Developer Productivity Engineering Blog

Triplequote Founder Reflects on Gradle Acquisition

I’m excited to share the news that today Gradle Inc. announced that it has acquired Triplequote and that both I and my fellow co-founder Mirco Dotta have joined the new Scala team at Gradle! If you are not familiar with Triplequote, our technology speeds up builds for Scala developers with the world’s only parallel compiler for the Scala language, called Hydra. 

We will continue to improve and expand acceleration technologies for Scala teams in our new home. Hydra will be part of the story, but the vision is much larger. We are joining forces with Gradle to address the whole development lifecycle. This includes employing a variety of technologies (such as build caching and predictive test selection) to further speed up build and test times, and making Scala and sbt first-class citizens within the Gradle Enterprise solution suite. Martin Odersky, creator of the Scala language and Triplequote advisor, will join Gradle in a technical advisory role.

Our journey so far

We started Triplequote late in 2016 with a mission to speed up Scala compilation times by tapping into the multi-core pool. The open-source Scala compiler (like many others) is single-threaded, but most machines have plenty of cores that could be put to better use. I am satisfied that we delivered a working product that changed the daily lives of many developers by addressing their pain of slow Scala builds. Moreover, we showed that it was possible to significantly speed up the Scala compiler while maintaining 100% compatibility with the existing ecosystem of compiler plugins and macro libraries.

Soon after it became clear that, despite build times being several times longer than Java, for example, the Scala developer experience was impacted by many other inefficiencies. These included dependency resolution, test execution time, and build steps unrelated to the compiler. We decided to invest more in sbt support and build an observability platform (Hydra Monitoring) that would help developers identify opportunities for acceleration.

Our vision for the observability platform was to integrate deeply with sbt, but as the pandemic took hold and the economic uncertainty hit many companies, we realized we may not have enough resources to achieve our goals. Early on, we decided to go bootstrapped. We didn’t raise private money, as we felt that because our product was deeply technical and targeted a niche market, we’d be pressured into expanding our target market or deviating from our vision. It was an experiment into growing a viable business organically, but we started to run out of runway.

The match

In its capacity as a provider of modern software development technologies and thought leadership, we crossed paths with Gradle several times on our journey. The first time was when we began our efforts to integrate with the Gradle build system, one of the five that we now support. This led us to becoming familiar with the Gradle business model and this intrigued us and influenced the development of our own. Then we discovered that the Gradle customer value proposition focused on improving developer productivity aligned very well with Triplequote’s message. And finally when we set out to develop our ROI calculator tool, we found inspiration in a blog titled Quantifying the cost of builds, authored by Gradle CEO, Hans Dockter.

When Gradle approached us we immediately clicked. The Gradle vision is grander then our own vision for Scala. Our acceleration technology fits well with Gradle’s offerings, and their interest in the Scala market and the sbt build system community made this a perfect match. Our discussions with Hans and a few leading engineers quickly cast away any shadow of doubt about the compatibility of not only our vision and roadmaps, but our company cultures and approach to problem solving.

The next chapter in our story

We are very excited to continue our mission as part of the like-minded Gradle team. Our technology and experience, paired with the Gradle Enterprise strategy and solution roadmap, customer base and sales team, will only accelerate our joint success. Our immediate focus will be to integrate Hydra with Gradle Enterprise and reach feature parity for Scala and sbt including Build Scan™, Build Cache, Predictive Test Selection and remote test execution. We look forward to availing Triplequote customers with the full power of Gradle Enterprise to improve developer productivity and the developer experience.