Amazon CodeCatalyst’s packages support – a glimpse at what’s to come for artifact management

In this post you will get a short introduction and my personal assessment on how the new Packages component in CodeCatalyst can help you to set up your complete SDLC in Amazon CodeCatalyst.

Only npm supported – a early launch to show what we can expect going forward and to get feedback from users?

With the initial launch Amazon CodeCatalyst allows to manage npm package repositories inside CodeCatalyst. When seing this for the first time I was a bit concerned that this decision – to initially launch with only npm support – will not help a lot, as I expect that organizations would need to store other type of artifacts (jar files, containers, python paackages, …). But I think that at least for Cloud Native Projects that use typescript this will solve the problem of storing artifacts and accessing them natively within CodeCatalyst. Let’s look at how they can be used today.

Using packages repositories in CodeCatalyst

Today you can set up package repositories in CodeCatalyst and connect to upstream (public or private) repositories. You can also change the sort order and the upstream order of the package repositories. The documentation covers the different possibilities to set up repositories very well. You can access the package repositories from your local machine by setting up the connection locally

npm config set registry https://packages.region.codecatalyst.aws/npm/space-name/proj-name/repo-name/

After setting up multiple repositories you can set the order of retrieval and usage. You can also set it up as a “pass-through” repository and allow access to public repositories.

Using packages in CodeCatalyst

Packages in CodeCatalyst are integrated with workflows. You can read or store packages with native actions or by setting up the npm repository manually.

You can also read and publish packages from other systems by using Personal Access Tokens (PAT). The documentation outlines currently supported client commands.

The CodeCatalyst workflows will by default use the set up repositories that you have set up within CodeCatalyst.

What I think we need next in packages

With the launch of the packages component in CodeCatalyst AWS has added a definately missing functionality in CodeCatalyst. Users are not able to store artifacts and share them within a space which makes it possible to create, re-use and deploy immutable artifacts natively within the tool.

This is a much needed functionality, but as I already mentioned, I believe that limiting this to npm packages only limits the use cases for it. I would have expected npmpython and docker support at launch and was a bit disappointed that this was not included.

I do also believe that the “packages” functionality should be better integrated and allow further configuration options, especially when loading/reading packages from upstream repositories – e.g. being able to limit to only certain licences or ensuring that packages included are still “supported” (and regularly updated) or security-scanned.

These type of functionalities would have made the new option “meaningful” and would have empowered developers to build better software too.

I can imagine that we will see pythonjava and dockersupport pretty soon due to these reasons and it would be great to also support “internal” repositories as “upstream” repositories.

How do YOU think that this new functionality will help you to adapt CodeCatalyst?
Please drop me a message on socials or an E-Mail!

Views: 396

Amazon CodeCatalyst’s integration with the IAM identity center allows SSO with your own IdP

In this post you will learn how the new integration of the IAM Identity center with Amazon CodeCatalyst allows to use your own IdP as single source of truth of users for CodeCatalyst spaces. We will look at how you can connect a space to an IdP and on how this can be used to set up certain permissions based on your IdP roles.

Single Sign On (SSO) using IAM Identity Center empowers CodeCatalyst users to use their own IdP to provision user accounts in CodeCatalyst

With the new integration for Amazon CodeCatalyst into the AWS Identity Center organizations can now connect to their own existing IdP (AzureAD, Ping, Okta, …) going through the AWS Identity Center.

Benefits of the new integration

With this new integration users and organizations go to the Space settings in CodeCatalyst and choose to integrate with an existing instance of the IAM Identity Center.

This also connects potentialy to any other IdP that uses the IAM Itentity Center as a proxy. Administrators will only need to manage roles and permissions in on central place. The roles from the IdP can then be mapped to certain team roles in Amazon CodeCatalyst.

