The Trouble With Talend [Update]

[updated 26/09/2016]

This morning I got another promo email from Talend bursting with marketing cheerfulness. Since they had not yet responded to my tweeting this blog post last Friday  I had another go round with them on twitter. First they tried to blow me off (the old check the forums routine)

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and then an email showed up from a Mark Balkenende, who identified himself as a Talend employee responsible for building most of the virtual machine file. He explained what had been going on.

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Notice how the problem is on my end? 🙂 There are three problems with this scenario;

  • Computers run firewalls – this is 2016, not 1996. Well built software should be built with this in mind and in fact I download many things using generated links and have never had this problem before.
  • Well built software should not fail quietly and default in a way that looks like it worked but didn’t. It should either use an alternative mechanism that works or alert the user, hopefully telling them how to fix the problem.
  •   If there’s a restriction or requirement then that should be documented before the user tries it and a work around suggested. That way people don’t get as frustrated.

His proposed solution has yet another snag however:

talendbog13

Bad assumption. I use Linux, specifically a chopped version of Ubuntu called lxle. And, yes, I’d like to check out – if you can get it here before I pop a blood vessel in frustration!

———————————————————–

When I first came across Talend back in 2007 I was fairly impressed. At that time it was the only data integration software released under the GPL. It has a lot of good engineering but is handicapped by a harsh learning curve, sloppy documentation and flawed web based processes – sign up, usr onboarding, product distribution and support. They have a lot of customers but would have a lot more if they weren’t shooting themselves in the foot.

Let’s walk through an experience I just had. It started with a email newsletter from Talend titled “ Create Your Own Adventure” and this is what happened.

I decided to try out one of their products:

talendblog1
Easy Button my ass!

I followed the links and was able to download a distribution package called Talend Tools – I then received an email titled “Your Big Data Sandbox (Beta) Free Trial Is Confirmed” that contained a link to document called ‘Big Data Insights’. This made reference to a Virtualbox appliance file (.ovf) – the Talend Tools package did not contain a .ovf file.

Making a note of that, I tried to start up the software in the Talend Tools package – it asked me for a license key. None of the emails I had contained a license key, so after waiting a few hours I contacted their support email as listed and enjoyed this interaction.

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I’ve had an account on Talend’s website since at least 2010 and have entered my contact information many, many times. They don’t seem to have a grasp of user/session management I fear.

Onward!

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At this point I decided to clarify matters.

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The next morning I began assembling this article and noticed something on the download form. Pretty crappy web design.

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Notice where it says *Big Data Sandbox for MapR users Download’? I decided to try that and after filling out the form once again it started another download of the Talend Tools package after which an email with a license key attached showed up in my inbox. Still no sign of a Virtualbox appliance file however.

At the end of day I am left with frustration and confusion rather than an opportunity to learn the software. Talend is a well funded company and these mistakes are quite preventable.

Do better Talend!

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