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A new startup is setting out to commercialize a popular open source integration testing framework used at major companies including Google, Oracle, and Uber.
Founded in March, AtomicJar is inviting a “limited number of enterprises” as part of a private beta phase to help trial various enhancements and extensions that it’s adding to Testcontainers, an open source Java library for integration testing. To help fund its mission, AtomicJar announced it has raised $4 million in a seed round of funding from a slew of VC firms and angels, including Boldstart Ventures, Tribe Capital, Chalfen Ventures, and Snyk cofounders Peter McKay and Guy Podjarny.
While unit testing is the process of testing individual software components — such as a database or framework — in isolation, integration testing is all about checking that these components operate as they should when connected together as part of an application. Individual modules may work just fine on their own, but generate all kinds of issues when tethered to other components. Integration testing surfaces software version incompatibilities, badly written database queries, and more, so they can be addressed earlier in the development process. It’s an integral part of the modern microservices boom, which has seen software transition from a tightly woven monolithic architecture into applications built from task-specific components (microservices).
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Building consistent integration tests, however, is fraught with challenges including complicated and inconsistent local setups and configuring databases. That is why AtomicJar CTO Richard North created Testcontainers in 2015 while he was chief engineer at Deloitte Digital. Testcontainers enables developers to leverage the power of Docker containers to test against databases (e.g., PostgreSQL and Redis), data stores, and more, directly from their test code.
Alongside North, Testcontainers’ core maintainers include AtomicJar CEO Sergei Egorov and Kevin Wittek, who will join AtomicJar next month.
In terms of what kind of enterprise features we can expect from AtomicJar, the company is keeping its cards fairly close to its chest. In the first instance, the seed funding will be used to focus on the core Testcontainers projects, including hiring dedicated engineers to address a “massive backlog of features requests,” the company said.
“We operated Testcontainers as an open source project in our spare time for years,” North told VentureBeat. “It’s a common phenomena for open source project creators to find themselves in this spot where the project becomes popular to the point where they no longer have the bandwidth to keep up with the features and fixes that the community of users are asking for.”
Moving forward, though, AtomicJar is committed to keeping the same open source license for AtomicJar and “not choking the open source code in any way.” But to make Testcontainers easier and more appealing for more companies, it’s clear that some sort of “as-a-service (SaaS)” element will be needed here.
“If you look at other tooling in the microservices testing space, there is a fairly common pattern — first tackle the essentials with standalone products, then start to bring more advanced capabilities via SaaS products that can take advantage of having more control and reach,” Egorov added. “Testcontainers is a great tool that’s already helping thousands of developers, but has limits due to the fact that it’s a library that only runs while tests are running. Other aspects of integration testing that Testcontainers has no control over still place a burden on developers.”
In other words, AtomicJar will introduce a managed service at some point in the future, though we’re not sure when.
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