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Introduction to Dashboards


The Dashboards feature was previously called Pipelines.

Dashboards is an exciting feature in Distelli that allows you to graphically visualize your entire software release workflow.

Example Dashboard

You can visualize your deployment workflow from applications on the left to the associated environment stages on the right.

It is very easy to promote an application release from the application or from one stage to the next in a stack.

You can rollback to a previous release at anywhere along the flow.

Your First Dashboard

Building a dashboard is easy. But before you can create a dashboard you must first have at least one application with at least two environments in Distelli.

  1. Click the Dashboard link at the top of the Distelli WebUI.
  2. In the Dashboard Overview page, click the New Dashboard button.
  3. New Dashboard Dialog
  4. Give your dashboard a Dashboard Name.
  5. Click the Create Dashboard button.
  6. Next you will find yourself in the dashboard page for your newly create dashboard. You will also see a prompt for you to create the first column for applications on the left. New Dashboard
  7. Click the Create column for Applications link.
  8. The default name for this first column is Applications. You can change it now or edit it later. For this document I will refer to it as the Application Column.

  9. Click the Save button.

You can close the helpful dialog box with the X

In the next steps you will be adding columns for deployment stages. These stages represent your deployment process during your software development lifecycle.

Here is an example when code is checked in it is automatically built and on successful build is automatically deployed to our "beta" stage. This means the deploy can be quickly validated in beta and, as necessary, promote the release to gamma and/or production.

Example Pipeline

Dashboard Deployment Stages

To continue creating the dashboard you will now add deployment stage columns. For this example exercise let’s add 3 columns for the following stages:

  • Test
  • Staging
  • Production
  1. To begin, click the New column for Stage link. New Stage
  2. Name the column Test.
  3. Click Save to save the column.
  4. Create 2 more columns for Staging and Production.

All Stages

Dashboards Apps and Envs

  1. In the Applications column click the Add App link.
  2. From the Add Application list chose one of your applications that has at least 2 or more environments.
  3. Click the Add button.
  4. Take a moment to look at the information shown on this application card.

    Application Card

    The application card provides links to:

    • The application.
    • The repository commit information page.
    • The build logs.
    • The most recent release.
    • Rebuild the latest code.
    • Delete this application card.

    Let's add the first environment to the Test stage column.

  5. Click the Add Env link in the Test stage column.
  6. In the dialog drop down, select the application from step 2 above.
  7. Now select an application environment that you would consider a Test environment.
  8. Click the Add button.

I chose my -beta environment.

Env Card

The environment card provides useful information, including:

  • How many servers are in the environment.
  • What release is currently active in the environment.
  • When the release was deployed to the environment.
The environment card also provides links to:
  • The environment.
  • A dialog that allows you to quickly:
    • Add servers.
    • Remove servers.
    • Set Environment Variables.
  • Deployment details.
  • Release details.
  • Deploy, Restart, Terminate, or Promote the release.
  • Delete the environment card.

Connecting Apps and Envs

Next you will connect the application to the environment to visually denote and allow promotions of releases from the application to the environment stage.

  1. Hover your mouse over the black dot (connector) on the right of the Applications card.
  2. Click and hold while dragging the dot (connector) to the right to the corresponding dot (connector) on the left of the environment in the Test stage column.
  3. Notice the environment cards left bar turns from purple to green. This identifies a qualified connection.

  4. Let go of your mouse button when you have the appropriate line connecting the two cards.

Great. You have created your first line connecting an application to an environment in the Test stage.

Connecting an Application to an Environment

If this application has at least one release, you will see a new command in the Application card. Let’s look at the application card in more details.

Application Card

App Card

Commands you can perform include:

  • Promoting the current release to the connected environment(s).
  • Kicking off a build of the current repository branch commit.

Deleting an application card does not delete the application.

Environment Card

Environment Card

Deleting an environment card does not delete the environment.

Building out the Dashboard

  1. To continue, add an environment to the Production stage column.
  2. Adding an Environment to Production
  3. In the Staging column click the Add Pass Through link.
  4. Now connect the environment in the Test column to the Staging column pass through.
  5. Connect to Pass Through Column
  6. And finally, connect the Staging pass through to the Production column.
  7. Fully Built Dashboard

You can now promote a release from the Test column environment through to the Production column environment.

Also note it is easy to rearrange cards from one column to another. You can not move applications to a stage column nor can you move environments to the application column.

Moving Environment Cards

The above is a simple design to illustrate the features of dashboards.

Dashboard Strategies

Dashboards allow you to visualize your deployment workflow and strategies.

Full example of Distelli Dashboards

Some information you can quickly ascertain.

You can see in the Beta stage at the bottom environment hugo-docs-beta that release v93 is currently successfully deployed. Follow the pipeline forward through the pass through and on to the final environment in the Prod stage hugo-docs-prod and release v89 is currently deployed.

Example of Distelli's Documentation site in Dashboards

Also interesting to note. For all three applications, the production stage environments each have 3 servers. All three applications coexist and run on the same servers.

Example of multiple applications with multiple environments running on the same server