The cloud-native landscape is full of powerful tools, but this landscape is constantly changing and the tools aren't designed for the every day developer. If developers hope to take advantage of modern design patterns, they need a framework designed for them instead of the endless landscape of operator-focused tools being forced upon them.

Architect is a self-service developer platform for cloud-native applications – enabling continuous delivery, service discovery, and continuous security all at once. We've taken inspiration from our experiences in big tech and at startups alike to create a simple, developer-focused framework that allows developers to build and extend cloud services like never before.

First steps

The best way to learn how Architect works is through practice, and we've curated a simple set of steps you can follow to get you started:

Install the CLI

The best way to install the CLI is via NPM:

$ npm install -g @architect-io/cli

If you hit a permission issue with writing to node_modules try:

$ sudo npm install -g @architect-io/cli

Alternatively, you can download the binary for your system architecture from Github. Just download the appropriate bundle, extract it, and link the included bin folder to your user home directory.

Run a sample component

In order to help you get familiar with Architect, we've created several example applications for you to experiement with. In this walk through, we'll use the react demo application which comes with a frontend Next.js app, a backend Node.js API, and a postgres database – all of which will be deployed automatically via Architect:


Clone the repository

The examples live in a sub-folder of our CLI's repository, so go ahead and clone the repo locally:

$ git clone && cd ./architect-cli/

Register the app locally

Next you'll want to link the react application to your local registry. Linking helps the CLI find the component by name on the local file system, otherwise it would look to find the component in Architect's component registry.

$ architect link ./examples/react-app/

Check out the architect.yml file

The architect.yml file contains the component descriptors that power Architect deployments. Why don't you open up the file in the react-app example:

name: react-app
description: Default greeting text for the landing page
default: world
description: Root user to assign to the generated database
default: postgres
description: Root password to assign to the generated database
default: architect
description: Name of the database used by the API
default: test_database
# Describes the database service
image: postgres:11
port: 5432
protocol: postgres
POSTGRES_USER: ${{ secrets.root_db_user }}
POSTGRES_PASSWORD: ${{ secrets.root_db_pass }}
POSTGRES_DB: ${{ secrets.api_db_name }}
# Describes the Node.js backend API
context: ./backend
main: &api-port 8080
PORT: *api-port
DB_ADDR: ${{ services.api-db.interfaces.postgres.url }}
DB_USER: ${{ secrets.root_db_user }}
DB_PASS: ${{ secrets.root_db_pass }}
DB_NAME: ${{ secrets.api_db_name }}
# The debug block defines features only used for local deployments. In this
# case, we've mounted to src directory and instrumented a hot-reloading cmd
command: npm run start:dev
mount_path: /usr/src/app/src
host_path: ./backend/src
# Describes the Next.js frontend application
context: ./frontend
main: &app-port 8080
PORT: *app-port
API_ADDR: ${{ services.api.interfaces.main.url }}
WORLD_TEXT: ${{ secrets.world_text }}
mount_path: /usr/src/app/src
host_path: ./frontend/src
# Maps the frontend application to an external interface. Once running, it can
# be resolved at http://app.arc.localhost
app: ${{ }}

This architect.yml describes each of our three services, exposes the frontend externally via interfaces, and allows the root database credentials to be configured via secrets.

Run the component

Now that you have a better understanding of what you're deploying, go ahead and start it up!

$ architect dev react-app
Using locally linked react-app found at /architect-cli/examples/react-app
http://app.arc.localhost:80/ => examples--react-app--app--latest--aklmrtvo
http://localhost:50000/ => examples--react-app--api-db--latest--arrm58dc
http://localhost:50001/ => examples--react-app--api--latest--1dzvo47x
http://localhost:50002/ => examples--react-app--app--latest--aklmrtvo
http://localhost:80/ => gateway
# begin log stream...

The command above will transform the component into a fully enriched docker-compose template and then execute it automatically. After a few seconds you should see the each application indicate that its ready for traffic, and at that point you can open http://app.arc.localhost in your browser!

Make your own changes

As you may have noticed from the architect.yml file, there is a debug block that enables hot-reloading for each service. That means you can make changes to the source code for each project and the changes will be applied to the environment automatically.

Why don't you try making some changes to ./frontend/src/components/NameComponent.jsx? Find the line that says:

Hello {this.state.changed_name}

and change it to say:

Hi there {this.state.changed_name}

Once you save the file, you'll see the frontend service recompiling in the logs and then your browser window will update automatically.

Create a free Architect account

Now that you've successfully run and edited a component locally, it's time to learn how to register the component and deploy it to cloud environments. Before you can do that however, you need to sign up for Architect and create an account that will house your components and environments.

After you've signed up, you simply need to login via the CLI to allow for access to your account:

$ architect login

Register a component

Before you can deploy to a cloud environment, you have to register and tag your component with Architect's component registry. Components are registered to the account indicated by the name prefix of each component. The component you've been using as an example is called react-app, but lets go ahead and change the account prefix before registering. Open up the architect.yml file and change the name to something of your choosing. Once that's complete, you can register the component with a single command:

$ architect register ./examples/react-app/ --tag latest --account <account-name>

The register command does three things: 1) builds any services with a build and replaces the field with an image field referencing the built artifact, 2) uploads any build artifacts to Architect's registry, and 3) registers the component itself with Architect. Once complete, you'll see a link to the newly registered component!

Deploy to the cloud

Finally, you're ready to deploy! Each Architect account comes pre-registered with an environment named, example-environment, that leverages Architect as the hosting provider. Go ahead and deploy your component to it (be sure to replace <my-account> with the name of the account you where you registered your component):

$ architect deploy <my-account>/react-app:latest --account <account-name> --environment example-environment

Nice work! Now that you've gotten the hang of the deploy flow, you're probably ready to try it out with your own application. Head on over to the configuration section to learn more about the architect.yml file and how to write one of your own!

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