Sunday, May 13, 2018

The end of Bake

Summary: I no longer develop Bake, my continuous integration tool.

In 2014 I started a new project of a continuous integration system, named Bake. The selling point of Bake was that it provided always-correct master development, but didn't require running all tests on all patches, allowing the development to scale much faster than the test resources. Over time I refined the model and figured out exactly how to optimise throughput. The experiments were promising, but I'm no longer working on Bake, because:

  • I wrote Bake with an eye to a particular set of challenges for my employer. I then changed jobs, and the challenges have changed. I don't have a strong need for Bake, and I don't think a project like Bake can be successful without dogfooding.
  • I have plenty of other projects that are fighting for my attention. While I think Bake is cool, it's certainly at the early stages, I think it needs a lot of work to have any meaningful impact.
  • Bake has a clever algorithm (I <3 algorithms!), and now needs a ton of evangalism, polish and web UI work (I was a webdev in a previous life, but it's not something I want to spend my spare time on).
  • The problem space that Bake targets is a bit weird. Open-source projects with a small contributor base (less than 5 people full time) are well served by Travis/Appveyor etc, which I happily use for all my open-source projects. Big tech companies (e.g. Google and Facebook) can aford to throw hardware at the problem and have custom solutions. That leaves Bake with the niche of 5-500 commerical programmer teams, which isn't such a natural fit for open-source software.

What I didn't find is any design flaw in the approach. I still think the ideas behind Bake are valuable, so would love to see them go somewhere, but leave it to others. The code remains on GitHub with a stack.yaml and shell.nix that should (in theory) let people play with it indefinitely, but I won't be accepting any patches - other than to point at forks.

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ria said...
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