Atlassian’s Compass Unites Tool and Code Spread – The New Stack

Moving from a monolithic software architecture to microservices not only means more moving parts in the code base, but also tools, according to a recent survey by Atlassian. The Atlassian State of the Company’s Developer Survey recently found that a majority of developers surveyed said the number of tools required was increasing, and with them, the complexity of their job was also increasing.

In response to these growing trends, Atlassian is releasing a new product called Compass in alpha to help developers track and manage their increasingly complex work environment and software architecture. Taylor Pechacek, product manager at Atlassian, described the current situation for software developers and how Atlassian hopes to solve their problems.

“The complexity of modern software itself has led to a dramatic increase in the number of tools and the way people build things. It came from across the distribution, breaking down their monoliths into microservices, shared libraries, ML models, mobile apps, APIs behind it. That complexity is really starting to flow into not just writing code, but a lot of things around that code,” Pechacek said. “Developers have access to the ability to spin up their own infrastructure to run their own applications, all on top of microservices, and then that puts them in a mode where they have a ‘you build it, you run it’ model,” and so on. They’re not just thinking, “How do I build, design, and ship this thing?” but “I’m responsible and on the hook to operate it.”

Taming the sprawl

Compass strives to provide developers with better clarity and organization in three main ways, Pechacek explained. First, Compass organizes the different parts of software into a component catalog, which provides a single place where developers can access shared components, documentation, and other pieces of information related to their core. of code and their processes. Second, Compass analyzes the software and provides dashboards based on customizable user-defined criteria. Third, Compass offers an extensibility engine to integrate with other tools and bring project information from other places outside of Compass, be it Atlassian tools or otherwise.

“It’s basically a developer collaboration portal that’s meant to help teams get to grips with software proliferation and really think about the experience of how they navigate these things,” Pechacek explained. “They’ll be able to get a real-time view of changes to their software architecture, its impact, and the current state of all those components in one place. It’s going to make them a lot more agile, it’s going to help them balance the innovation that they’re doing in JIRA Software, in Bitbucket, in GitHub, and building with the stability that they need around operations and incident management . ”

Compass users will be able to import software directly from their repositories and connect it to component catalog teams, who can provide some of the incident management mentioned by Pechacek. The component catalog is also able to determine dependencies and other related components, which will then be displayed in that singular location.

At the same time, when these repositories are imported, Compass will immediately begin analyzing the software to update the applicable DevOps dashboards and give developers an overview of their health, of which Pechacek gave some examples.

“What does it mean to be healthy? Is my PR cycle less than three days? Am I even deploying frequently? Think classic DORA metrics, but take it much further and combine elements of security, compliance, availability, and MTTR. You’re kind of getting a health model and saying, is our architecture healthy? Are we dealing with this thing in a stable and healthy way? said Pechacek.

Customizable and expandable

While Compass will start with some predefined configurations for dashboard metrics, they are also fully customizable and can be used to determine things like data retention requirements or simple processes within the team.

The final aspect of Compass, the ability to extend, means teams will be able to build custom apps in Compass – Pechacek gave an example of an AWS cost optimization app that could provide customization recommendations just to side of individual microservice components – and further unify this increasingly distributed experience of tooling and code sprawl.

Currently, Compass is being released in Alpha, with the beta coming soon, and Pechecek gave some insight into the future of the product.

“A lot of different companies are really thinking about this as they break down and become more distributed in general. The next step for us is that we move into beta, that’s definitely a signal that we have a lot more conviction on the product and on finishing some of these key functions,” Pechacek said. “But for us it’s really about continuing to co-create and refine these clear use cases around the dashboards, giving the catalog more flexibility to map the data model however they want, layering some of these DevOps tools with notifications, some automation, around that, and better search so you can identify, you know, “where is my architecture going wrong?”

Featured image via Pixabay.

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