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API Management / CI/CD / DevOps

CircleCI Turns APIs into Push ‘Webhooks’ for Smarter CI/CD

CircleCI is extending its CI/CD tools to offer a pull  API experience — instead of the traditional pull — for DevOps teams with its webhooks tool.
Sep 17th, 2021 3:00am by
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CircleCI is extending its CI/CD tools to offer a pull  API experience — instead of the traditional pull — for DevOps teams with its webhooks tool.

With webhooks, an API sends pre-requested data to an endpoint with additional information about what further action to take if needed. It is possible to use webhooks to create customized notification systems to alert when a job is completed, or to ping incident response tools to alert of incidents to help improve workflow and response, Tom Trahan, vice president of business development at CircleCI, described.

It is possible to rely on webhooks to “visualize and analyze job and workflow events when they occur, or inform incident management tools of pipeline updates,” Trahan told The New Stack. For example, a developer can connect CircleCI with tools such as Airtable to aggregate data on completed workflows or jobs. “With webhooks, customers are able to create even more flexibility within their software development pipelines,” he said.

An example of a webhook payload.

In a webhook payload that contains information on the workflow that has been completed, the workflow’s name, status, timings and the associated project, pipeline, commit and the trigger that began the pipeline execution are communicated.

With CircleCI partner Sumo Logic, a cloud monitoring provider, webhooks collects events from CircleCI including workflow and job completed status. This capability has allowed Sumo Logic teams to better track the performance and health of continuous integration and deployment pipelines, Trahan said.

The idea is to also help offer DevOps teams gain better visibility into changes made to applications to ultimately improve CI/CD and operations once software is deployed.

“What you ultimately want is an end-to-end process that allows for the fastest possible flow of information about a new value, combined with the highest possible confidence that that new value is not going to have unintended effects,” Trahan said. “And so when we look at ideas for what our customers want to do with pipelines, we look at ways to connect with the downstream world that the operations folks live in, in terms of monitoring and everything else they need.”

To that end, the creation of webhooks exemplifies CircleCI’s ambition to further extend its CI/CD tools to support DevOps teams, Trahan said. Webhooks thus reflect the type of support CircleCI provides and will continue to provide with new tool and platform releases in the future.

“It’s about accommodating [DevOps teams] that consist of multiple parties with multiple different systems, all being coordinated together in a complex environment, and you need to be able to create that connection, integration and orchestration — frankly —  to make sure you can manage it all effectively as it migrates through the entire value chain,”  Trahan said. “With webhooks, we want to make it as  easy as possible for the end user to integrate webhooks with any of their systems, using Datadog, Sumo or maybe their own custom-built dashboard observability systems internally and to use webhooks and APIs to get everything that they need to integrate with their systems.”

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