The Milyli team has been involved with the Relativity Developer Partner program since its inception, not to mention the work we’ve done both with and at kCura (see: Relativity Bridge, PDB, etc.), so as leaders in Relativity software development, Milyli was excited and honored to attend the Developer Summit at Relativity Fest this year. This year’s Developer Summit was a two-hour panel designed for kCura and Relativity developer partners to discuss the current priorities and overall vision for the Developer Partner program. Platform engineering leaders were available to answer questions about Relativity architecture and technical direction and to receive feedback that will help shape kCura’s interaction with the developer community. Milyli’s Director of Product Development, Tim Randall, and COO/Director of Services, Jedidiah Cassinelli, went to the Developer Summit armed with feedback and ready to gather intel to bring back to our Relativity development team.
Drew Deitch, kCura’s Strategic Partnerships Manager, started the panel by presenting a roadmap to improve the Developer Partner program, which included working on pain points surrounding developer documentation, training, API changes, and the approach kCura uses to engage ISVs and development partners. The most compelling plan involved an alternate path for developers and ISVs to engage kCura, including:
- Deitch working more closely with ISV partners on their pain points, acting as a primary contact to get issues moving
- A new section in the customer portal specifically for engaging ISVs and developers, where developers can open tickets regarding the documentation or API, or collaborate with kCura on different initiatives
This direct line into development-based support, which circumvents the current process, is slated for December 2016. Milyli’s opinion: this is a great first step in their plans!
Upon the completion of announcements and upcoming plans on the roadmap, a panel consisting of kCura’s George Orr (VP of Customer Success and Support), Perry Marchant (Vice President of Engineering), and Justin Smits (Senior Manager in Software Engineering) took questions and feedback from attendees. When that was complete, attendees broke into groups and paired with a kCura employee to discuss the roadmap and individual pain points – and maybe have some drinks while they’re at it (it’s Relativity Fest, after all). The roadmap is driven by the desire to build a strong, feedback-focused developer community, and it includes:
- An overhaul of the kCura documentation process, which should result in better and more robust developer documentation
- Improved release notes for developers
- A Stack Overflow launch that will help developers get answers and best practices faster
- A desire to publish more best practices and examples
- The ability to provide more feedback and give ISVs, developers, and developer partners more opportunities for success
There was excited chatter around the water/beer cooler for these upcoming improvements, especially the more streamlined support process. Some concerns came from the brief answers to questions, amounting to “We want to work on improving that, but don’t have anything specific right now.” Others were looking for better answers to long-standing problems, such as inconsistency with the API, troubles presented with the move away from RSAPI, or the DLL headaches introduced from versions 9.3.3 to 9.4.5.
Milyli pushed for answers surrounding issues with unit testing and build management. kCura shared information about what was being used internally for managing infrastructure, which Milyli’s Tim Randall commented was “a fine first step,” but the sample documentation on unit testing left much to be desired.
A note from Randall for the more development-savvy readers:
“There is definitely an eagerness to move away from God classes, like the RSAPI, and transition toward using REST API/ Kepler. It’s probable we’ll see the deprecation of RSAPI in the next year and, in its place, a push to get more external applications running off of Relativity’s APIs, instead of internal applications that are deployed ADS. It would be interesting to see what kind of things could be done with the new authentication providers allowing for a better or cleaner way of writing applications that integrate with Relativity but are external to Relativity itself. kCura could provide some interesting ways to support this type of workflow.”
The overarching theme of Relativity Fest 2016 was customer satisfaction and improving the customer experience, and at the Developer Summit, Deitch and his team made it clear that theme also applies to developer partners. kCura has big plans to create a welcoming and streamlined space for developer support, as well as listening to what ISVs, developers, and developer partners are saying in order to create the best experience. Relativity’s versatility as a platform is a huge selling point, so listening to developer partners in a forum like this year’s Developer Summit was a smart step in overall platform improvement.
To learn more about how Milyli has used its Relativity expertise to develop apps and custom solutions to help Relativity users get the most out of the platform, check out our Products and Services pages.