Clockwise launched its calendar and time-management solution in 2019 to help busy people gain extra time in a crowded workday. The company’s engineering team has a similar goal: to whittle minutes from testing and build processes so that developers can apply their saved time to making Clockwise even more effective. But saving time can’t come at the expense of delivering the best possible product.
“We want to optimize and reduce the time it takes to run our builds and tests,” explains Mike Liu, Infrastructure Engineer at Clockwise. “When we can outsource technical challenges like scaling up and creating platforms for testing, we do that as much as possible.”
When Liu and his colleague, Automation Engineer Nick Westrum, arrived at Clockwise in 2021, they were pleased to see that CircleCI was already deployed at the company – especially since they were driving efforts to build a task automation framework, as well as rebuilding and separating production and non-production environments.
Offloading infrastructure management
For their projects, Liu and Westrum looked for the roadblocks that were adding time to testing and getting in the way of developer velocity. “My initial project was to build up a task automation framework that can insert into our CI/CD pipeline process, which is within CircleCI,” Westrum explains.
“CircleCI takes care of infrastructure and resources in the background, and that frees up a lot of my time. I’m not going to block anyone else if something goes wrong on my side – and no one else is going to slow me down or clog up my tests.”
Automation Engineer at Clockwise
He was testing Clockwise’s web extension, which runs on several browsers, and needs tests to run while the extension is built. Using CircleCI’s self-hosted runners, Westrum is able to run tests on the Safari browser, a must for this application.
Liu is using CircleCI for his infrastructure projects, running all Terraform changes, as well as application deployments on Kubernetes and Helm, through CircleCI. “It allows us to automate infrastructure changes,” Liu says.
CircleCI orbs for Slack, AWS, and Ruby help Clockwise avoid time-consuming integration hassles. “I remember that with Jenkins, it was always a pain to try to get everything working,” Westrum says. “With the Slack orb, you don’t have to worry about all that configuration. You just tell it what you want to send and it all gets done, instead of needing to repeat the steps.”
Higher quality and more time for feature development
CircleCI has helped Westrum and Liu accelerate development and testing, without cutting corners on quality. “CircleCI takes care of infrastructure and resources in the background, and that frees up a lot of my time,” Westrum says. “I’m not going to block anyone else if something goes wrong on my side – and no one else is going to slow me down or clog up my tests. And with our CI/CD pipeline optimized, we’ll be able to deploy new features and changes much quicker. That’s a huge edge for us.”
For Liu, CircleCI has become a hub for decision-making. “When we’re deploying our applications or infrastructure changes, CircleCI actually reaches out to us,” Liu says. “It can reach out to other third-party services to get a test running. That’s why it’s great to use CircleCI because we can leverage the infrastructure they’ve built – and spend our time focused on our own products.”