Braintree & GitHub

Industry: Payment processing and billing
Company size: less than 250
Location: Headquartered in Chicago, IL

Braintree has had an impressive year. Among other exciting milestones, they were acquired by PayPal, a well-known powerhouse in payment technology. They’re also working hard on client and server-side SDKs that allow developers to quickly enable secure payment options for any modern payment method. They’re a small team with big ideas about making development easier for other developers.

Braintree has been using GitHub since 2008. Since their acquisition, all development between Braintree and PayPal is done in common inter-organizational GitHub repositories. Pull requests and other collaboration tools made distributed development between offices in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City feel more centralized. “The engineering culture is more modern because we’re using GitHub as a structure for open internal communication within teams,” notes Braintree product manager Mike Mettler.

The visibility GitHub brought to Braintree’s distributed development teams felt really good. Because developers were their primary audience, they decided to try their hand at using GitHub organizations to manage the release of their v.zero Payments API. They used team permissions to add private beta participants directly to the repositories that contained their source code, enabling collaboration with pull requests. “We put all beta developers in a chat room for each repository,” says Mike about their beta experience. “It was a nice way to have our developers get feedback directly from beta participants.”

“GitHub is the lingua franca of developers. The more you can make work feel native for a developer, the more positive their experience. Pushing both product development and our beta interaction onto GitHub was a happy experience.”

Braintree is taking their success with GitHub even further by using it to interact with the public. They’re using GitHub releases to make their SDKs for iOS and Android available to their customers, and in the true spirit of open source, they accept pull requests from their users. Even writers at Braintree got in on the game, merging and deploying user-facing documentation and READMEs in the same repositories as released source code.

“GitHub has double resonance for Braintree”, Mike remarks. “You can see history in all of our public repos. That’s really nice when you’re developing something for developers. We’re a model of open development, transparency, and showing our work.”

How Braintree is integrating with GitHub

Continuous integration: Builds are compiled with Jenkins.

Releases: Public releases are available using the GitHub Releases API.

Chat ops: Their chat bot, Dog, is powered by hooks between GitHub and Slack.

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