Sony’s latest venture helps developers actually focus on software development
Software & Web Development

Sony’s latest venture helps developers actually focus on software development

We’re frequently told that ‘software is eating the world’ and that Digital Transformation is turning even the biggest and oldest corporations into technology companies.

But at times it can feel like this promise is always just out of reach. The day-to-day tasks of running IT departments bogs down innovation, and promises of moving away from Waterfall to Agile methodologies never quite appear.

“Software development cycles are becoming larger in scope and complexity, and developers need to do lots of things other than development, such as setting-up development environments, managing users, and keeping systems up-to-date,” says Rocro CEO Tomoaki Kobayakawa. “This non-development work is important but takes up considerable time of the developer.”

Making software development as easy as using a pottery wheel

Founded in September 2017, and based in Tokyo, Rocro is a wholly-own subsidiary of Sony Network Communications (the part of Sony which generally focuses around internet service such as So-Net).

“Rocro’s purpose is to help software developers to focus on development itself. We provide automated code review & correction, continuous documentation, and load testing through our SaaS application, and help you develop quality software with minimal effort. “

The company’s title comes from the Japanese word for pottery wheel; ‘Rokuro’.

“A Rokuro is a professional tool to create something gradually and circularly; it is similar to the iterative software development process.”

According to the profile on Google’s blog, the project that became Rocro started in 2015 with the chief objective of creating robust tools for Sony internal developers to help those working in large-scale software developments. Today the company provides a series of SaaS-based tools for developers who work with and repositories:

Inspecode provides automatic code review and correction on every git-push

“Inspecode runs popular analysis tools such as Checkstyle, golint, Pyflakes automatically on every git-push. We support most popular tools on many languages; the number of tools we support is almost 70, a largest number against competitors such as Codacy or Code Climate.

Auto-fix corrects issues identified by Inspecode, makes a branch and push auto-fixed code to it, you can check auto-fixed code, change further if you need, and merge auto-fixed code to your main branch.”


Docstand continuously creates and hosts API documentation on every git-push

“Docstand is a simple platform to run API documentation tool and host the documents.”


Loadroid automatically executes load tests by simply writing test scenarios in YAML+JavaScript

“There are lots of load test solutions already, but Loadroid is the most developer friendly. Our closed beta users really love this YAML notation.”

Kobayakawa says there are more developer tools in the pipeline, although he was unable to share any details.

Aside from Sony itself, Rocro’s customers include Toyota’s InfoTechnology R&D unit, India's largest logistics provider Shadowfax, Japanese IT security and broadcast company Soliton Systems, and others.


Sony embraces software development beyond its own ecosystem

Sony has some developer tools for Android applications available as part of its mobile unit, and there’s a separate unit for developing on the PlayStation. But as far as Kobayakawa knows, Rocro is Sony’s first attempt at a standalone company offering Cloud-based tools targeting general developers beyond the Sony ecosystem.

It’s because of this specific targeting of software developers – a different audience form the usual Sony customer base – that the decision was made to spin Rocro into a separate company.

“If we use the Sony brand, our marketing activities would need to align to Sony’s to some extent, and it could limit Rocro’s activities.”

Rocro, however, sees Sony going a new path to support DevOps endeavours; something Kobayakawa thinks many companies are still getting to grips with.

“The difficulty to start [employing] DevOps for a company is all about throwing away past unautomated ways and culture of development and operation. A company needs to replace many of its past developers and operators in transition, and that is a major hurdle in many cases, I think.”

Despite the fact many organizations still struggle with ‘basic’ DevOps, an increasing number of companies are starting to talk about extensions of the concept; for example DevSecOps and NoOps. But do these terms mean anything, and what do they mean for developers?

“This is just my personal opinion, but those words are different expressions for the same idea just to emphasize the fact that DevOps requires developers to ensure security, and automated operation means there cannot be pure operators as long as you use IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS.”


Also read:
GitHub CEO: “The future of coding is no coding at all”
Where next for GitHub?
CA execs on Low code & automating software development
Three ways to guarantee success at DevOps
DevOps: Where’s all the security talent?
The marriage between DevOps & SecOps
The biggest problem in DevOps isn’t what you expect


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect. Writes about all manner of tech from driverless cars, AI, and Green IT to Cloudy stuff, security, and IoT. Dislikes autoplay ads/videos and garbage written about 'milliennials'.  

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