What I don’ t like about the new integration

There are two things that I didn’t like when looking at this integration:

Why do we need to go through the IAM Identity Center and cannot allow direct SAML or OIDC integration for a specific space? With the “need” to have an IAM Identity center organizations also need to directly connect to an existing AWS Account to manage connectivity – and this once again brings back a “tooling” account that initially I was hoping to replace with CodeCatalyst.

The second thing that I missed was the possibility to automatically map existing roles to groups in Amazon CodeCatalyst – today this is a – one time – manually effort that needs to be conducted. If you need to do that only once for your organization that isn’t a problem, but if you decide to have multiple spaces for your organization and need to perform this multiple times, then this can be very time consuming.

Summary

I believe that this change will have a very big impact on the adoption for CodeCatalyst as administrators and security teams in organizations will make it easier to allow the usage now that there is a central place to manage identities. And with the possibility to actually try out CodeCatalyst in an enterprise world, I hope that we will also see more adoption of CodeCatalyst and with that also a more streamlined and better communicated roadmap of CodeCatalyst.
If you would like to learn more on how to activate this, please refer to the documentation.

Views: 119

Custom BluePrints in CodeCatalyst – templated projects that empower you to build better software

In this post you will learn how to build a Custom BluePrints in Amazon CodeCatalyst. You will get to know how Custom BluePrints allow you to generate a consistent setup of your projects and CI/CD workflows and how you can leverage this to empower your teams to be compliant with rules and deployment best practices. AWS has announced this today at his annual user conference AWS re:invent 2023 in Las Vegas.

Custom BluePrints – what they do, why they are there and how you can use them

Custom BluePrints can be seen as “project templates” that you can build and offer to all of your users of a space. As a user of CodeCatalyst you should already be aware of the general concept of a blueprint: It’s a templated project that you can start your software project on.

Custom BluePrints take this concept to a new level: Now you can build BluePrints for your projects!
And that’s not it: a project can be depended/generated by multiple BluePrints and a project generated from BluePrints can also become a BluePrint! yey!
You do not start from zero and you are now also abled to add a BluePrint to an existing project.

Think about what this means for you and your organization: You can set up certain default workflows, permissions, dependencies, environments, etc. and apply that to all of your new projects by default, without the need to “touch” anything.

And that’s not “it” – there is more: CodeCatalyst also allows you to “update” projects that have been build from a Custom BluePrint!

Think about the scenerio where you ahve over 20 microservices that all follow the same CI/CD pattern, including governance rules and dependencies. They all have the same dependencies and pre-requisites (e.g. AWS account permissions, environment setups, etc.). Now one of the dependencies has a critical, security relevant defect and you urgently need to upgrade all of these projects…

CodeCatalyst Custom BluePrints enables you to do exactly that with just a few clicks and pull request approvals!

I hope you are curious to look at this new functionality in details now, keep reading!

The technology behind blue prints – the power of Projen and Code Generation

Custom Blue Prints are powered by Projen under the hood – to learn more about Projen, please look here. Similar to a projen.rc.ts you will need to create a blueprint.ts file in the src folder of your BluePrint project. There you can then define the rules and automations which will be applied when the BluePrint is used as a starting point for a new project. Currently the Custom BluePrint SDK allows you to define Wizard configurations, Workflows, Environments, Source Repositories, Pre-Configured Dev Environments, … Using Projen as an underying technology the team is able to re-generate the code for your project and create a pull request on your behalf for the source repository of your project i there is changes. And this is great!

Building your first BluePrint

Building your first BluePrint is easy!

Create your BluePrint project

It starts with creating a new Custom BluePrint project in the CodeCatalyst UI using the BluePrint builder. This one can be accessed from the Space “Settings” page. After going through the wizard, this will create a new project for you in CodeCatalyst. In this project, you can now either checkout the source repository into your local IDE or you can use the DevEnvironments to directly get you started to work on the project.

