7 Useful Web Apps For DevOps Engineers | by Tate Galbraith | Feb, 2022

Handy, simple and they might even save you some money

Tate Galbraith
Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

Building software is challenging enough on its own. Deploying software can be an entirely different beast altogether. Combine the two and you’re in for quite a wild ride. There is such a plethora of information to remember as a DevOps engineer that having a set of rock-solid reference tools is crucial.

It’s almost impossible to remember everything on your own. That’s why in this article we’ll dive into some of the best web apps available for engineers to take stress of their frazzled minds. Whether it’s testing out snippets of code or pricing out a shiny new virtual machine, these resources are here to ease the burden.

By far one of the handiest tools to have around for testing out Jinja2 templates. If you’re writing a lot of Ansible roles and playbooks, this is a game-changer. It isn’t always easy to test Ansible templates. This app makes testing out formatting, loops, and other Jinja2 features easy and fast.

Jinja Live Parser web app. Source.

The best part is you don’t even have to run any Ansible code. You can just plug it in see the generated output right away.

There are a number of these applications floating around. If the one linked above happens to be offline, check out this alternative hosted by TTL255.

There’s no shame in needing a little help subnetting a complex IP address space. Sometimes the coffee runs low and you just want to figure out what network a host is supposed to live on.

One of the best tools I’ve found for this is the subnet calculator by Clive Porter.

Subnet calculator. Source.

This tool has been around for a long time and is a staple of any network engineer’s toolkit. If you enjoy doing a bunch of math in your head that’s fine too, but this calculator will definitely save you some time.

MX Toolbox also hosts a great calculator with a bit more of an updated UI.

Ah, yes. Groovy. Love it or hate it, at some point you may be called upon to write some Groovy code. If you work with Jenkins a lot then the chances you’ve interacted with this interesting language are high. Jenkins leverages Groovy for shared libraries and a few other underlying features.

Groovy Playground web app. Source.

Although it is based on Java, there are some nuances to this unique language. Having a sandbox to be able to test out some syntax is quite useful.

If you’re struggling with some of the Groovy formatting rules, this NPM module is extremely useful for linting your Groovy code:

As one of the most popular configuration management tools ever, Ansible has secured its foothold in the DevOps world. Although you can do almost anything you want with Ansible, it can be challenging from a user experience standpoint. This is especially true if you want playbooks offered as self-service options to other departments or teams.

Addressing the need for a GUI, Ansible Tower (now called “Automation Controller”) was created. It provides a fantastic and easy to use UI for Ansible. There is just one problem. It isn’t the most cost effective option. Even the most basic license subscription costs thousands of dollars. This is not an option for small companies trying to keep things lean and mean.

Source.

Fear not, because the free and open-source platform underpinning Ansible Tower is available for anyone to deploy. This platform is called AWX:

AWX under the hood is the same engine as Tower, but without some of the latest features, UI polish and technical support. With a little effort you can spin up your very own AWX service and provide a very functional portal into your existing Ansible infrastructure.

If you run services on AWS then having a way to estimate your bill (even a rough estimate) is absolutely essential. You wouldn’t want to spin up new services all willy-nilly and then get stuck with an enormous bill at the end of the month.

Although Amazon does offer their own cost estimate tool, it isn’t nearly as quick or simple to use as this one.

AWS Simple Monthly Calculator. Source.

Sure, this isn’t the most beautiful thing to look at, but who cares when all you need to know is if that new instance you’re about to spin up will bankrupt your entire company.

Where would we be without glorious Kanban boards. Whether you believe in their effectiveness is up for debate, but even if you use it as a mere to-do list it’s still incredibly helpful.

A Trello board.

Since Trello is also part of the Atlassian family of products you can easily integrate with other ticketing systems like Jira.

Asana also offers Kanban functionality in a larger offering geared towards project management. If you’re looking for an all-in-one management approach, this is a fantastic option.

This one is just for fun, but come on, who doesn’t like to feel like they’re in a real-life version of War Games. The Kaspersky Cyberthreat real-time map displays an awesome animated globe showing actual cyber attacks as they occur in real time.

Kaspersky Cyberthreat map animation. Source.

Pop this up to full screen on a TV in your work area to feel (and appear) even more productive than you did before.

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