Bazel Conference 2017

tl;dr: Bazel is an invaluable tool with some momentum. It is needed by more than just the largest tech companies in the world and you should use it.

Attendees

The most noticeable and consistent part of the conference was that all of the attendees seem to be dealing with the same problems(dependency management, non-deterministic outputs, slow builds) and see Bazel as the best solution. The attendees came from a diverse set of companies such as Dropbox, Uber, Spacex, Pinterest, Stripe and Cisco. Bazel’s largest user is Google as they plan to replace all of Blaze internally. It is also being used by major Google open source projects such as Tensorflow, Kubernetes, Angular and Istio.

Some Details

Python was repeatedly brought up as a sore spot in Bazel by multiple attendees. Remote caching and execution of builds was a hot topic and likely to become stable soon. Docker has problems being repeatable. Lots of open area in tying Kubernetes and deployments into Bazel.

A Python Test Rule

Migrations

Perhaps the greatest challenge shared by many of the user stories was the changing of habits. I did not hear anyone say the migration was a mistake. Every story stated that builds were faster and more correct after switching to Bazel. The common transition plan was running Bazel in parallel with existing systems until everything was migrated and working.

Takeaways

Bazel is an invaluable tool with some momentum. It is needed by more than just the largest tech companies in the world and you should use it.

Most attendees would agree the monorepo is the one true way.

Read more at: https://www.bazel.build/ and https://blog.bazel.build/.