Building and Editing Custom BluePrints can be a HIGH RISK

As you are reading this and as the functionality has only just been announced, it might be early – but it is never too early to warn about this:

If you edit a Custom BluePrint and potentially introduce security problems – maybe even unsecure dependencies – you might expose everyone that uses your BluePrint to challenges.

Better set up additional protections for all of your BluePrint projects!

Edit the sources of your BluePrint Project

Now that you your project is set up, you can start building your own components and parts of your project.

Be cautious to edit package.json in your BluePrint project – you can, but it might break some of the integrations. The typescript project is set up for you to be able to preview and publish your BluePrint.

The main “sources” of your BluePrint and the definitions will be in the src/blueprint.ts file. Initially, the project comes with a simple wizard set up with only a few parameters. It copies only the contents of the static-assets directory when being executed.

I’ve not been able yet to try out a lot of the functionalities and possibilities of the SDK, but still I was able to create a custom BluePrint that can be used to deploy a Flutter Web application with a Serverless Backend.

What I found out is that it will be a huge effort to set up the BluePrint in combination with a Wizard. This is not a 4 hour task, we’re rather talking about a week to get started. Further details on this – see the “Testing” section. This might also explain why this functionality is part of the new Enterprise tier for Amazon CodeCatalyst.

Please read the available options of package.json, but to get you started: use npm run blueprint:synth or yarn blueprint:synth to generate the BluePrint locally.

This will also execute any local unit tests that you have build for your BluePrint.

Testing your Blue Print locally

Using npm run blueprint:synth or yarn blueprint:synth will generate the BluePrint bundle locally and execute unit tests. It will generate a version of your project created by the BluePrint in the folder synth/synth.[options-name]/proposed-bundle/. This will use the default options you provided.

It is also possible to simulate the wizard adding the --cache parameter.

You could also build Unit Tests or SnapShots tests and integrate them into this lifecycle step of the build procedure.

Publishing your BluePrint to the Space Catalog

Use npm run blueprint:preview or yarn blueprint:preview to upload a “preview” version of your BluePrint to your CodeCatalyst space. This will make the Custom BluePrint available but not make it available in the catalog yet, so users cannot use it.

It also automatically increases the version number for your BluePrint.

Testing your Blue Print through the UI

After publishing your BluePrint preview from your local environment, you will now see this preview version within your Space Settings. From there, you are able to create a project out of the Preview version of your BluePrint.

Here you will need to test all options of the wizard and in addition to that verify that the customizations that you added have been correctly generated after you went through the wizard.

I have made the experience that a whole testing cycle can take 3-5 minutes – so I really recommend you to look at local unit tests.

After you have finished your tests, you can add a specific version of your BluePrint to the BluePrint catalog. This is currenty only be possible through the UI in the Space Settings.

Creating (one or many) projects from your BluePrint

Now you are ready to start creating projects from your BluePrint!

Go to the normal “Create Project” screen – after using “Create from Blueprint” you will now have the option sect “Space Blueprints” which is where you will find your newly created BluePrint.

This should now generate your project from your BluePrint and the structure should be as you wanted it to be. 🙂

You can also add additional BluePrints to an existing project – this allows you to incorporate multiple BluePrints in a single project, a combination of multiple “default” project settings.

Please be aware that this will remove manually added or created resources that are part of the BluePrint that you are adding – it will overwrite manual changes that “interfere” with the BluePrints code.

Upgrading your BluePrint

Upgrading your works similar to creating it – upload a new “Preview” version, add the new version to the catalog.

Upgrading your projects to a new BluePrint version

You can currently update the used Blue Print vesion for a project by going to the project settings, to the Blue Prints section there and then by loading up one BluePrint. Choosing to upgrade to a different or newer version will generate the proposed changes and make them visible to you before you apply them.

What’s next for Custom BluePrints?

Oh wow, this is one of the new features that I am most excited about for CodeCatalyst! There is so much potential! I have to explore further the possibility to have multiple BluePrints attached to a project, the possibility to remove a BluePrint from a project, and all of the other things that I didn’t touch yet.

