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Bridging the Gap With DevOps at Smallpdf

by Mark Anthony Attard

DevOps Engineer at Smallpdf, Mark Anthony Attard, shares insights into how DevOps as a culture can bridge the gap between operations and development.

DevOps is generally considered a group of practices that work to combine IT operations and software development in a company or organization. The main idea of DevOps is to optimize the lifecycle of system development and support delivery with high-quality software. It really is a cultural philosophy with a focus on interdepartmental collaboration and communication with the goal to streamline and automate processes.

What Is DevOps for Smallpdf?


In theory, DevOps methods permit developers to deploy their code to infrastructure using the DevOps toolset and techniques. At Smallpdf, we believe that fostering a DevOps culture will go a long way toward improving deployment, operations, infrastructure upkeep, cost control, and other areas where development and operations teams may interact.

Through collaboration on areas around the design, build, testing, and debugging of infrastructure and applications, we’re bridging the gap between operations and development teams.

DevOps as a Culture


Smallpdf’s DevOps culture aims to increase transparency, improve communication, and break down silos between cross-functional teams. Developers and DevOps engineers occasionally collaborate on activities with common goals. With this kind of cooperation, problems can be tackled quickly and cracked in the best possible way.

As DevOps engineers, we attempt to follow our suppliers’ best practices. These can range from cloud infrastructure to software as a service (SaaS) applications to custom-built applications.

In sessions aimed at sharing information between teams, DevOps engineers and developers have the opportunity to work together. This method of problem solving is a deeply ingrained aspect of our culture and we’ve learned that it benefits not only the teams, but the company as a whole in terms of growth and efficiency.

Our knowledge sharing and management has greatly benefitted from a thorough documentation process executed by engineers in the processes of creating objects, implementing new ideas, researching and experimenting with new technologies, and issue fixing in general.

DevOps & Collaboration


The first step in such a collaborative job between DevOps and development teams usually entails an initial discussion. At this time, the issues that need to be addressed are brought to the table with the help of basic questions like:

  1. What problem are we solving?
  2. How might we solve this problem?

As we progress further into the discussions, tool sets and technologies come into play. Considering the example above, the development team can write the code, test it locally, and push it into repositories to ask for reviews and/or feedback from peers. In the spirit of efficiency, the time it takes to create and receive feedback is used by the DevOps engineers to work on the infrastructure. That means that they are identifying the ideal spot for the code to be placed and thus use their time with maximum efficiency.

The infrastructure consists of tools for managing code version control, repositories, infrastructure as code tools, cloud environments, and last but not least, monitoring tools to oversee the tools’ performance.

DevOps Language


DevOps Engineers tend to use special terms. Here are a few of them and what they mean:

Continuous Integration

  • The practice of automating pipeline deployment into software artifacts. To do so, different tests are integrated into the process of reducing faulty code released to production.
  • Specialized tools can help the engineers in configuring pipelines and standards across the organization to create deployment flows.

Continuous Delivery

  • The practice of creating pipelines that enable engineers to deploy their code quickly into production systems automatically.

Infrastructure as Code

  • In cloud environments, using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) enables engineers to deploy infrastructure using tools such as Terraform.
  • Such tools allow engineers to create blueprints of the infrastructure and will ease the need to scale up and down according to business needs.


  • A set of tools used to monitor the infrastructure based on the thresholds that are configured by the engineers.
  • To ensure a timely response to errors and emergencies, it’s possible to set up alerts. These can notify engineers if something goes wrong during work or even after hours.


  • Logging allows engineers to debug issues in applications or even in infrastructure. Using logging, the application outputs events that are useful for analyzing and evaluating a particular situation, thereby making it easier to identify bugs and quickly find fixes.
  • Specialized tools are used to centralize log collection from different applications, whereby APM features can facilitate better traces.

By combining DevOps with a project management framework such as Agile and/or Scrum, engineers and product owners are able to create products that are frequently deployed and scaled to the market’s needs. This can also help to track down bugs and fix them more quickly, overcome roadblocks, and anticipate market needs.

Enjoyed this post? You might like this article about stabilizing Keycloak at scale. Otherwise, look out for more information, insights, and tips from the engineers at Smallpdf coming soon on the blog.

Mark Anthony Attard
Mark Anthony Attard
DevOps Engineer @Smallpdf