Concourse Pipeline UI Explained
The Concourse UI is continuously growing and improving, and the goal of this article is to surface the latest design elements of the Concourse UI. Using our production pipeline, it will become easier to connect the mapping of an element to its meaning and purpose.
The primary function of the pipeline web view is to show the flow of versioned resources through the connected jobs that make up a Concourse pipeline.
What is the Concourse Pipeline View composed of?
1. Resources and their corresponding state
2. Jobs and their corresponding state
3. Running state: Displayed as pulsating rings that appear yellow (running) and red (failed)
4. Groups: users can show/hide groups of jobs and resources configured in the manifest to create focused views of their pipeline
5. Legend: Mapping of colour to status of jobs and resources
- Fly CLI download for Linux, OS and Windows
- Concourse Version number
Actions Users can take on a pipeline
When users interact with this view they can take action to:
- Navigate to a Resource page
- Navigate to a Build page
- Hover to trace thread of a resource in the pipeline path
- Toggle view of groups
- Zoom, pan, and fit view (in Chrome you can use keyboard shortcut
- Download the fly CLI for MacOS, Windows, Linux
1. Resources: Flow of artifacts through the pipeline
Analyzing the Concourse production pipeline, everything starts off with the
concourse GitHub resource. In our
concourse resource points to the main
concourse/concourse GitHub repository.
As Concourse is able to reach GitHub and is in a healthy state, the resource is rendered as a black box with white text.
Zooming in on the beginning of the pipeline, we see that the
concourse resource is connected to the
go-concourse jobs by a solid line. This means that when a new version of the
concourse resource is detected (a new commit into the repo), the subsequent jobs are automatically triggered to run the tasks of the job in the worker container Concourse spins up.
Resources reference external systems such as Git repos, S3 buckets, docker-images, slack notifications, and timed resources to name a few. These are rendered in the UI as a black box with white or grey text. The difference between grey text and white text is that white text is the first instance of the resource in the pipeline and is typically where a new version will appear. Subsequent references to that resource will be grey text; it is now a subset of something that appeared before it in the pipeline.
In our example, the
concourse resource that is inputted to those jobs, is repeated to indicate that it is being transferred to the next job (
rc), and thus has grey text.
Resource errors are indicated in the interface by the resource box turning amber with white text. This means there is some thing wrong at the resource level and it’s time to do some investigation as to why.
Paused resources are rendered in the UI as a blue background to the resource box.
Jobs are the execution phase of the pipeline and are composed of tasks and resource actions (get, put) defined in the build plan. The pipeline view today is Job Centric, allowing the app developer to monitor their code as it progresses through various jobs.
Connecting Jobs & Resources
In Concourse, versioned resources connect to jobs through the input and output parameters. In our pipeline view, we can visually represent this as lines connecting jobs with resources in-between. A user can trace the path of a resource by hovering over one of these lines; exposing the full path of a resource across jobs.
Triggering vs non-triggering
Not all jobs are triggered automatically by incoming resources. This behaviour is typically specified in the pipeline yml as
trigger: true. This is represented as a solid line between jobs. When a job is
trigger:false, this relationship is represented by a dotted line between jobs.
3. Running State:
A yellow halo pulsating out from the job box indicates that the job is in a running state. This gives the user an at a glance view at what jobs are running in real time. A job could be kicked off as a automatic trigger, or a manually triggered job.
4. Navigation and Groups:
The Concourse propellor in the top navigation lets a user navigate to the dashboard via the concourse logo.
Groups: Jobs can be grouped in the pipeline yml for better visibility. In the pipeline view, multiple groups can be selected by
shift selecting the group names.
We have found that users want a visual reminder of what the various job states and visual indicators mean in the pipeline UI. The colours of the job boxes indicate to the user their state.
Green indicates that the job has succeed
Red indicates that the job has failed
Orange indicates that the job or resource has failed. We use this convention so that users will learn to trust their job failures (red).
Blue indicates that the job or resource is paused. This indicates to the user that a job or resource has intentionally been paused, causing a disruption to the normal build cycle in their pipelines
Brown indicates that a user has cancelled a job.
Grey indicates that a job is pending.
The yellow halo surrounds a job to indicate that the job is running.
Red halo indicates that the job was running and has failed. In order to help with colour blindness we also added a handy fail icon; represented by a warning triangle at the top of the job column.
Different pipelines for different teams
No two pipelines are rendered the same in Concourse. The visualization of the pipeline is displaying how a team does CI and their unique path to production.