Here’s stuff that I would love to get for Custom BluePrints:

  • auto-apply updates to ALL projects that are from the same BluePrint automatically
  • share Custom BluePrints with other Spaces
  • a Custom BluePrints market place where developers (like me) can put “their” BluePrints in and organizations can “buy” a BluePrint from

I also believe that the team needs to work a bit more on the developer experience when building Custom BluePrints, e.g. by pre-suggesting automated integrated tests (integration or snapshot tests). Publishing a new version to the catalog should also visualize the changes that are going to be added to other projects before you actually publish the new version.

I am a bit disappointed that the “free tier” does not give you the possibility to try out this functionality by being able to add one or two Custom Blue Prints to your space, but maybe this is something that will be possible as soon as the Blueprint SDK is stable.

What do you think of Custom BluePrints? What are your main wishes? Please reach out to me and let me know!

Views: 487

Hey, I’m going to San Francisco and Vegas to meet friends at re:Invent 2023

In this post I’m writing about how getting to re:Invent 2023 was and about how the last year has made a big impact on my personality and my efforts in the AWS community.

Thinking it couldn’t get better last year, 2023 changed me once more and leveled me up

While going to re:Invent 2022 I wrote down my thoughts and went home from re:Invent expecting things could not get better for me. But this year has prooven my expectations wrong, as the last 10 months have been life-changing in a lot of different aspects.

Blogging & Starting a YouTube channel – winning 1.5 hackathons and starting a project

When I reached my home town after last years re:Invent I knew that this community is what makes me happy and gives me back so much that I also would like to give something back. And so, I formed a few ideas in my head and started a few initiatives that I would like to share with you today:

Blogging & Writing

I have been blogging both on dev.to and on my personal blog – writing about topics and things that I do or did on a regular basis, trying to share experiences of day-to-day things and building experiences.

The most important thing for me he is to always be transarent and authentic – speaking out on things that I liked and challenges that I’ve faced.

For you reading this – thank you, for being part of my journey, for giving me feedback and for being you! Please let me know if you have any feedback on what I should change or do better.

Kicking off a YouTube channel

The last three years of my career have been focused on building secure and reliable CI/CD pipelines! But hey, there is so much more to learn. As part of my travel back to my home town after re:Invent, I had the thought to share my experiences and the experiences of other builders on a “podcast-like” YouTube channel which is today known as @cicdonaws.

Learning on how to produce a YouTube video to how to set up a good lightning and sound, preparing a script and creating better thumbnails – a lot of learnings, experiences and hours went into the videos that I have been producing.

This only kicked off because of all of the great builders that joined me on the show and shared their projects, learnings and experiences with me. Thank you all, every single one, for your time, dedication and experiences. Keep up sharing your knowledge, as this is how we can all grow!

Winning 1.5 hackathons and making a small project something big

Back in march Lily announced a, Community Builders-internal hackathon where it was possible to win some prices – and I thought I had a great idea on what to build that actually fit into the “rules” of the hackathon. And this is how the project started that has since then used up countless of hours of my after-work evenings and weekends. Millions of Slack messages have gone from Germany to US, from US and Germany to Africa and back – we kicked of a real project with our Speakers Directory that is finally ready for prime time! After becoming second in the first Hackathon, we also submitted the same project with a few tweaks for a 2nd hackathon powered by Hashnode and Amplify and this also brought us “honourable mentions” in the list of top 10.

We’re ready now to get more of you to add your talks and events! Please sign up and give us feedback, we are very proud of what we have produced so far and eager to get all of you on board!

Thanks to Danielle, Julian, Matt, Raphal, Baimam for actively working with me on this fun project – and thanks to everyone else that has supported us through 2023 to make this a bigger thing!

