Only a day late and a dollar short, Google: Now its cloud cozies up to Microsoft's GitHub

Devs can have Dockerfiles in GH trigger Google Cloud Build

Some programmers looking at a screen

At its Google Cloud Next 18 extravaganza in San Francisco on Thursday, Google took a moment to address developers directly.

Where the keynotes for the previous two days were calibrated for a general audience, the developer keynote focused on live coding and devops arcana.

Adam Seligman, veep of developer relations for Google Cloud, opened morning's presentation by insisting, "It's a great time to be a developer."

For those with in-demand tech skills who are still young enough to avoid hiring discrimination, that's undoubtedly true. But it's been true for decades.

Even so, Seligman's claim had more to do with extent to which automation has changed the job. "When's the last time you stood up a server?" he said. "That's an API call now."

Code-oriented automation has become a necessity thanks to the adoption of complicated devops tools like containers, clusters and deployment pipelines. Cloud platforms like AWS, Azure and GCP alleviate some of the command line twiddling through menu-driven services.

Melody Meckfessel, VP of engineering for Google Cloud, said the company is "automating away the toil while empowering the humans." Sarah Novotny, head of open source strategy for Google Cloud, framed Google's goal slightly differently during a panel discussion: "Infrastructure needs to get more boring."

Google's latest attempt at tedium is Cloud Build, a managed continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) platform that was announced earlier this week. CI/CD is all the stuff that happens between checking code changes into a repository and deploying the application somewhere. It allows applications to be built, tested, deployed and managed at scale. It's an important element in DevOps.


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Meckfessel provided a demonstration of how Cloud Build could be used to diagnose a slow ecommerce app, make a fix with a GitHub pull request, validate the changes, run tests, do security scanning and trigger a Spinnaker pipeline to deploy the image.

GitHub's involvement in this process should become more prominent thanks to an a partnership announced at the event between the social code repository, recently acquired by Microsoft, and Google Cloud.

(Google's cloud boss Diane Green admitted last month that the advertising giant was beaten by the Windows goliath in snapping up GitHub. "I wouldn’t have minded buying them," she said.)

Through the Google-GitHub partnership, GitHub will be able to identify Dockerfiles, used for setting up containers, in the root of a code repo and will suggest a CI tool like Cloud Build from the GitHub Marketplace if a CI tool hasn't already been configured.

Cloud Build has also incorporated GitHub's Checks API, which provides build checks within GitHUb. The API returns data about build status, errors and that sort of thing so CI tools can respond programmatically.

Other demos and evangelism followed. Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate for Google's Cloud Platform, live coded a weather app using Kubernetes, a process that included googling Stack Overflow for code to convert place names to geo-coordinates.

"Good programmers copy, great programmers paste," he said in jest but also in truth. ®

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