Recommend a Great CI/DevOps Presentation: “Continuous Integration at Facebook”

See what a real Continuous Integration is like.

Zhimin Zhan
6 min readFeb 7, 2021

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Image credit: from the slides in the video presentation

I started practising Continuous Integration in late 2005, using CruiseControl (CC in short), the so-called “Grand-daddy” of CI servers. The most challenging part is running automated UI tests; it took me a couple of years to master it.

I had to hack into CruiseControl code (Java) and implemented some features. if you are interested, read ‘My Continuous Testing Journey’.

Since then, I have attended a number of CI presentations at conferences/meetups. Frankly, none was good (Check out CI/CD Clarified for whys). It did not address the real challenges of CI at all, let alone offer practical solutions.

On 20/06/2015, I found an excellent presentation (YouTube) on How Facebook does CI from F8 (Facebook Developer Conference) by Katie Coons, a software engineer at Product Stability (a good division name) at Facebook. It was quite short, only 15 mins, but with a wealth of wisdom. I have watched it many times, and it is still valid. Still, in my opinion, the best presentation on CI/CD and DevOps. I was very surprised by the low number of views and likes on YouTube.

Katie started the presentation with

“№1 goal of CI at Facebook is developer efficiency”

“We want computers waiting on humans.”

Then the three key goals of CI at Facebook:

  • High-Signal

“We don’t want our developers to chase down the failures that are not their fault, that’s waste of developers’ time”

  • Rapid

“The system must provide rapid feedback to developers because our developers wll not wait for it. Moving fast is a really important part of Facebooks’ culture”

  • Frequent

“The system must provide frequent feedback to developers. Because the sooner we let them know about a problem, the easier and faster it is for them to fix it”

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Zhimin Zhan

Test automation & CT coach, author, speaker and award-winning software developer. Help teams succeed with Agile/DevOps by implementing real Continuous Testing.