Sunday, November 25, 2007

Impala being used on a "real" project

I'm pleased to say that I am now using Impala for what looks like may and should become a core and major development at the company where I am working. The results have been great. Progress has been more rapid than I have expected, and a lot of this is down to the capabilities provided by Impala.

I haven't run into any major obstacles that couldn't be overcome with relatively little effort. Dynamic reloading is working well. Test execution speed - a bugbear of the previous version - is quick. There are now around 200 tests, of which around 30 or so are integration tests which load up various bits of the application. The application currently consists of 21 Hibernate entities. Total execution time of all the tests - integration included- is about six to eight seconds for initial startup, plus the same again to run the tests.

It's a major moment for any open source project is when it gets its first real commercial user. In this case, the actual user is still primarily myself. That's a good thing - it means that on a day-by-day basis I am getting to validate the features and functionality, discover bugs when the appear, and get ideas for improvements and new features.

Successful open source projects are often extractions from existing successful commercial projects. Others are developed from a vision of the technology the developer would like to work with on his or her next project. Impala started off this way. The danger for the latter kind of projects is that the opportunities to use the technology in anger on real commercial projects may not present themselves that readily, with the danger that you don't get the chance to "eat your own dog food". At the moment, I am eating my own dog food by the spadeful, and it tastes good!

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