Google LLC today released Jib, a new open-source tool that aims to make software containers and the Java programming language work more seamlessly together.
The two technologies are both mainstays of application development in the enterprise. Java has been used to write business software for decades and remains ubiquitous to this day. Software containers are a popular means of building portable applications that work across different kinds of infrastructure.
Google has created Jib to take the hassle out of packaging Java code into containers. This task is a tedious, multistage process when performed the traditional way. A developer has to install and run the Docker container engine, write a set of instructions known as a Dockerfile to define how an application should be built and then push the finished container image to a repository for safekeeping.
Jib consolidates the process into a single step. According to Google, the tool doesn’t require users to install Docker and can figure out how to build an application without needing any specially crafted instructions. Instead of a Dockerfile, the software analyzes project data from the user’s development environment.
According to Google, Jib also uses the collected information to organize software components into “layers.” When a developer updates their application, the tool only rebuilds the relevant layer instead of the entire code base to reduce build times.
“Jib takes advantage of image layering and registry caching to achieve fast, incremental builds,” explained Google engineers Appu Goundan and Qingyang Chen. “It reads your build config, organizes your application into distinct layers (dependencies, resources, classes) and only rebuilds and pushes the layers that have changed. When iterating quickly on a project, Jib can save valuable time on each build by only pushing your changed layers to the registry instead of your whole application.”
By making it easier for Java developers to use containers, Jib could help further expand the adoption of the technology in the enterprise. The tool is the latest addition to the already extensive portfolio of open-source projects that Google has built up in recent years. The company’s most well-known contribution to the container ecosystem is Kubernetes, the go-to software for managing large Docker clusters.
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