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Cloud Native Buildpacks reach the beta stage

Cloud Native Buildpacks, an open source technology inspired by Heroku and Cloud Foundry buildpacks and intended to unify the buildpack ecosystem, has moved to a public beta release stage. The Cloud Native Buildpacks project was begun by Heroku and Pivotal and later joined the Cloud Native Sandbox under the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.   

Buildpacks provide a higher level of abstraction for building container images than a Dockerfile, Docker’s native method. Cloud Native Buildpacks were designed to provide a platform-to-buildpack API contract that takes source code and outputs Docker images to run on cloud platforms supporting OCI (Open Container Initiative) images. Cloud Native Buildpacks take advantage of standard container capabilities such as cross-repository blob mounting and image layer rebasing on Docker v2 API registries.

Featured as part of the beta is a pre-release of the pack command-line tool. Developers can use pack locally to run buildpacks, turning source code into executable Docker images. Buildpack authors, meanwhile, can use pack to test buildpacks and get them ready for production use. Capabilities of the beta version of pack include:

  • An improved user interface. CLI commands, arguments, and output have been adjusted to provide the most-meaningful output.
  • Core concepts such as stack have been improved. A user who runs pack to execute buildpacks against source code no longer has to update, add, or remove stacks. Builder images contain metadata to let pack manage this.

The Cloud Native Buildpacks project is part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation Sandbox, for early-stage projects. The effort was started about a year ago as a collaboration between Pivotal and Heroku. The project team wants feedback on pack, which can be provided on Slack or the project mailing list

You can download pack from GitHub. Developers can then use the pack build command on their own application or a Java sample app. Developers using MacOS with Homebrew can install pack with two commands:

$ brew tap buildpack/tap
$ brew install pack

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