Whiskers and buildout.sendpickedversions

Last year I participated in a deployment knowledge sharing session and I started implementing changes at my company pretty soon after. The result is that we are using Puppet for some parts of our server configuration. We also added Munin to our monitoring toolset (and I used Puppet to deploy Munin and manage its configuration). But an important piece that was still missing in our setup was an overview of which packages we use in the buildouts of our clients and more specifically which version each client uses.

Apparently I was not the only one that wanted to have such an overview: Jukka Ojaniemi created Whiskers (PyPI, GitHub) and released version 0.1 in December 2011. Whiskers is a Pyramid application and it is intended to be used in combination with the buildout extension buildout.sendpickedversions (PyPI, GitHub).

Setting up Whiskers is very simple (see the Whiskers README for details) and since the data is stored in an SQLite database there is little infrastructure needed. The buildout side is even less work, since you only have to add the following:

extensions += buildout.sendpickedversions
buildoutname = <buildout-name>
whiskers-url = <whisker-server-url>/buildouts/add

And the result after modifying several buildout configurations is a nice overview of which packages (and versions) are used by each buildout.

Buildout details

But you can also view a package and see which versions are used in which buildouts.

Package details

For the Edition1 Whiskers server, I wanted to change the CSS to make the header and footer match our company colors and change the used font. Perhaps Pyramid provides a solution to override static files included in a package, but I chose to copy the whiskers.css file to another directory, modify it and have Apache serve my file.

Note that currently Whiskers has some rough edges. For instance: not all packages are registered properly. I am using a checkout of my fork for now until there is a new release where this is fixed (yes, I issued a pull request).

The package view (which was shown in the second screenshot), currently does not sort the versions and does not hide versions that are not used by any buildout. I personally don’t like that so I issued another pull request in the hope it will be included in a next release.

Although Whiskers may not be perfect yet, I quite like it and am happy that I finally took the time to set things up.

Update (2012-04-28)
Both issues were solved in version 0.2. Which means I can recommend Whiskers even more. :)