We are pleased to announce that Amazon CodeCatalyst is now generally available. CodeCatalyst is a unified software development service that brings together everything teams need to get started planning, coding, building, testing, and deploying applications on AWS. CodeCatalyst was designed to make it easier for developers to spend more time developing application features and less time setting up project tools, creating and managing continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, provisioning and configuring various development and deployment environments, and onboarding project collaborators. You can learn more and get started building in minutes on the AWS Free Tier at the CodeCatalyst website.
Launched in preview at AWS re:Invent in December 2022, CodeCatalyst provides an easy way for professional developers to build and deploy applications on AWS. We built CodeCatalyst based on feedback we received from customers looking for a more streamlined way to build using DevOps best practices. They want a complete software development service that lets them start new projects more quickly and gives them confidence that it will continue delivering a great long term experience throughout their application’s lifecycle.
Do more of what you love, and less of what you don’t
Starting a new project is an exciting time of imagining the possibilities: what can you build and how can you enable your end users to do something that wasn’t possible before? However, the joy of creating something new can also come with anxiety about all of the decisions to be made about tooling and integrations. Once your project is in production, managing tools and wrangling project collaborators can take your focus away from being creative and doing your best work. If you are spending too much time keeping brittle pipelines running and your teammates are constantly struggling with tooling, the day to day experience of building new features can start to feel less than joyful.
That is where CodeCatalyst comes in. It isn’t just about developer productivity – it is about helping developers and teams spend more time using the tools they are most comfortable with. Teams deliver better, more impactful outcomes to customers when they have more freedom to focus on their highest-value work and have to concern themselves less with activities that feel like roadblocks. Everything we do stems from that premise, and today’s launch marks a major milestone in helping to enable developers to have a better DevOps experience on AWS.
How CodeCatalyst delivers a great experience
There are four foundational elements of CodeCatalyst that are designed to help minimize distraction and maximize joy in the software development process: blueprints for quick project creation, actions-based CI/CD automation for managing day-to-day software lifecycle tasks, remote Dev Environments for a consistent build experience, and project and issue management for a more streamlined team collaboration.
Blueprints get you started quickly. CodeCatalyst blueprints set up an application code repository (complete with a working sample app), define cloud infrastructure, and run pre-configured CI/CD workflows for your project. Blueprints bring together the elements that are necessary both to begin a new project and deploy it into production. Blueprints can help to significantly reduce the time it takes to set up a new project. They are built by AWS for many use cases, and you can configure them with the programming languages and frameworks that you need both for your application and the underlying infrastructure-as-code. When it comes to incorporating existing tools like Jira or GitHub, CodeCatalyst has extensions that you can use to integrate them into your projects from the beginning without a lot of extra effort. Learn more about blueprints.
“CodeCatalyst helps us spend more time refining our customers’ build, test, and deploy workflows instead of implementing the underlying toolchains,” said Sean Bratcher, CEO of Buildstr. “The tight integration with AWS CDK means that definitions for infrastructure, environments, and configs live alongside the applications themselves as first-class code. This helps reduce friction when integrating with customers’ broader deployment approach.”
Actions-based CI/CD workflows take the pain out of pipeline management. CI/CD workflows in CodeCatalyst run on flexible, managed infrastructure. When you create a project with a blueprint, it comes with a complete CI/CD pipeline composed of actions from the included actions library. You can modify these pipelines with an action from the library or you can use any GitHub Action directly in the project to edit existing pipelines or build new ones from scratch. CodeCatalyst makes composing these actions into pipelines easier: you can switch back and forth between a text-based editor for declaring which actions you want to use through YAML and a visual drag-and-drop pipeline editor. Updating CI/CD workflows with new capabilities is a matter of incorporating new actions. Having CodeCatalyst create pipelines for you, based on your intent, means that you get the benefits of CI/CD automation without the ongoing pain of maintaining disparate tools.
