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Product Release #2: the Layerfile Library by webapp.io

Access level: general availability

Screenshot of the Layerfile library landing page

The Layerfile library allows users to create one base layerfile in the cloud and use it across multiple repositories. This is a project led by Colin Chartier, webapp.io's Co-Founder and CEO. Below is a demo video of how it works from Colin.

Layerfile library video tutorial

Then vs. Now: What's Changed?

Before, our users were able to make base layerfiles, but they would need one for every repository, even if the base layerfiles were identical. This means that if an organization had multiple repositories with a common set of dependencies that would be installed for all of the organization’s projects, users would have to copy and paste the configuration for all of the files. This problem only gets worse as configurations get larger.

Now, our users can group repetitive steps that are common across different projects, eliminating the need for them to be written out each time that they are needed. Users can create one layerfile in the cloud and use the same one for each relevant  repository. This is perfect for users with multiple repositories.

The FROM Instruction

The FROM instruction can now inherit Layerfile instructions stored in a shared central repository. If using FROM, it must be the first directive in the Layerfile. To see an example of the FROM instruction in action and how the amount of text in the file below went from the image on the left to the right, check out Colin’s explanation in the video tutorial linked above.

When using the FROM instruction, repetition is mitigated in the sample configuration files

Top Benefits of the Layerfile Library

  1. Polyrepository infrastructure support: There are a number of benefits to having a polyrepository infrastructure (allowing independent access control for frontend and backend devs, needing less tooling, not rerunning the whole stack when just the frontend/backend are changed), and having a Layerfile library supports this type of infrastructure.
  2. Convenience: Now, users do not have to create an identical base layerfile for multiple repositories. They can save the time that they would have otherwise spent copying the contents of their base file into each repository, and spend that time working on new features instead.

For a more in-depth explanation of the process of developing the Layerfile library and how it works, check out Colin's article: Building a "Docker Hub" for CI base images.

Ready to get started? Sing up for free here and give our new Layerfile library a try!