From May 2020 to January 2021, I worked as a software engineer intern at Sourcegraph on the Distribution team. The Distribution team is responsible for making Sourcegraph easy to deploy, scale, monitor, and debug. The team also solves challenging problems that our customers face when they deploy and scale Sourcegraph on-premise in a variety of environments, and that Sourcegraph faces when we deploy and scale Sourcegraph Cloud (the largest Sourcegraph installation in the world).

My work as an intern had several areas of focus:

Most of the company’s work is open-source, so you can see my pull requests for Sourcegraph on GitHub! If you poke around, you might spot me chiming in on a variety of other pull requests and issue discussions as well.

A brief hiatus after my internship, I returned to Sourcegraph full-time.


# Monitoring at Sourcegraph

During my time at Sourcegraph, a major part of my focus has been on expanding the capabilities of Sourcegraph’s built-in monitoring stack and improving the experience for administrators of Sourcegraph deployments, Sourcegraph engineers, and Sourcegraph support.

The Prometheus sidecar allows for detailed diagnostic feedback within the main Sourcegraph application.
Generated Grafana dashboard for a Sourcegraph service, including annotations and panels that work for out-of-the-box for all services, providing a consistent experience across dashboards.

I also made a wide range of other improvements such as:


# Sourcegraph Releases

Previously, creating Sourcegraph releases was a lengthy, complex process that involved a large number of manual steps that would frequently delay our monthly releases.

  • I made extensive improvements to the Sourcegraph release tool, which handles automation of release tasks such as generating multi-repository changes, creating tags, setting up tracking issues, adding calendar events, making announcements, and more.
Chart of downwards trend of steps required to create a release, based on checklist items in our generated release tracking issues (for example, sourcegraph#17727). Patch release steps increased due to improved documentation and standardisation of the process.

The long-term vision of this work is to enable releases to be handled by any engineer at Sourcegraph, as seamlessly and painlessly as possible, improving the pace at which we can confidently ship releases to our customers.

Pull requests to create a release are generated by the release tool, some of which require additional actions. A generated release campaign provides release captains an overview of the progress of a release. Sourcegraph campaigns was a feature undergoing extensive development by another team, and I made this fun integration to build to check out their work and help out our own team's management of releases!


# Deployment Pipelines

Sourcegraph maintains a variety of Sourcegraph instances in addition to Sourcegraph Cloud. Deployment at Sourcegraph generally consists of two distinct steps:

  • Building and publishing images
  • Propagating published images

You can read more about this in the handbook page about instances.

I worked on making adjustments to our build and publish pipelines, such as enabling direct integration testing of candidate images and making it easier to build tooling that interacts with our images.

Deployment methodology varies from instance to instance, but when I first joined Sourcegraph we did not have any instance that was kept closely up to date synchronously with both the state of our monorepo, sourcegraph/sourcegraph, and the state of our primary method of distributing Sourcegraph, sourcegraph/deploy-sourcegraph. To amend this, I built a trigger-based pipeline that would keep deploy-sourcegraph in sync with the latest images, and immediately propagate changes in deploy-sourcegraph to an internal dogfood instance.

I also developed tooling to automate the upgrades of our managed Sourcegraph instances offering - a previously a very manual process - greatly reducing the time it takes to conduct an upgrade, and reducing the possibility of mistakes.


# About Sourcegraph

Sourcegraph provides code search and intelligence on the web across massive collections of codebases. Their long-term vision is to make it so everyone, in every community, in every country, and in every industry — not just the ones working at the half-dozen dominant tech companies — can create products using the best technology. Sourcegraph is a fully distributed company with employees across the world.