Yves Junqueira is the CEO of YourBase, a software testing accelerator for large codebases. He talks with Alan Shimel about the company, accelerating software testing and the impact on developer productivity. The video is below, followed by a transcript of the conversation.
Alan Shimel: Hey, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on another segment for our TechStrong TV. My guest this segment is a new company, first-time guest on our TechStrong TV, Yves – and I’m gonna really mispronounce his last name, Junqueira. I’m supposed to have that rolling R, and I just don’t do rolling R’s. Yves, I’m sorry, man. Welcome to TechStrong TV.
Yves Junqueira: Thank you, Alan. It’s great to be here. You did it good.
Shimel: Not so good. You know what? In case your mom or your family’s watching, say your name correctly for ’em.
Junqueira: Yves Junqueira.
Shimel: Junqueira. Okay. We’re gonna call you Yves, and we go from there.
Junqueira: Sounds perfect.
Shimel: So, looking from your background, are you up in Seattle, Toronto? Toronto?
Junqueira: That’s Seattle.
Shimel: Seattle. Yes, the mountains. And you know what? Welcome. I’m gonna let you give a little introduction to your company, and you’re a cofounder of it, but go ahead.
Junqueira: Gladly, yeah. Our company’s called YourBase. We build developer tools for very large code bases. Specifically, we are a software-testing accelerator for large code bases. I used to work at Google for almost ten years, and my cofounder, John, was a principal engineer at Amazon, at AWS. And, yeah, we’re excited to – I’m very excited to be here, Alan.
Shimel: Absolutely. Well, I’m excited to hear about what you’re doing. So you’re a code accelerator?
Junqueira: We are a software-test accelerator, yeah.
Shimel: Software-testing accelerator, excuse me. What exactly is that?
Junqueira: Yeah, so it’s very important when you’re building software that you actually know that the software is working. You usually have very large teams that’re creating code, and you don’t want one developer to be stepping on each other – on the other’s toes. And so you need a lot of testing to make sure that when you make changes to the software, it’s still working. But as you’re adding new features, you’re adding new tests, and you add new features, and you add new tests, and over time the number of tests in your code base can grow very, very quickly, and it can become a very big problem for developer productivity and developer happiness, because it can take a very long time to actually test code. If you’re making even a small change sometimes in a large code base, it can take hours to ensure that that change works, to run all the tests. So that’s what we help with.
Shimel: So you’re automating testing. Is that fair?
Junqueira: We automate the test selection of testing. So, yeah, we help run the tests, but most importantly we help select what are the right tests that are safe but that have to be run for each change. Without having to test the entire world, we use a process called – we use tracing of code to build a dependency graph to then select the right test to run and then just make things more productive for developers.
Shimel: Sure. Of course, our audience is a very technical audience, familiar with QA and testing and developing. So you’re running a trace route on the code as it’s entered into Git or – because it’s pre-deployment code, right?
Junqueira: That’s right. It’s pre-deployment code, yeah.
Shimel: So as the code is put into Git or some other sorta repository, you select what’re the right tests to run and run it on the code. So this all takes place within the repository like a Git-ops kind of thing?
Junqueira: Yeah. It can take place in the repository connected with a CI, with a continuous-integration tool, or it can also happen during local development. You can have multiple developers working at the same time on the same code base but perhaps making slight – different code changes. And with your base, they are testing their code but also using their colleagues’ testing to – so that they don’t have to repeat the test that their colleagues already ran for the same code base. So they only have to test exact the small changes that they made on their code.
Shimel: I love it. Sounds great. And then I don’t wanna use the buzzwords, but is it some sort of AI/ML that is picking what’s the right code – what’s the right test to run for this particular code for these particular changes?
Junqueira: That’s an important question. It’s not AI. We use just simple data structure and algorithms that we collect when doing tracing. And this is actually important, because if we were using just AI or any sort of statistical approach, we would only get a limited confidence that we are testing the right things. So imagine that you’re a financial institution, right, or a hedge fund, where tests are very important. If you don’t catch certain bug, it can cause millions of dollars in losses, right, in lost revenue, for example. So it’s very important that you actually detect the correct regressions in your code, and if we were using just a simple AI approach, we would only, let’s say, have 90 percent confidence that we were running the right tests in your code. That is not enough. So our customers need assurance. They need full confidence, so we use an approach that is a little bit more intrusive, let’s say, because it’s detecting every single function called that is happening during the tests. So it has a little bit of a performance impact during the initial test. But on the other hand, it just provides full confidence rather than being 90 percent confidence that an AI approach would have.
