It’s a developer experience platform developed by the company that provides a place for developer and operations teams to discover every component, view its current health and automate its setup all in one place.
Every year, software teams get asked to build and deploy software at a faster and faster speeds. There are also scattered software tools and components, microservices, application programming interfaces, frameworks and increasingly distributed teams that have led to amplified complexity. This sprawl has led to further distraction for developers, making it a massive problem for building and collaboration.
Taylor Pechacek, Atlassian’s head of product for Compass, told SiliconANGLE in an interview that modern software development needs a new tool like this to help developers stay on track. With software teams larger than ever before, with more tools than ever, navigating sprawl has become a burden all its own.
“What we see is that modern software development is becoming increasingly decentralized and complex,” Pechacek said. “And developers say, where is all this information? How do I navigate it? I’ve got too many tools at my disposal. And they’re all really struggling under the weight of the complexity. And getting back to into the flow state and being creative is difficult.”
That’s the idea behind Compass, to provide a broad view of an entire company’s portfolio of components and their current health. It does this with its first capability which is a centralized component catalog that provides developers a way to understand their entire library of components, no matter where they come from, so nothing gets lost. Atlassian first introduced the software publicly in April 2022 in alpha mode, and since then it has been updating its performance and features for its general release today.
Keeping track of every element that goes into a codebase can be next to impossible when a project reaches a certain scale. A decade ago, this could be handled with a developer portal that a team would have to maintain, including documentation and the components within. Now that’s a task that would require its own full-time group. With Compass that’s done automatically, including information on critical component metadata, settings for custom fields, dependencies and other dynamic information such as feature flags and deployments.
“Rather than jumping into 30 tools, Compass gives you a point of reference to be able to collaborate around and use those tools effectively,” said Pechacek.
Each component also comes with a scorecard and additional metrics that can be used to measure the health of its connected services. With an additional dashboard, engineering and DevOps teams can quickly get a look at the operational health of deployments and development processes with both default and custom scorecards to keep themselves on track.
Numerous metrics can be tracked, including how many deployments have failed, the frequency of deployments, if a service has a repository, how often an organization deploys code, how long it takes to commit code to production, the percentage of deployments cause failures and more.
Teams can personalize their health metrics as well in a dashboard in order to help give them a head’s up across their entire organization or use them to drill down into places that might be causing them pain points. This way management across all levels can get a quicker idea of what might be causing their developers trouble and misery in their everyday work.
“Atlassian went on this journey ourselves,” said Pechacek. “As we moved to cloud, we started to decentralize that technology for our over 5,000 developers. They started to really struggle with finding information, tracking down dependencies, knowing who to contact and what even existed out there. There was some stuff running that, you know, you don’t really know the cost of or if something would break.”
Pechacek added that this just caused additional toil and developer satisfaction began to suffer and that the teams were unable to deliver. The result was that overall health of not just the software began to diminish but the developers themselves had a terrible experience. That’s why Atlassian chose to call Compass a “developer experience” platform, because it doesn’t just provide way to provide better collaboration but also increase developer happiness.
To make that experience even better, developers and engineering teams will be able to construct software templates in order to reduce the time spent on repetitive tasks. Using this service, engineering teams can integrate their preferred integration and deployment pipeline tasks and tools together configuration details from cloud infrastructure provisioning, instrumentation and other details into one policy that can run once as a setup.
Templates is a relatively new capability and will continue to get attention and updates now that the platform is in general availably, Pechacek said.
Atlassian also made Compass extensible, which means that it can connect across a company’s entire toolchain and link into numerous different apps so that developers don’t need to switch between them. Compass can pull data from popular tools including Amazon Web Services, GitHub, Slack, LaunchDarkly, CircleCI and Snyk.
Developers can also extend the platform to connect to almost any other service using its own open API and using Forge, Atlassian’s cloud app development platform.
Now that Compass is generally available, Pechacek said that the company intends to double down on its existing investments in collaboration capabilities with integrations with Atlassian tools, such as Jira, the issue and tracking system, and Confluence, the company’s web-based knowledge management system.
Images: Pixabay, Atlassian
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