How-tos

Introducing custom tool integration for Bluemix toolchains

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As the development lead for Bluemix toolchain templates, I’m on the front lines working with our technical sales and developer advocate teams regularly. Their goal is to develop new tool combinations to illustrate various DevOps practices. My goal is to make sure that the toolchain support we offer will meet those needs. In this series of posts my team and I will share some tips and tricks we use when working with toolchains.

Toolchains come with out-of-the-box support for a number of common third-party tools like GitHub and Slack. They also support more specialized Bluemix tools, like the Delivery Pipeline, that help deploy your applications. The list of tools that toolchains support is growing steadily. However, when we work directly with customers and their environments, we often find new tools to integrate that are not in the toolchain catalog.

To integrate a new tool, we can take the technical path and use the toolchain API to implement and contribute a tool broker, but there is a simpler option that requires no coding or special hosting. If you only need to represent your tool visually on a toolchain and your initial tool integration requirements are simple, using the custom tool integration is your best bet. This option is listed in the toolchain catalog as a special catch-all integration called “Other Tool”.

I’ll demonstrate the “Other Tool” option to add one of my favorite tools, OpenWhisk, to a toolchain.

Adding a custom tool integration

To get started, go to Bluemix DevOps. If this is your first visit, I recommend that you take a quick look at the Toolchain Getting Started documentation.

First let’s build an empty toolchain to try the “Other Tool” option.

  1. From the DevOps Toolchains page click [+]
  2. Select the “Build your own toolchain” template.
  3. On the next screen, give your toolchain a clever name like “My OpenWhisk Toolchain” and click Create.
  4. After your toolchain is created, add your custom tool by clicking [+] and select Other Tool.

Fill out the form like the example in the image or enter details for your custom tool. When you finish, click Create Integration.

The result is a new tool card that represents a custom integration on your toolchain.

This example showed the simplest type of tool integration and is primarily used to provide basic visual cues that a tool is present in a toolchain. For this example, I left the Additional properties field blank. This field allows free-form text and can be used to create powerful yet simple tool integrations — the topic of my next post.

For more information please refer to the Bluemix toolchain custom tool documentation.

Open Toolchain Setup Lead / Eclipse Orion Lead

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