Shimel: Got it. I mean, big companies using this, small companies, anyone? Who’s the target user here?
Junqueira:Fortunately, we can scale from small to very large code bases. So we have customers that are very small, just small startups that are getting started but that really want to have the fastest possible development process. But we also have very large code bases of very large companies, public companies, Fortune 500s, that want to keep moving fast. It’s difficult. Imagine if you have a software product that really needs to evolve quickly. Customers these days demand that software developers – that software companies evolve their products quickly. The customer needs are changing fast, and so they need to be able to make software changes very quickly and do it at – have high velocity with the most productivity possible. So what we allow those companies to have is even though they have a very large code base, the larger companies, they can be almost as productive or as productive as if they had a small code base, and this is really magical. This is something that we’re very proud of providing to these companies.
Shimel: Absolutely. You know what? People always wanna know this, and I realize it might be coming outta left field. Interesting. You worked at Google ten years. Your cofounder’s an AWS guy. How did that come together?
Junqueira: Yeah. It’s actually a funny story. We met at a random coffee shop. After I had left Google, I was working at random coffee shops here in the outskirts of Seattle, and I had my laptop with me with a bunch of developer stickers there like Linux and Python and GOAL like developers often have. And John had the same, and so we just looked at each other’s laptop. We were at this coffee shop here, and we – okay, we should chat, ’cause we us a lot of the same technologies. So we started talking, and over time I invited John to come to my weekly table games at my house. I host a game night every week, and John started coming, and I started talking about my project, and he was fascinated by it, and he said that software testing and developer productivity are a huge thing for him. And over time, he decided to join. I’m very lucky that he joined me at YourBase.
Shimel: Love it. And then talk a little bit here about going to market. How’s it been so far?
Junqueira: Yeah. We spent a long time perfecting the technology. This is a very tricky software. If you get things wrong, you may end up – your customers may end up shipping bugs. My customer’s gonna end up shipping bugs that should have been caught by the tests. But if I don’t decide to run a test or if I don’t give them right insights, they might actually introduce bugs and be less reliable than they were before. But we started just last month. We launched our first public beta now, and we’re very happy about that. So we have a number of design partners that are working with us on this initial release, and people – customers are very happy. The feedback has been fantastic. So last month we launched it to the outside world, and we made a public beta. Now people can just download it from just going to the website, yourbase.io. Anyone can download and test it. We currently support Python as – for code bases. Our technology has to be implemented on a language-by-language basis. So for now we support Python, but we’re going to support Ruby sometime soon. And we’re very excited. The reception from people has been amazing. It’s really fun to be at this stage of the company, where we actually are ready to talk about it to the outside world.
Shimel: Excellent, man. It is. Having founded more than one company, more than four companies, five companies, it is an exciting time, and I wish you nothing but great luck and success with this. I want to get into the kinds of testing you’re doing, functional testing, unit testing. Is it selenium kinda stuff? What are the kinds of tests you’re doing there?
Junqueira: That’s a great question. We are very good at tests that don’t cross process boundaries for now. This can be sometimes unit tests and functional tests. We don’t currently support UI tests yet, in part because there are good companies out there that’re already serving this market, and there was just nobody that was focused on the backend and in unit testing and functional testing. But this is a big space, and we’re just getting started. We have feedback from folks that we – they want support for more things, so that’s something that we’re excited to work on.
Shimel: Excellent, man. Yves, I wanna thank you for coming on and telling folks about YourBase here on TechStrong TV. Come back. Keep us posted on your progress, and best of luck.
Junqueira: Thank you so much, Alan. It was great to be here, and, yes, absolutely, I would love to come back.
Shimel: My pleasure. Say your name for us one more time so I don’t – just after I mangle it, at least they got it right.
Junqueira: Yves Junqueira.
Shimel: Junqueira. Yves, thank you, man.
Junqueira: Thank you, Alan.
Shimel: Oh, the website, yourbase.com?
Shimel: IO, yourbase.io, Y-O-U-R-B-A-S-E-dot-I-O. This is Alan. We’re gonna take a break. We’ll be right back with our next guest.[End of Audio]