Organizing a community day – the EU (more technical) edition of re:Invent

Another piece last year has been organizing the AWS Community Day DACH that happened in Munich this year – it was fascinating to be part of the team that brought more than 500 AWS nerds together, including over 25 AWS Heroes and 30 Community Builers!

Thank you all for attending – and thanks for the sponsors for making this possible!

We’re up for doing this again next year – further details to be announced soon! Looking forward to see you there!

Hey, hiking before re:Invent is what you need!

And then, there is this “secret thing”: Ever since I went to re:Invent I used the sunday before re:Invent to go out “hiking” somewhere close to Las Vegas. The first two visits together with colleagues were three persons – a pretty cool small group.

Last year, they did not go with me to re:Invent, so I asked Community Builders to join me – at the end, we were nine persons from I think 8 different countries hiking together from 10 am till 5 pm – we had a lot of fun, so I decided: Let’s do this again!

Somehow, this became a bigger thing – for this years hike, we have over 50 Community Builders, Heros and UG Leaders signed up. The group became so big that the AWS Community team is helping us this year by sponsoring the transportation.

Thank you all, that you are supporting this thing – and thanks to everyone participating, I am sure this will be an amazing experience for everyone!

How and Why what I do for the community changed

Since June I can name myself an AWS Devtools Hero – which honors me a lot but also drove a bit on how and what I do for the AWS community. My work has become a little bit less “public” – a lot of my hours that I have “free” went into talking to AWS Service Teams, into mentoring other builders and helping them grow. This has lead to less new videos on YouTube and less blog posts – but instead, I’ve helped others to grow and to invest into the community – supporting the “re-start” of the AWS UG Frankfurt, the re-start of the User Groups Mainz, Karlsruhe and Heilbronn and overall making other builders “grow”. This makes me happy. Thank you all, that you are part of my journey.

Making new friends

This year has also shown to me how important relationships are and how much you can make friends by supporting each other. Friends, I’ve never met in person (Matt), friends I’ve finally met in September (Ran) and others like Markus, Thorsten, Philipp and Raphael that are part of most of my days and that I write 100s of Slack messages per week.

This is what community means! Making friends, learning, growing. Thank you, for being you!

What’s next for me?

Changing my role at work

I’ve recently moved to the global Platform Architecture team here at FICO and that gives me a lot of new possibility and learning opportunities.

The platform that FICO is building is an important one and helps organizations around the globe to take better decisions – I’m proud to be part of the team and looking forward to make this bigger than it is today.

Community Day DACH 2024

We’re already planning next year. Stay tuned for some announcements…soon!

Supporting and mentoring builders around the globe

I’m up for helping other builders grow – if you’re intersted to collaborate with me or to learn from me, reach out to me and we can talk!

If you have any CI/CD or CodeCatalyst specific topics that you would like to talk about on my channel – reach out to me!

If you need feedback, help or advice on anything (e.g. a blog post or anything else) – let me know and reach out!

Looking forward to an amazing re:Invent 2023 with a lot of friends in Las Vegas!

Have a great week – don’t be a stranger and say HI if you see me around!

Views: 264

Experiencing GenAI using PartyRock – the best applications I’ve seen until now

As a few of you might have seen, AWS has today launched PartyRock – an Amazon Bedrock Playground that can be used to generate and build applications using GenAI technologies.

PartyRock is an educational tool for providing any builder with low-friction access to learn through experimentation in a foundation model playground built on Amazon Bedrock. It is not a product or service in the traditional AWS definition and should never be referred to as such. The preferred descriptor is playground, though in most cases tool is also acceptable.

AWS

German engineering – Party from Berlin

I’ve been fortunate to be able to know people that are behind this launch and I’m excited for it, not only because a bunch of the engineering team members are part of the AWS Development Center in Germany but also because I’ve tried to not touch anything related to GenAI until this tool was made available.

