»Automating Execution of Waypoint

Your team may want to automate the execution of Waypoint as your build and deployment tool, based on triggers such as a commit to a VCS provider, a chat-based workflow, or on-demand in a specific environment.

This section documents the currently recommended best practices when running Waypoint in that way, and in some cases documents examples for popular systems or providers where you may run Waypoint.

As a general rule, it is perfectly fine to simply run waypoint commands in an environment that is not on a developer workstation. For example, if you currently have a deployment tool or script that runs on a remote machine based on a trigger, you could, in place of that, run Waypoint, including by invoking it in the existing script or system to gradually adopt it.

»Environment Variables

In a remote execution environment, as with a local workstation, the Waypoint binary will need access to the Waypoint server. Locally, it is recommended that developers create contexts to store information about the remote Waypoint server. In a remote environment, this may make less sense given the environments are often ephemeral. In this scenario, we recommend using environment variables to configure the server.

Below is a list of commonly used environment variables for remote execution. These variables configure the Waypoint CLI for communication with the Waypoint server.

For a complete list of variables for configuring the client, see todo.

»Init

The waypoint init command is still required in remote environments, and must be run in the environment ahead of other Waypoint commands such as up. This command can be run multiple times safely.

In a scenario where you are running build, deploy, and release in discrete steps, it may make sense to run init once followed by those commands, or if each of the commands are run in ephemeral or potentially ephemeral environments, to ensure init is called each time. A helpful side-effect of init is that it will validate the Waypoint configuration, connection to the server, and will ensure that everything is set-up to properly execute the operation. Any remote system executing this command should make the output easily accessible to users upon failure.

»Output Formatting

If Waypoint detects that the terminal does not support interactivity it will output a simpler "non-interactive" output mode. This output is easier to consume in a CI/CD systems logging views, or through log archiving systems. This is automatic and does not need to be explicitly configured, but can be forced by setting the environment variable WAYPOINT_PLAIN to 1.

»Workspaces

When automating Waypoint, it is important to keep in mind that all commands will use the default workspace unless otherwise specified.

In a scenario where there are multiple developers triggering remote execution of Waypoint, it may be important to consider the effect this could have while all working out of the default workspace.

For example, if integrating with a VCS system such as GitHub, an additional branch may have a new feature that you would not want released in the default workspace, but that same developer will want to validate their work in a deployment, and possibly a released deployment, depending on the platform.

In this scenario, it is best to use additional workspaces. These can be configured, as they are locally, at invocation time from the CLI. A common pattern for this might be to utilize a git branch in a name of a workspace.

For example:

$ waypoint up -workspace $(git symbolic-ref HEAD)

This would run a build in a new workspace (eg. refs/heads/f-new-feature) and deploy and release against resources not used in the default workspace.

»Labels

In order to determine the source of a build or other operation, it can be very useful to utilize labels. Often, these environments might provide labels that can be useful to annotate an operation with.

Labels can be specified as arguments to the main operation commands.

For example:

$ waypoint deploy -label git_sha=$GITHUB_SHA -label build_id=$BUILD_ID -label build_hostname=$(hostname)

»Locking

Waypoint locks operations based on a tuple of (project, app, workspace). If multiple operations are created (eg. waypoint build) they will automatically queue.