“We needed a streamlined way within AWS to rapidly iterate development of our Reading Partners Connects e-learning platform while maintaining the highest possible quality standards,” said Yaseer Khanani, Senior Product Manager at Reading Partners. “CodeCatalyst’s built-in CI/CD workflows make it easy to efficiently deploy code and conduct testing across a distributed team.”
Automated dev environments make consistency achievable A big friction point for developers collaborating on a software project is getting everyone on the same set of dependencies and settings in their local machines, and ensuring that all other environments from test to staging to production are also consistent. To help address this, CodeCatalyst has Dev Environments that are hosted in the cloud. Dev Environments are defined using the devfile standard, ensuring that everyone working on a project gets a consistent and repeatable experience. Dev Environments connect to popular IDEs like AWS Cloud9, VS Code, and multiple JetBrains IDEs, giving you a local IDE feel while running in the cloud.
“Working closely with customers in the software developer education space, we value the reproducible and pre-configured environments Amazon CodeCatalyst provides for improving learning outcomes for new developers. CodeCatalyst allows you to personalize student experiences while providing facilitators with control over the entire experience.” said Tia Dubuisson, President of Belle Fleur Technologies.
Issue management and simplified team onboarding streamline collaboration. CodeCatalyst is designed to help provide the benefits of building in a unified software development service by making it easier to onboard and collaborate with teammates. It starts with the process of inviting new collaborators: you can invite people to work together on your project with their email address, bypassing the need for everyone to have an individual AWS account. Once they have access, collaborators can see the history and context of the project and can start contributing by creating a Dev Environment.
CodeCatalyst also has built-in issue management that is tied to your code repo, so that you can assign tasks such as code reviews and pull requests to teammates and help track progress using agile methodologies right in the service. As with the rest of CodeCatalyst, collaboration comes without the distraction of managing separate services with separate logins and disparate commercial agreements. Once you give a new teammate access, they can quickly start contributing.
New to CodeCatalyst since the Preview launch
Along with the announcement of general availability, we are excited to share a few new CodeCatalyst features. First, you can now create a new project from an existing GitHub repository. In addition, CodeCatalyst Dev Environments now support GitHub repositories allowing you to work on code stored in GitHub.
Second, CodeCatalyst Dev Environments now support Amazon CodeWhisperer. CodeWhisperer is an artificial intelligence (AI) coding companion that generates real-time code suggestions in your integrated development environment (IDE) to help you more quickly build software. CodeWhisperer is currently supported in CodeCatalyst Dev Environments using AWS Cloud 9 or Visual Studio Code.
Third, Amazon CodeCatalyst recently added support to run workflow actions using on-demand or pre-provisioned compute powered by AWS Graviton processors. AWS Graviton Processors are designed by AWS to deliver the best price performance for your cloud workloads running in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). Customers can use workflow actions running on AWS Graviton processors to build applications that target Arm architecture, create multi-architecture containers, and modernize legacy applications to help customers reduce costs.
Finally, the library of CodeCatalyst blueprints is continuously growing. The CodeCatalyst preview release included blueprints for common workloads like single-page web applications, serverless applications, and many others. In addition, we have recently added blueprints for Static Websites with Hugo and Jekyll, as well as Intelligent Document Processing workflows.
Learn more about CodeCatalyst at Developer Innovation Day
Next Wednesday, April 26th, we are hosting Developer Innovation Day, a free 7-hour virtual event that is all about helping developers and teams learn to be productive, and collaborate, from discovery to delivery to running software and building applications. Developers can discover how the breadth and depth of AWS tools and the right practices can unlock your team’s ability to find success and take opportunities from ideas to impact.
CodeCatalyst plays a big part in Developer Innovation Day, with five sessions designed to help you see real examples of how you can spend more time doing the work you love best! Get an overview of the service, see how to deploy a working static website in minutes, collaborating effectively with teammates, and more.
Ready to try CodeCatalyst? You can get started on the AWS Free Tier today and quickly deploy a blueprint with working sample code. If you would like to learn more, you can read through a collection of DevOps blogs about CodeCatalyst or read the documentation. We can’t wait to see how you innovate with CodeCatalyst!