My company keeps a sample project running pretty much all of the time. Our current project (multi-target web/Android app using Java and Spring built with Gradle and Ant that we’ll call “Finder” here) is getting a bit long in the tooth, so we have been casting about for a new one over the last several months. From non-work sources, we came upon the idea of multi-targeted Godot with C# as a viable side project. Moving to a completely different set of tools is kind of the point; it makes us stretch, and that is the idea of our ongoing projects. The stated goals for these projects are:
- Stretch knowledge about different languages, DevOps tools and platforms.
- Keep doing what you all are doing. Too many pundits have “grown out of” hands-on work, and it shows.
- Try out new ideas/architectures.
- Avoid “kitchen sink.” We can’t have a current test app that includes all available technologies, so keep it streamlined. Approach this as a production app that we use for testing, not as a test app.
That’s why we’re looking to replace our Java/Spring project. We’ve got that pipeline down, we’ve tweaked the app until we are happy with the core and it hasn’t changed in a good while. But change is a part of DevOps, so we’re off.
Let’s take care of the obvious elements in our toolchain right away:
- Git. We’ll use GitHub, but it was a given that some form of Git would be holding our code.
- Visual Studio Code. We’re doing C#, so this is going to be the most useful option for code editing. The built-in Godot editor is good and will be used, but VS-Code offers C# functionality add-ons.
- Antsle is the deployment tool of choice, though this has changed over the years. We’ll use it to set up install sets for clients.
- Jenkins or Hudson. We’re going to use this only for test management.
The Less Obvious
There are several constraints we want to (or have to) meet. First, we want to avoid using Jenkins or Ant to control the entire build process, mostly because we’ve done both in previous projects, and most DevOps teams are no longer using these methods for new projects. Second, this is a sample we keep, not an investment, so we want to use open source technology if at all possible, to keep expenses down. Third, we’re using a game engine to do app development. This has some impacts–like most game engines, it is in control at runtime and we need to bundle the engine in the final application.
- The Godot Engine. Godot is written as a game platform, but its graphics/cross-platform abilities make it useful for graphics-heavy apps like ours. But we have to include the engine and its config files in the pipeline.
- Code Scanning. Static analysis was a late addition to Finder, and it’s in Java. This project is in C# and Godot Script. We have not yet found a tool that supports Godot Script, but C# we can get; it just adds restrictions. So we will use a static analysis tool, but we’re still deciding which.
- Build Automation. We’ve used Jenkins, Gradle, Maven and Ant to handle this step at different times in the past, but something newer would be a good idea. We are still evaluating this step. We will likely end up back on one of those tools because they are still used today. Godot is a new element to us, so we are also evaluating what is required to hook into it and make functioning apps in a repeatable process.
We’re having fun—first couple sprints have us running a working prototype, so we’re happy with that. There’s still a lot to implement in the app and in the pipeline, so we’ll no doubt have more to say here soon. We’re talking about putting a server component in—not because the original concept needs it, but because our outgoing app—Finder—had server and client sides, and our need for things like Postman go away without this architecture. And yet, API security, testing, etc. is an important part of the DevOps architecture. As you can see, we’re still iterating.
Meanwhile, you all keep rocking it. We’re building an(other) app that no one but us will ever see—but you are keeping the enterprise humming. Kudos to you!