Noodling on Otto's pipeline state machine

Recently I have been making good progress with Otto such that I seem to be unearthing one challenging design problem per week. The sketches of Otto pipeline syntax necessitated some internal data structure changes to ensure that to right level of flexibility was present for execution. Otto is designed as a services-oriented architecture, and I have the parser service and the agent daemon which will execute steps from a pipeline. I must now implement the service(s) between the parsing of a pipeline and the execution of said pipeline. My current thinking is that two services are needed: the Orchestrator and the Pipeline State Machine.

Continue reading...

Orphan steps in Otto Pipeline

After sketching out some Otto Pipeline ideas last week, I was fortunate enough to talk to a couple peers in the Jenkins community about their pipeline thoughts which led to a concept in Otto Pipelines: orphan steps. Similar to Declarative jenkins Pipelines, my initial sketches mandated a series of stage blocks to encapsulate behavior. Steven Terrana, author of the Jenkins Templating Engine made a provocative suggestion: “stages should be optional.”

Continue reading...

Sketches of syntax, a pipeline for Otto

Defining a good continuous integration and delivery pipeline syntax for Otto is one of the most important challenges in the entire project. It is one which I struggled with early in the project almost a year and a half ago. It is a challenge I continue to struggle with today, even as the puzzles pieces start to interlock for the multi-service system I originally imagined Otto to be. Now that I have started writing the parser, the pressure to make some design decisions and play them out to their logical ends is growing. The following snippet compiles to the current Otto intermediate representation and will execute on the current prototype agent implementation:

Continue reading...

Passing credentials to Otto steps

One of the major problems I want to solve with Otto is that in many CI/CD tools secrets and credentials can be inadvertently leaked. Finding a way to allow for the secure use of credentials without giving developers direct access to the secrets is something most CI/CD systems fail at today. My hope is that Otto will succeed because this is a problem being considered from the beginning. In this post, I’m going to share some of the thoughts I currently have on how Otto can pass credentials around while removing or minimizing the possibility for them to be leaked by user code.

Continue reading...

Taking inspiration from Smalltalk for Otto steps

I have recently been spending more time thinking about how Otto should handle “steps” in a CI/CD pipeline. As I mentioned in my previous post on the step libraries concept, one of the big unanswered questions with the prototype has been managing flow-control of the pipeline from a step. To recap, a “step” is currently being defined as an artifact (.tar.gz) which self-describes its parameters, an entrypoint, and contains all the code/assets necessary to execute the step. The execution flow is fairly linear in this concept: an agent iterates through a sequence of steps, executing each along the way, end. In order for a step to change the state of the pipeline, this direction of flow control must be reversed. Allowing steps to communicate changes to the agent which spawned them requires a control socket.

Continue reading...

Quick and simple dot-voting with Dot dot vote

I recently launched Dot dot vote, a simple web application for running anonymous dot-voting polls. Dot-voting is a quick and simple method for prioritizing a long list of options. I find them to be quite useful in when planning software development projects. Every team I have ever worked with has had far too many potential projects than they have people or time, dot voting can help customers and stakeholders weigh in on which of the projects are most valuable to them. Dot dot vote makes it trivial to create short-lived polls which don’t require any user registrations, logins, or overhead.

Continue reading...

Moving again with Otto: Step Libraries

I have finally started to come back to Otto, an experimental playground for some of my thoughts on what an improved CI/CD tool might look like. After setting the project aside for a number of months and letting ideas marinate, I wanted to share some of my preliminary thoughts on managing the trade-offs of extensibility. From my time in the Jenkins project, I can vouch for the merits of a robust extensibility model. For Otto however, I wanted to implement something that I would call “safer” or “more scalable”, from the original goals of Otto:

Continue reading...

Trait not bound errors with Diesel

Recently I have been exploring using Diesel for a simple Rust web application. I quickly ran into a very confusing trait bound error, listed below when integrating with chrono. It took me a while to understand and fix the error, which I thought I should write down for later!

Continue reading...

Running two practically identical daemons on FreeBSD

I stumbled into an annoying problem yesterday when setting up Onion Services for the Gopher site(s) I operate on a FreeBSD machine: two different rc.d scripts were conflicting.

Continue reading...

Comparing apples to orange rustaceans

Never trust a developer who praises the purity or elegance of the C programming language. I find comparisons often made between Rust and C for “systems programming” to be one of my least favorite, and most disingenuous discussion topics among developers on the internet. It’s like comparing roller skates to an electric car. While they both can transport you from one place to another, only one of them is likely going to bring you safely to your destination.

Continue reading...