‘Drone 2.0’: New owner updates harnessed CI platform with fresh UI, debug tools

Drone, now part of Harness, has added new capabilities to its self-service continuous integration (CI) platform including a redesigned user experience for developers, Pipeline Visualizer and a real-time debugger.

The move follows the acquisition of Drone.IO by Harness last year, and its repositioning as the firm’s open source product, officially known as Harness Continuous Integration (CI) Community Edition. The hope is that the updated developer experience and refreshed user interface in the new release brings it closer to that of Harness’ commercial continuous delivery (CD) platform, the firm said.

The changes are significant enough for Drone.IO Founder Brad Rydzewski to describe the latest release as “Drone 2.0”. The goal was to make the developer experience seamless for users who are using Drone for CI and Harness for CD, he added, with the dashboard screen updated to show an overview of build times and charts that make it easier to spot build failures and trends.

Drilling down into individual projects gives developers a new graph view from the Pipeline Visualizer that provides a visual representation of the execution pipeline that helps with the understanding of complex pipelines. Developers can switch between Drone’s traditional log mode and the new graph mode.

Another new feature is live CI pipeline debugging. The real-time debugger is accessed from any pipeline view, allowing a developer to put any pipeline in debug mode at the click of a button. This re-runs the failing pipeline but also opens a remote terminal session direct to the host server executing it, enabling debugging with access to all the necessary files.

“One of the biggest challenges with CI is when something works on your computer, but it doesn’t work on the CI server, and it can be a little challenging to debug,” Rydzewski explains.

The new release also gains a System Administration tab, which means that managers no longer need to add users and control access to pipelines via a command line or the API. This is set to be expanded in future with new tabs for role-based access control and governance, according to the firm.

Harness said it would continue to invest, innovate and support the open source community with additional tweaks to the platform planned for later this year.