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Appsody Stacks

Appsody provides pre-configured application stacks that enable rapid development of quality microservice-based applications. Stacks include a base container image and project templates, which provide the language runtimes, frameworks, and any additional libraries and tools that you need for local development. Stacks are an easy way to manage consistency and adopt best practices across many applications.


What makes up a stack?

Stack Image

Appsody uses a containerized environment during local development. The stack image defines this environment and specifies the stack behavior during the development lifecycle of the application.

Project templates

Project templates provide a starting point, typically a 'Hello World' application, for application development. Like other components within an Appsody stack, you can customize project templates and share them across teams.

Stack structure

Each Appsody stack is defined by a common set of source directories and files. The following example shows the structure for a stack called my-stack:

my-stack
├── README.md               # describes the contents of the stack and how it should be used
├── stack.yaml              # defines the different attributes of the stack and which template the stack should use by default
├── image/
|   ├── config/
|   |   └── app-deploy.yaml # configuration file for deploying an Appsody project using the Appsody Operator
|   ├── project/
|   |   ├── [files that provide the technology components of the stack]
|   |   └── Dockerfile      # defines the final image that will created by the appsody build command
│   ├── Dockerfile-stack    # defines the foundation stack image, and a set of environment variables for the local development cycle
|   └── LICENSE
└── templates/
    ├── my-template-1/
    |       └── [example files as a starter for the application, e.g. "hello world"]
    └── my-template-2/
            └── [example files as a starter for a more complex application]

The image directory contains files for the stack image. The image/Dockerfile-stack Dockerfile defines the exact steps for building the stack image. Dockerfile-stack builds the initial stack image for local development and the Dockerfile builds the final application image. They are independent of each other.

The templates directory contains one or more starter applications that are created for you when you initialize your projects. Every template is contained within its own directory, /templates/<template-name>.

Generated files

.appsody-config.yaml is not part of the source structure. It is generated as part of the stack building process and is placed in the user directory by the appsody init command. This file specifies the stack image that is used and can be overridden for testing purposes to point to a locally built stack.


Stack stability levels

Appsody stacks belong to one of three categories, depending on their stability level. The criteria for each category is detailed in the following sections:

Experimental

These stacks are not production-ready and are considered as proof of concept. They might be unstable, and subject to breaking changes. Experimental stacks must meet the following criteria:

Incubator

These stacks are not production-ready and require further development to satisfy the stable criteria. Incubator stacks must meet all the criteria set for experimental stacks and the following additional items:

  • Maintainers must remain active in terms of contributions and reviews
  • Support the appsody test and appsody deploy commands
  • Document the limitations of the stack in the README.md

Stable

These stacks are production-ready. Stable stacks must meet all the criteria set for experimental and incubator stacks, and the following additional items:

  • Support all Appsody CLI commands
  • Pass the appsody stack validate and integration tests, on all three operating systems that are supported by Appsody without errors. For example, the stack must not bind mount individual files as it is not supported on Windows
  • Specify the minimum Appsody, Docker, and Buildah versions required in the stack.yaml
  • Support the appsody build command with Buildah
  • Prevent creation of files on the local system that cannot be removed (i.e. files owned by root or other users)
  • Specify explicit versions for all required Docker images
  • Tag the stack with a major version (i.e. at least 1.0.0)
  • Follow Docker best practices, including:

    1. Minimise the size of production images 
    2. Use the official base images
    3. Images must not have any major security vulnerabilities
    4. Containers must be run by non-root users
  • Include a detailed README.md, documenting:

    1. A short description of the stack
    2. Any prerequisites or setup required before using the stack
    3. How to access any endpoints provided by the stack
    4. How users with existing projects can migrate to using the stack
    5. How users can include additional dependencies needed by their application

Official Appsody Repositories

Below are the URLs for official Appsody repository releases.

Repository URL
stable https://github.com/appsody/stacks/releases/latest/download/stable-index.yaml
incubator https://github.com/appsody/stacks/releases/latest/download/incubator-index.yaml
experimental https://github.com/appsody/stacks/releases/latest/download/experimental-index.yaml

By default, Appsody comes with the incubator and experimental repositories. Other repositories can be added by running the appsody repo add command.

Contributing to a stack

The following steps outline the process for contributing a new stack or changes to a stack:

  1. The Stack Contributor submits a pull request with changes to a stack. The pull request should follow commit guidelines detailing the stack changes. If the change improves the stack stability level, the pull request must also describe how the new criteria for that level is met (e.g. how Docker best practices have been implemented).

  2. The Stack Maintainer(s) (as listed in the stack.yaml) review the pull request, keeping in mind the stability criteria of the stack. If the Stack Maintainer(s) are satisfied that the stack changes follow the stability criteria, the pull request gets approved.

    Note: If the stack is new, the Stack Release Team reviews the pull request and decides if the stack satisfies the chosen stability criteria.

  3. The Stack Release Team merges and releases the new stack. When the stack is released:

    • A template archive is generated for each stack template
    • A docker image of the stack is pushed to Appsody’s DockerHub
    • The indexes for each repository are updated