CodeTender: A Brief History

Jan 4, 2021
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I was lucky to be involved in building a micro-services platform with Vasil Kovatchev. Vasil is a great software architect and overall great guy. One concept he introduced was the “bartender” script. The idea was to build a working micro-service with a placeholder name that won’t conflict with any code. The first such template was called “Pangalactic Gargleblaster”. The bartender script replaces placeholders in the code (“Pangalactic” and “Gargleblaster”) and does some other stuff to make the service work with the platform. The bartender script is a bash script and the “other stuff” is…well…more bash script. We were quickly serving up not just Pangalactic Gargleblasters, but also Flaming Volcanos and Tequila Sunrises and Whisky Sours. I fell in love with this concept, but I don’t, however, love the bash script since it is very tightly coupled to our ecosystem. Since node.js is a de facto standard for dev utilities (no offense, Python), I set out to build a CLI with these basic requirements:

  • Clone a git repo or copy a folder to a specified folder
  • Display prompts to collect values to replace placeholders with
  • Run scripts before or after replacing placeholders

Since “bartender” is a bit too common of a name, I went with “CodeTender”. That was March of 2018 (according to my commit history). Fast forward a few years and version 0.0.4-alpha was still full of bugs and my somewhat ambitious issue list was collecting dust along with the code. A somewhat unrelated thread with Vasil and another colleague reminded me of CodeTender so I set out to get it working. A few minutes (hours maybe) later, and the basics were working. So of course, time to use it.

I have been playing with Home Assistant lately and wanted to start playing with custom dashboard cards. I found a boilerplate project and decided why just clone the repo when I could get CodeTender working even better and make a Home Assistant custom card template? So after about another week, I have burned down a lot of my issue list and added some cool features. It is still very alpha, but it’s close to ready for prime time.

I will formally launch CodeTender in a future post, but for anyone interested, you can check it out on my GitHub.