29 Aug 2015

Continuous Delivery of Fusion Middleware applications with FlexDeploy (Part 2)

In one of my previous posts I described a new DevOps and CD tool FlexDeploy. I mentioned that it was a pretty promising and rapidly developing system. Those guys proved my words and released a new version in June 2015. FlexDeploy 2.1 delivers a number of great new features and in this post I am going to focus on some of them.

The first thing you're going to notice is new look and feel. FlexDeploy is an ADF application and in the new version it utilizes the charm and simplicity of Alta UI skin.  But it seems to be not only about a skin, they started to incorporate in the application the Alta UI and the Simplified UI design principles. The "Glance, Scan, Commit" philosophy is recognizable in the new FlexDeploy screens.

The first screen the users see in the system is Home page:

Basically, this is a navigation approach providing access to all parts of the system and containing some general overview information. In other words this is a "Glance" view.

There is a link on this Home page which gets users to the Dashboard screen. This is a brand new functionality in FlexDeploy. The general concept of the Dashboard screen is an on-line dynamic, interactive report representing the most valuable information in real-time.

There are two tabs on the dashboard screen. The first one is like a flight board in the airport. It represents the current state of things, in other words it shows what is going on right now. Users can monitor what builds and deploys are being performed right now, what happened recently and what is going to be built or deployed in the nearest future. The screen is "on-line" so that it is being refreshed automatically.
It can be bookmarked, put on a separate screen, for example on a TV-panel in a developers room.

The second tab of the dashboard screen represents statistical information such as success ratio and duration time of build and deploy tasks. There are also lists with "Top-5" unsuccessful  and slowest projects in terms of build/deploy processes.
In terms of UX design philosophy the dashboard screen is an example of the "Scan" view. As I already mentioned the dashboard is fully interactive. You can filter the data on the screen and make it related to a particular environment (UAT, QA, DEV), to a specific application, to a selected period of time. Furthermore, you are able to drill down to a specific application, project and even to a build or deploy activity, in other words you are diving to the "Commit" view.

One of the most powerful features that FlexDeploy delivered in the new version is an ability to build a complete continuous delivery process, so that builds and deploys are performed automatically on scheduled basis. You don't have to use any external CD/CI servers for that (like Jenkins or Hudson or something else). Everything is implemented inside FlexDeploy already and available for users just out-of -the-box.
As far as I know, FlexDeploy team is now working on test automation functionality in order to be able to automatically run tests as a part of CD process. Hopefully this feature along with many other interesting things related to test automation will be available in the next version of the system.

"We are going to the cloud!" - this moto can be heard today on every corner in the modern IT world. FlexDeploy is not an exception and in 2.1version it has been integrated with Oracle Cloud Services.
So, now you are free to perform build and deploy operations to the Oracle Java and Database Cloud Services. Furthermore, you can run FlexDeploy itself on the Oracle Java Cloud Service. Basically, it is available on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace.

In this post I didn't cover all new features available in FlexDeploy 2.1, I just highlighted some of them. I believe I will keep posting about this tool and I bet I will find many new interesting features to blog about in upcoming versions.

That's it!

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