November 3, 2022

Steampunk Spotter: What's new in 1.1?

WORDS BY   The Spotter team

POSTED IN    Steampunk Spotter

We’re constantly improving Steampunk Spotter by adding new checks that enhance stability, reliability, and security of your Ansible Playbooks, and enriching the Spotter app with advanced reporting features. We’re excited to announce the release of version 1.1 of Spotter, which brings new checks for an easier Ansible upgrade process, new integration, and a new reporting feature in the Spotter app, among other improvements. Read on to learn what’s new in Spotter 1.1.

New checks for simplified Ansible Upgrades

Spotter is highly useful when you’re upgrading your Ansible environment. You can use it to check if your playbooks are compatible with the latest Ansible version, see the problems they might cause, and get advice on what to do to avoid downtime and ease your migrations between versions.

Among others, Spotter 1.1 brings two new checks that will further ease upgrades between old and new Ansible versions (for example even from Ansible 2.4 to Ansible 2.14):

  • Check for missing entries in requirements.yml: Checks if the requirements. yml file is missing an Ansible Collection or if there is no requirements.yml file at all and it needs to be generated.
  • Check for changes in module parameter’s default values: Warns if the default value of a parameter in the module might have changed with the Ansible or collection version change.

Rewrite function for Ansible Collection requirements

Spotter CLI tool already includes rewrite function for FQCN, meaning you are able to quickly and automatically apply fixes to your playbooks by running the optional –rewrite argument, which allows you to automatically rewrite your Ansible content with the suggested changes after scanning. In 1.1 version, this feature is extended to checking for Ansible Collection requirements. The CLI can fix or generate the requirements.yml file to ensure that the required versions of the collections used in your Ansible project get installed.

Using Spotter continuously, for example as part of your CI/CD pipeline, will ensure the required collections are always up to date.

Complete Ansible module documentation

Remember how you have to search for module documentation whenever something goes wrong? Sometimes you even have to open module source code to read through the documentation.

Spotter 1.1 introduces a quick reference of the entire Ansible Galaxy. Whenever Spotter CLI spots something in your playbooks, it will point you to the module documentation of the correct collection version.

This way you can use the information from the documentation to solve the issues in Ansible modules faster.

Most common mistakes feature

Spotter 1.0 introduced the Spotter app, enabling scanning of public Git repositories and offering insights into the history of your scans. As we’re constantly working on growing the Spotter app with extended review and reporting capabilities, we’re happy to announce that we’ve added the “Most common mistakes” feature to the dashboard. Now you can get useful insight on what most often leads to failed execution of your playbooks, so you can work on avoiding making the same mistakes. And this is just the first among many reporting functions we’ll add down the road.

GitLab integration

As we know everyone has their own favorite way of developing playbooks, we’re working on providing the chance to use Spotter with your favorite CI/CD systems to simplify integrations with your existing development pipelines. In addition to GitHub Actions, Spotter 1.1 now also supports GitLab integration, which means you can use Spotter CLI tool directly in the CI/CD pipeline. In this case, the CLI will output scan results compatible with GitLab’s unit test report. This means that GitLab CI/CD will display check results as green check marks for successful checks and red crosses for unsuccessful checks. Next stop? Visual Studio Code integration, among others, so stay tuned for future releases.

We’re already working on new checks and features, so keep up with upcoming releases on Twitter or LinkedIn or by signing up for our newsletter. And of course, try out the new Spotter features!