Patrick Debois Bringing DevOps to Mobile Delivery

by Manuel Pais on Feb 29, 2016 |

Patrick Debois, founder of DevOps Days conferences, together with AWS's Trent Peterson and Etsy's Nassim Kammah, are organizing Mobile Delivery Days, a new conference for discussing the entire mobile delivery tool chain, from building and testing to publishing automation, production support (logging, instrumentation, monitoring) and (A/B) testing.

InfoQ asked Debois why they felt the need for a new conference on this topic:

Mobile conferences are usually very developer centric: they focus on the specific programming languages. The operational conferences tend to focus on the “web” side of things and leave out specific native apps.

According to Debois's message on the devops-toolchain mailing list, current challenges to a continuous delivery approach for mobile include nearly disjoint sets of tools for web and mobile delivery, unclear APIs making it hard to automate the build and publishing stages, slow test execution and a divide between developers and operations in the mobile space, with a lack of concern for app operability after app store approval.

In a recent talk Debois explained his DevOps mental model and how selecting a toolchain for mobile could help promote the different areas of collaboration between Dev and Ops, from extending delivery to production via continuous delivery, to increasing awareness of operational concerns in Dev as well as awareness of business concerns in Ops. In the same message he mentioned part of the approach on his last project:

We went on integrating logging and metrics in the mobile app, having it correlate with our backend logs. While doing this we tried to close the feedback gap between dev & ops by making logs, metric & settings available. Then we added feature flags to enable/disable features at runtime but also remotely increasing debug levels and memory errors.

Mobile Delivery Days follows the mixed talks and open space model popularized in the last years by DevOps Days conferences. Debois highlighted the conversational nature of the conference in a message to the citcon mailing list: "In true openspace style, you don't have to have all the answers. Let's just try to share & learn".

Debois further told InfoQ what his experience with DevOps Days brings to Mobile Delivery Days:

From the devopsdays events we know that there is a lot of value in talking amongst peers. The principle of the openspaces don’t require you to be the expert. [We wish to replicate] the non-commercial aspect and an atmosphere where everyone comes equal to the table, no matter what your company is.

The conference will take place in San Francisco on March 21st and 22nd. Debois expects an ecletic audience:

We try to focus on engineers passionate around the subject. We see that many have QA/testing background or an operational background. Some people from the business side are attending too to find ways to deliver apps faster.

When asked if there are plans to follow the DevOps Days model of distributed, locally organized conferences, Debois replied:

We’ll tackle that when we get there. But we do expect to have an EU version if this one is successful.

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