Interview with Hadi Hariri, VP of Developer Advocacy at JetBrains

Josiah Motley · January 2, 2020 · Short URL:

A look into developer and team tools, the history behind the service, and tips for developers

It's safe to say that we all realize that technology and the internet continue to change how we work and it doesn't look like that will be slowing down any time soon.

With these advancements come new tools that companies use to streamline workflow and bolster security. Behind every good system and security feature are competent developers and managers making sure everything is working appropriately.

Those people can't do it all on their own, however, and need tools that can help make coding easier, streamline certain operations, and additional tools that help teams manage programming tasks.

JetBrains is one such company. Their suite of tools helps developers and managers work more efficiently across various coding environments like Java, PHP, and more. 

I had the chance to speak with Hadi Hariri of JetBrains. Author of various publications and courses, Hadi has been speaking at industry events for nearly two decades. Host to Talking Kotlin, he works at JetBrains leading the Developer Advocacy team. 

In a nutshell, what does JetBrains do?

At JetBrains, we create tools, mainly for developers. These include Integrated Development Environments, or IDEs, for a wide variety of programming languages such as Java, C#, PHP, JavaScript, and more.

We also created our own language called Kotlin, which is now the preferred and default language for Google’s Android development. And we have a series of team tools called JetBrains Space, our latest project, that is meant for more than just developers.

Why was JetBrains created?

JetBrains was created, quite simply, because we needed to solve a problem. Our three founders created their first tool to address an issue that arose while developing software themselves. More specifically, they were trying to reduce the cost and time it took to change code.

We continued to improve that tool, then created other ones for all types of software developers. Over the years, this has been a constant at JetBrains and is perhaps the core of the company: the tools we create tend to be born of our own need, Kotlin included.

Are JetBrains' tools meant for smaller teams or only enterprises?

Our tools are for small and large teams alike. In fact, they are used all over the world, including at big-name companies like Google, Samsung, P&G, and others. 

What are the most important steps when starting a new business or moving forward with an idea?

To work on your idea and release it as soon as possible, and then build on it from there.

Can you tell us more about the new product you mentioned, JetBrains Space?

JetBrains Space is an all-in-one collaboration suite for creative teams of any size. It’s for both technical and non-technical teams and puts all collaboration and software development processes within an easy turn-key environment of integrated tools.

Space helps developers work faster by automating common, repetitive tasks, which also lets them stay focused on code design and the big picture. You can set up a team, create a chat and code repository for it, perform a code review, then push the final build—all from one place.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming coders? What will be the next big thing?

It’s crucial to realize that technologies come and go. While it’s important to keep up with whatever’s hot or cutting edge, it’s even more important to understand the fundamentals of software engineering.

These fundamentals are one of the most powerful tools anyone can have in their toolbox. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my years involved in software development, it’s that we go through cycles. What was old becomes new again. Things we did in the past are now being presented as innovative. But the fundamentals haven’t changed.

What’s next for JetBrains?

We have a lot of plans and features in the pipeline for JetBrains Space. Since its release, the reception has been overwhelming, which further encourages us to deliver a great product. It really sets the foundation—a platform on which we can enable a lot of functionality across our products, ultimately leading to better collaboration and communication across teams. 

We are also working on new features for some of our existing products, including our IDEs, and we recently announced some of the work we’re doing for Kotlin 1.4, which is coming in 2020. We have a lot in store, so stay tuned! 

I'd like to thank Hadi for taking the time to answer some of my questions.

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Josiah Motley

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

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