A whole new cottage industry is springing up around the phenomenon of containers, an open-source deployment mechanism for IT software and services that's been around for more than a decade, but is only now injecting itself into the mainstream of tech development.
Seattle-based startup Shippable is riding squarely on this upturning curve by combining three large trends all in one package: DevOps tools, containers and now its own continuous-delivery development platform. If a baseball pitcher threw this many strikes all the time, he'd be throwing no-hitters every day.
No development team can seem to build and deploy software fast enough anymore, because there are so many moving parts that change all the time. Shippable's mission is to both grease the skids and make it as easy and effective as possible to do continuous delivery of mobile applications.
On Feb. 29, the 3-year-old company unveiled a new version of its continuous delivery platform to help mobile developers ship code faster. The platform's end-to-end deployment pipelines increase developer productivity by eliminating the need to create custom automation and integrations, CEO Avi Cavale told eWEEK.
Flexibility for Use with Range of Dev Tools
Shippable also gives developers flexibility and choice of development tools and deployment options and provides a future-proof application delivery path with support for n-tier applications, as well as cloud-native technologies such as Docker containers and microservices, he said.
"Shippable is all about giving you that end-to-end perspective of what's happening, what stage your code base or changes are in—while it's in the pipeline making its way toward to the customer," Cavale said.
Thus Shippable is filling the gaps between DevOps tools, containers and continuous development and making it manageable in a cloud service.
"What Toyota did for car manufacturing is kind of what we're doing for software engineering," Cavale said. "First, they standardized their entire factory assembly line; everything was built as components, and you could assemble them in any which way. Secondly, they followed this concept called jidoka (which in the Toyota Production System can be defined as "automation with a human touch").
"Jidoka means that the moment an error occurs, you stop (the assembly line) right there, and you wait for the entire thing to happen. The idea was to catch the error as close to the source as possible. With the continuous delivery pipeline, that's what you do."
Shippable's platform is already used by more than 50,000 developers and 8,000 organizations worldwide, Cavale said.
The basic platform, according to Cavale, includes:
--Cloud portability: Shippable includes a cloud adapter, so customers can easily move applications from one cloud to another, or run in a hybrid fashion across public and private clouds without writing complex infrastructure code. This allows them to take advantage of the latest innovations and pricing from multiple providers such as Amazon ECS and Elastic Beanstalk, Google GKE, Microsoft Azure, as well as PaaS and IaaS providers.
--Choice and flexibility through plug-and-play integrations: Shippable natively integrates with all popular developer tools so customers can choose those that best fit their requirements. These include source control providers (GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, Atlassian Bitbucket), container registries (Docker, Google GCR, Amazon ECR), notifications (email, Slack, IRC, HipChat), and many programming languages and services.
--A future-proof platform that eases adoption of new technologies: The platform supports both traditional multi-tier applications and next-generation apps and technologies, including microservices and containers.
New features in the Feb. 29 release include:
--Ability to customize Docker workflows: Docker workflows are driven by a versioned configuration file where developers can run any Docker command, including building, tagging, pushing Docker images, as well as using Docker compose to run tests against live services as part of their CI workflow.
--Faster, more predictable builds: The build system has been re-architected to provide faster and more predictable build times. Build containers are completely isolated from other build containers.
--Ability to run builds on any infrastructure: Customers can attach their own build nodes on-premises or in their own private cloud. This gives them complete control over their build system, and the assurance that their code never leaves their firewall.
--Pipeline visualizations: A graphical dashboard shows where each code commit is within the deployment pipeline, so team members are always aware of what version of code is running in each environment.
--Expanded RESTful API: The Shippable API now provides access for everything that can be done through the UI, providing a way for users to build apps on top of the platform.
The new Shippable platform is available now with freemium pricing. The free plan includes unlimited builds for public and private repositories with single build minion and one deployment pipeline. Additional parallel builds and pipelines are available for introductory pricing of $10/month for each parallel build, and $10/month for three additional pipelines. Enterprise pricing and support plans also are available.