Interview with Vishal Rai, founder and CEO of software company Acellere

Josiah Motley · February 20, 2019 · Short URL:

A look into the company's Gamma software which helps developers and managers keep code under control

Developing software is not a one-and-done thing. Code has to be tweaked, changed, and evolved to make it work for the people using it. As countless memes have shown, however, it's never as easy as "just changing it." 

There is a process to making changes and one that can take huge amounts of time to accomplish, especially when you have multiple people working on various aspects of the code. Each change can affect something in unexpected ways, further compounding the issues. It's a lot to analyze and delays can be costly expenses. 

Then, to add to the stress of updating code, many teams have managers that help coordinate efforts with developers to address issues, figure out pressure points, and prioritize code issues but the entire experience can feel disjointed. It's not that the managers are necessarily bad or don't understand, but often it's not as straightforward as adding a new item in your To-Do list on Slack.

I had the chance to speak with Vishal Rai, founder of the software company Acellere. One of their products, Gamma, looks to address many of the issues mentioned above. Gamma integrates with many development tools (Github, JUnit, Bitbucket, and more) to streamline the process of building code, prioritizing issues, and offering tools to help managers and developers stay on the same page.

Check out the full interview below.

Care to introduce yourself and your role with Gamma?
Sure! My name is Vishal Rai, and I am the founder and CEO of Acellere. I started the company with my co-founder Sudarshan Bhide in 2009.
We came up with our product through a combination of extensive research, our personal software experience, and helping some of the largest companies in the world on some of their most complex software challenges.
We spent seven years in researching and developing our technology along the way and are now offering it in the market as Gamma. Our mission is to improve code quality through bug and design fixes all over the world.
What inspired the creation of Gamma?
As Marc Andreessen once famously said, “Software is eating the world." Well, we are far beyond this point. Today, bugs are eating software, and this is going to get worse unless better tools and technologies are brought to the market quickly to stem the crises that we are heading into.
Given the fact that software will be driving our lives – from autonomous cars to the software in our bodies – we wanted to offer a solution to help reduce the likelihood of software systems failing due to poor quality. The last thing someone wants is a pacemaker crashing as much as your phone does.
When we looked at the existing software tools on the market, we saw that most of them only show a part of the issues within the code, which may not be enough to solve an issue. With Gamma, we offer a larger overview of issues and also guide our users to where they need to focus on in terms of improvement. Now with the underlying neural network, we also provide recommendations to the hotspots we identify. Therefore, Gamma incorporates all the features we felt necessary to make static software analysis efficient and easy-to-use for everyone.
In just a few sentences, what does your platform do?
Gamma, in broad terms, analyzes your source code – finds design issues, bugs and other anomalies that will eventually lead to malfunctions. Gamma prioritizes them for you so that one can dive straight into the remedial measures instead of wasting time in finding the biggest issues, and it helps you to improve code quality.
Our platform not only helps in identifying and prioritizing hotspots in quality, as mentioned earlier, it also uses an inbuilt neural network to provide recommendations to fixing the hotspots it identifies. It fits in seamlessly in modern software development process software and scales infinitely within teams and organizations.
Who is Gamma for? Small teams and startups or more enterprise type companies?
Gamma is for anyone who is developing and maintaining software. It can be used free of charge for open source projects, by small development teams, and can scale up to large enterprises with thousands of developers. It is offered on the cloud, but also as a complete on-premise solution for those customers who would rather not have their software on the cloud.
So, the platform has versions for both developers and managers, right? How are these different from one another?
The developer version helps developers find issues in their code as they develop software – in real time. This helps them in tackling issues early in the software development process, which helps them develop high-quality code, faster.
For managers, Gamma has an array of reports and dashboards giving them full insight into their software development team’s performance on code quality with several governance features without getting too technical.
How does the "Intelligent Analyzer" work for developers and how does it save them time?
Essentially, the Intelligent Analyzer uses several mathematical and engineering algorithms with an underlying neural network to learn from the history of a software repository. It uses other associated data sources, such as Atlassian Jira, to prevent issues that were created and solved in the past from happening again. Developers can use this data to write higher-quality code faster.
While working with previous clients, we found that oftentimes, up to 40% of issues found in software projects were issues that have been previously reported. This is where the Intelligent Analyzer can help developers with preventing issues from being created again. The more data the Intelligent Analyzer learns from, the smarter it becomes over time.
Does Gamma integrate with any other programs that teams may already be using?
Yes, Gamma integrates seamlessly with most of the popular DevOp tools in the market. For example, Gamma has plugins for over 20 tools in the market and growing. If we don’t have support for a tool, we are able to create an adaptor for it, under normal circumstances, in four weeks flat.
Anything new/exciting coming in 2019?
This year, we will be rolling out new and exciting innovations across our platform. The new developments will focus on the neural network and integrated AI. Anyone can stay up to date on new feature rollouts on our AI for Gamma page.
Anything you'd like to add before closing?
I invite all programmers to have a shot at Gamma and let them see for themselves how they can benefit from our platform – check out the free open source plan.
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Josiah Motley

Contributor at various blogs, with a focus on tech, apps, gadgets, and gaming.

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