‘Code, Content and Community’ for Developer Engagement

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Be it a large multinational or a medium level enterprise, the software industry largely depends on disruptive ideas and out of the box code development by individual developers. Therefore, engagement between developers and industry is indispensable. Here’s an excerpt of the interview interaction between Ms. Seema Kumar, Country Leader, IBM India and Nimeesh Kumar of Open Source For You.

What are IBM’s offerings for the developers

From a developer engagement perspective, we have refreshed our approach towards developers. Last year, we had released several open source-based reusable ‘code patterns’ and many ‘How-to’ and ‘Do it yourself’ articles as well to help developers in their day-to-day work. The whole premise of our developer advocacy engagement is based on three aspects – code, content and community. Therefore, for developers, their key differentiator or the way they are successful in their profession is through the code they write. In today’s time, with the advent of open source technology and the availability of cloud platform and tools, they’re not restricted in their choices in the form of programming language, operating system or infrastructure platform for that matter. But what they can really do is to look at common use cases or common patterns.

How these offerings have evolved over the past few years? 

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If you remember, in earlier days, we used object-oriented programming, UML and design patterns to create reusable patterns that helped kickstart a new project. Now with the cloud and cognitive era, it’s time for a new set of patterns to forge its way. These are code patterns built around cloud native and computing, containers, microservices, Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Blockchain. The code patterns by IBM are available for developers as open source code – to extend, replicate and customise for their requirement. They also have a very detailed blueprint of the pattern itself in terms of the core components such as underlying technologies, interaction diagrams and step-by-step instructions on how to build that basic pattern. We have around hundred plus patterns today in our patterns’ catalogue and that number will keep growing across the various areas of technology.

 How is your company working around content and community?

Around content we have largely provided suitable sets of ‘How-to’ tutorials, videos and expert views to extend support and motivate developers for enriched contribution to the coding community.

The third piece is community. Developers are willing to work with like-minded people and they’re engaged in various external and internal communities where there’s a lot of knowledge sharing and idealisation. There’s also a lot of innovation happening around such communities. We are creating such communities that have the right platform where developers can interact and perform better. We have also launched an online community known as an ‘IBM Coder’ community where coders not just participate in discussion forums but also take up a series of challenges. For coders, it is important to continuously update their skills and get recognised and awarded for the same simultaneously. The IBM Coder platform helps them learn as well as test their knowledge and then showcase that on the public platform. They get a certain profile built-up and there are points attached to the profile for the distinction of work as well.

Can you throw some light on offerings of your company in cloud space? 

The Cloud Object Storage’ (COS) solution by us addresses the weaknesses of traditional storage options available today. Our cloud offering has a strong underlying infrastructure-as-a service offering and a strong Cloud Platform.  Bringing together infrastructure and platform services, the IBM Cloud platform offers assortment of infrastructure, cognitive, software and services to accelerate the pace of your applications.

For 2018, our focus will be on IBM Cloud Private (ICP). It was launched last year to enable companies to create on prem cloud capabilities similar to those of public cloud and accelerate app development. ICP delivers a single platform located behind the firewall with which, the developers can now leverage their on-prem software portfolio and easily integrate next-generation data seamlessly and securely. Additionally, with the new Cloud Private for Data, an integrated data science, data engineering and app building platform companies can use event-driven applications capable of analysing the torrents of data from things like Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, online commerce, mobile devices and more. The solution that help enterprises manage data storage requirements while ensuring that productivity and cost considerations are optimally balanced. This give enterprises an option to choose a hybrid cloud model with both on-premise and public cloud.  

Are the open source technologies supported on the IBM platform? 

IBM has a varied portfolio of open technologies such as OpenStack, CloudFoundry, Node.js and OpenWhisk. Today, IBM is also helping to drive an open agenda with the emerging “born on the cloud” container-based, application development ecosystem, with founding positions in the Open Container Initiative (OCI) and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). In the Blockchain space, we worked with the Linux Foundation to help establish Hyperledger. IBM contributed 44,000 lines of code and established the first of the Hyperledger projects – Hyperledger Fabric. 

What about the AI supported services on your platform? 

We have a host of AI services on the IBM Watson platform. This includes APIs for speech-to-text, text-to-speech and visual recognition. So, we have a lot of developers who use that to build things right from chat bots to assistants to virtual agents. The Watson discovery service is used to effectively garner insights across multiple data sets, which is helpful for AI developer to infuse AI into the existing applications. Also, using AI is no more unique nowadays and over 50 per cent of applications will have some basic AI capabilities built in it. Not everybody needs to learn how to develop those complicated algorithms, all you need to know is to use the right AI APIs in your applications.

 What aspects of IoT and Blockchain IBM is looking into?

 IoT space no doubt is growing with each passing day. IBM’s Watson IoT platform is available where multiple devices and sensors are configured and can be used for collective connectivity. We have a very strong set of services on blockchain based on the Hyperledger from the Linux foundation. IBM is one of the primary contributors of code to the Hyperledger project run by the Linux foundation. In this we have the starter pack and the premium pack of Hyperledger where you can build out your chain codes and an end-to-end Blockchain network on the cloud. We recently kickstarted a country-wide Blockchain roadshow and a hackathon in association with NASSCOM where we have several developers participating.

 What about the offerings for the end users of IoT?

We have a partner ecosystem tapping into a collection of innovative start-ups and global brands all working together to solve problems and advance the IoT solutions.

IBM is offering industry-specific applications to help solve specific pain-points and tackle opportunities head-on. Each IBM Watson IoT industry solution including Manufacturing, Automotive, Electronics, Insurance, Retail, Telecommunications and Connected Products, offer industry-specific functionality, packaging and analytics.

What are the new security provisions you are looking into after arrival of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) regulations? 

Security and privacy are paramount in the world of IoT. IBM’s policies, our business model and the IBM Cloud and Watson architecture all ensure that our clients’ data is their data and their insights are their insights. In a survey conducted by IBM, 39 per cent of global respondents saw GDPR as a chance to transform their security, privacy and data management efforts and 20 per cent said it can be a catalyst for new business models. Organisations will use this to improve their security stance in the longer term by enabling a stronger digital strategy and improved efficiency through streamlined data management and increased competitive differentiation. To ensure GDPR readiness, companies will need to embed the processes into their work and make repeatable readiness reviews for every product or service on offer.

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