TechStars in Seattle.