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VMblog Expert Interview: Richard North Talks AtomicJar, $4 Million Seed Round, and Integration Testing


Testcontainers has been a popular open source project for developers working on integration testing projects and has become the most popular Docker-based integration testing library.  The projects creator, Richard North, has now partnered with Sergei Egorov, Testcontainers lead maintainer, to create AtomicJar

VMblog caught up with Richard to hear about AtomicJar, its new $4 million seed funding, and get a better understanding of the how and whys of integration testing.  

VMblog:  What is AtomicJar's mission?

Richard North:  AtomicJar is focused on making integration testing easier for developers across the software development lifecycle. We want it to be so ergonomic to the development pipeline that it becomes part of every software release.

VMblog:  How did you come up with the idea, and how will seed funding help?

North:  I created Testcontainers in 2015 while working as a chief engineer at Deloitte Digital. At that time, integration testing was a complicated to set-up - everything from creating consistent local setups, to configuring databases, and countless other issues - was a constant source of thrashing for our developer teams, and it was obvious we (and I assumed others) needed a reliable way to test code against real production-like dependencies. I built Testcontainers as an open source library that lets developers "test with containers", directly from their test code, against everything from data stores and databases (e.g. Redis, PostgreSQL), to anything else that can run in a Docker container (Kafka, RabbitMQ, Selenium, etc.).

We founded AtomicJar in March 2021 because we've been working on Testcontainers for five years, but see additional needs in the community. The seed funding is giving us the opportunity to be exclusively focused on Testcontainers, and to hire the engineering resources to be able to address a massive backlog of features requests and things like common integrations users ask for. Testcontainers is very popular with Java frameworks, messaging queues and data stores, and the more we extend Testcontainers' support of this ecosystem of technologies that our users want to test against, the more powerful and ubiquitous the platform becomes in its ability to support generic use cases in integration testing.

With AtomicJar, we are keeping the same license. We are not creating a different enterprise version or otherwise choking the open source code in any way.

VMblog:  If you could, explain a bit more about what Integration Testing is all about.

North:  When applications integrate with external resources like databases and other services, developers need to know how the application will behave once it has been deployed to the real environment. Integration testing allows developers to test their code against production-like replicas of each of these external resources, before deployment. Integration testing reveals problems that are otherwise very difficult to pinpoint -- everything from incorrectly written database queries, to incompatibilities between software versions in production, to any unforeseen dependency issues. Test teams build Integration Tests so they can deploy to production with confidence that systems will perform as expected, and so that they can find and fix issues earlier (shift-left) in the software development lifecycle.

VMblog:  And who benefits from integration testing?

North:  Any developer working with microservices and distributed frameworks in cloud-native. Testcontainers supports the ecosystem of framework providers (VMware, Red Hat, Oracle, Microsoft, Lightbend) and database providers (Elastic, Couchbase, Confluent, StreamNative, Datastax, Splunk, Trino, Oracle Database, IBM DB2, Neo4J, Exasol, HiveMQ) as a staple for testing highly distributed services against complicated production dependencies.

VMblog:  What should our readers expect to see from AtomicJar moving forward?

North:  For now, we will use the seed funding to grow the core developer team serving the Testcontainers community, build new enterprise features and functionality, and continue to extend the ecosystem of frameworks in and beyond the Java ecosystem that provide native integration testing with Testcontainers.


Published Friday, June 25, 2021 10:00 AM by David Marshall
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