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Coding in the Fast Lane with ibazel

The alternating sound of ctrl+s and ctrl+r followed by a deep sigh fill my days working on EngFlow's Build and Test UI. I mean, centering divs is already frustrating, but having to glance back and forth from one screen to another while refreshing the browser adds insult to injury. It doesn't help that being your average frontend dev I usually work with no less than a few thousand monitors. How else would I be able to look at the application, the code, and the ever present Flexbox layout cheatsheet at the same time?

Example of a minimal frontend dev's workstation

Example of a minimal frontend dev's workstation

Running CMake at scale

The main service we provide at EngFlow is Remote Execution (or RE for short). Remote Execution allows a build to run over a horizontally-scalable distributed system, thus speeding up highly parallelized builds. This parallelization is one of the features that make Bazel builds so scalable. Outside of Bazel, Buck2 and a few exotic build systems such as Chromium and AOSP, the adoption of this protocol is almost non-existent. Here at EngFlow we saw many C and C++ codebases successfully adopting RE, and decided to partner with tipi.build, experts in that field, to bring CMake support to EngFlow.

Bazel Testing Tips

One of Bazel’s key features is that tests are treated as the same as other build actions. Bazel provides a uniform command line interface for running tests no matter the underlying language or test framework. While there’s much to be said about writing test rules and frameworks that mesh well with Bazel, this post will focus on the experience of running tests as a developer with bazel test. Running tests is a core software engineering workflow, so it’s not surprising Bazel has many useful features for iterating locally with a test.

Goma is Gone — Put Everything Into Reclient!

On September 7th, Google officially announced the deprecation of the Goma remote execution platform used to accelerate Chromium builds. Chromium is migrating to Reclient, a more modern tool compatible with the Remote Execution API (RE-API) used by Bazel, Buck2, recc, and other tools.

We are writing to inform you that we plan to delete support for Goma in Chromium builds around the beginning of 2024. We will also stop maintaining the goma client and server.

If you use Goma to build a Chromium browser, this may seem like bad news — and it's true that it may cause you some disruption in the short term. However in the longer term, the benefits of switching to Reclient vastly outweigh the costs. This transition has been in the works for a long time, and the deprecation notice was only sent out after Reclient has been proven to work smoothly, with minimal client-side migration requirements.

That’s cool, but can your build system run Snake?

Once upon a time a young and innocent Antonio spent healthy chunks of his youth playing Snake on a Nokia 3310; chasing apples and dodging his own tail. Surprisingly, much later, he found himself chasing the world of Developer Experience (DevEx) and build engineering, with no alchemy to be found.

Bazel Community Day – Israel

EngFlow and Wix bring the Bazel community together in Tel Aviv

On February 23, 2023 EngFlow and Wix teamed up to organize the first Bazel Community Day in Israel. Wix hosted the event in its event space in the picturesque Tel Aviv Port, welcoming guests from the Google Munich Bazel team, as well as engineers from local and global companies.

Impressions from Bazel Community Day, Tel Aviv

Impressions from Bazel Community Day, Tel Aviv

EngFlow Customers & Friends Meetup

In April, Ulf and I, and a few of our EngFlow team members, traveled to San Francisco to visit and work with our customers. In the spirit of one of EngFlow's LEAP values (Loyalty -- making customers and employees better), we decided to host a workshop aimed at helping developers write better custom Bazel rules. With the help of our friends at Mux (and their high tech/high vibe office space), we were able to extend the audience to up to 40 engineers, and invited our customers and friends in the SF Bazel community. This is how the First Quarterly EngFlow Customers & Friends Meetup was born!