After being able to look at the tool and playing around with it, I can see a lot of benefits of using Generative AI going forward and I see a lot of the value that this technology can bring us in addition to “simple ChatGPT like” Chatbots.

Build your first GenAI App with PartyRock

It’s too simple. Click on the “Generate app” button, add a prompt for Amazon Bedrock and within seconds you have a working application that uses GenAI under the hood!

Here’s an example of a prompt that I have used:

And the outcome of that: https://partyrock.aws/u/lockhead/rpZ8z9kG5/re%3AInvent-2023-DevTools-and-CICD-Attendees-Guide

Pretty cool, isn’t it? Even tho the underlying model does not have access to the session catalog (which is a pitty), I liked the outcome that you can look at in this snapshot.

Holding to it’s promises it allows you to experience with GenAI

As the introduction of the AWS team says, PartyRock really makes Bedrock accessible and gives everyone a great possibility to “try out” how the different models behave with different prompts.
I can only encourage you to try it out and make your own experiences with it. It’s worth your time!
Being part of the AWS Community (in this case, being a Hero or a Community Builder) gave us the advantage of a few hours to try this out before the official release…and this gives me the chance to already NOW present you a few cool use cases that other builders have created with this tool 🙂

PartyRock Apps & Use cases that have made me smile or bring value

It’s amazing to see how creative AWS Community Builders and Heroes are 🙂
Here a bunch of the apps that I’ve looked at and played around with and I think are worth sharing:

NameAuthorDescription
Content MarketingAWS DevTools Hero Thorsten HögerThis simple app allows you to use GenAI to create tailored Marketing Materials and post snippets for social media base on a Service Input.
Quiz GeneratorAWS Community Builder Dixit R JainGenerates questions for a specific topic that you can use in a quiz – the original idea is from Dixit, I’ve linked my version which is “remixed” and adds a language option
Event Countdown AppAWS DevTools Hero Johannes KochA simple event countdown calculator that shows you the time until a specific event starts.
Gameday Team Name GeneratorAWS Community Hero Markus OstertagGenerate your teamname for your next AWS Gameday – maybe at re:Invent in Las Vegas?
Generate Google Calendar and iCalAWS DevTools Hero Johannes KochGenerates an iCal and a Google Calendar link for your next event
Social Media AssistantAWS Community Builder Matteo DepascaleGenerates Tweets and LinkedIn posts to make your life easier
re:Invent Steps & Calory calculatorAWS DevTools Hero Johannes KochHelps you to calculate steps and calories burned when walking at re:Invent 2023 (hint: DON’T DO IT!) 🙂
TrumpifierAWS Community Builder Damien GallagherNo comments, but it was funny.
Conversation StarterAWS Community Hero Markus OstertagYou have challenges starting a conversation with your PeerTalk expert? This app will help you find the right entry words.
AWS Certification RecommenderAWS Community Builder Ganesh SwaminathanRecommends you a specific certification to do given your personal background
Bill & Ted Quote GeneratorAWS Community Builder Jenn BergstromGenerates quote from Bill & Ted based on your mood and situation
AirlineDestinationAdvisorAWS Community Hero Anders BjørnestadGet travel tips and tricks for a destination

Did you find an exciting app that I should include? Reach out to me and let me know 🙂

Where do we take it from here? How PartyRock helps and what I would love to get

PartyRock is a great starting point for experimenting with GenAI!

To take this to the next level there is a few things I’d love to get:

  1. Make your PartyRock app “yours”
    • Deploy to my AWS Account Button
    • Export to CDK / IaC Option
    • Export to CodeCatalyst Project
  2. Additional UI options
    • Radio Boxes, ComboBoxes
    • Make the applications “user aware”
    • Other generation options than text/image

Especially the first point would help developers to take action after creating the app – you could directly use the generated app and use this on your own AWS Account and this will help you understand how Bedrock fits into your existing AWS architecture.

What do you think of it? I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts!

Time until re:Invent 2023:

Views: 423