Moving Beyond CI with Automated Pipelines

- By Avi Cavale on March 14, 2016

This is an exciting time for Shippable as we release the next version of our pipeline. As a SaaS company we constantly release new features and functionality, but this release marks a major update to our platform and services based on customer feedback and the "state of the art" for developers. You can read about the new features and updates in this blog post. In this post I want to take some time and explain how we have arrived at this point, and how we move towards the future of modern application delivery.fast_aye_aye_trans_bkgrd.png

Today, a lot of time and energy goes into creating “plumbing” to manage or customize the development lifecycle. A developer building infrastructure isn’t creating value for customers, and that results in lost productivity. Shippable exists to improve delivery throughput and make developers have a more meaningful impact. Increasing a developers’ “personal impact” not only leads to improved business outcomes, but also increases that individuals job satisfaction. At Shippable, we believe that our system frees up cycles for developers, so this personal impact can be dramatically increased. And this delivers real value to companies and developers themselves.

Application delivery is the successful result of developer impact, and continuous delivery is the peak of delivery practice in an agile world. We want to make the entire continuous delivery experience seamless. The processes along the lifecycle are well known, but are generally disjointed and inefficient. We are taking these disconnected processes and making them a seamless pipeline from code to customer. At the same time, we aren’t opinionated about what you want to use throughout the process. Any language, any repo, any cloud, any container. Use the Shippable pipeline to manage your app delivery and you can use your current tool set and have freedom to change components based on technological or economic rationales tomorrow. The flexibility of the pipeline makes sure you are productive today, and “future proof” you from changing technology decisions. All of the work you do today to connect your code repos into Shippable reduces the amount of work you need to redo as your application evolves.

This release of Shippable is a big step forward for myself and our company. Like you, we are passionate about our job as software developers. As we build, release and learn, we have picked up valuable lessons on the way. This latest milestone is the culmination of learnings we’ve gained in building microservices and pushing Docker technology, combined with many emails, GitHub issues and conversations with developers about their needs and frustrations. This release is personally gratifying for me in how our team has taken customer feedback to heart and has addressed the majority of the issues raised. In particular, previous versions of Shippable weren’t giving enough feedback as possible to development teams, resulting in “silent fails”. We went back to the drawing board and re-architected Shippable in a more user-centric fashion. The result of this work is an increase in the amount of feedback provided by the system regarding build status and root causes of failures. You will now find additional error information surfaced into the console, so you can take appropriate action on insights. No longer will you have to have doubts if the fail was part of the system, the code, or user error.

The next category of improvements involves Docker container management. Because we were the first CI vendor to build our solution on Docker, it gave us an incredible head start in learning about how Docker works. As we learned more, and as developers adopted Docker, we heard from you that the Shippable CI system abstracted away too much of Docker customization. By re-architecting the build system to a single-tenancy model, we have been able to expose the fine-grained control of Docker to developers and ops teams who want additional control over their Docker containers. The choice is yours: you can get started quickly with Shippable automation, or use your Docker skills to control the entire Docker image settings.

The move to single-tenancy also solves another common concern heard from customers. In our hosted builds, the time of builds were not as consistent or predictable as they should have been. Moving to single-tenant Docker images speeds up build times in production, enhances security, and makes builds more consistent and predictable.

I have never seen so much of stuff packed in a single launch ever! 240+ customer features completed in 8 weeks. Talk about shipping quality code faster. I want to invite you to try out this release and let me know what you think about new features in the pipeline. This platform shift now opens up a number of exciting items on our product roadmap. In the coming weeks watch out for additional integrations with key cloud and tool providers, additional features and pipeline insights. If there is an integration or feature you would like to see, or have a comment about the service, please let me know.


Happy Shipping!

Topics: continuous deployment (CD), Shippable updates, news, delivery pipeline