Back in October, Red Hat acquired AnsibleWorks, making it the first major software company to buy out one of the four burgeoning players in the provisioning market. Today, Ansible released the first fruits of that acquisition in Ansible 2.0.Chief among the changes in 2.0, said James Cammarata, head of the Ansible open-source project, was a good going over of the codebase. “Ansible had grown so fast and large over time that effort some technical debt had accumulated,” he said. “We took time and to take care of the parts of our code that were starting to get difficult to add features to.”As a result, major changes were also possible with this release. Cammarata said that Ansible 2.0 introduces Blocks, a new section for developers’ Playbooks. While Playbooks list out the procedures and steps necessary to install everything desired on a target machine, they were previously unable to handle exceptions gracefully.Now, however, using Blocks, developers can write instructions that only trigger when an installation fails. Thus, when an exception is thrown, an Ansible Playbook can now include a backup plan. The other major change to Playbooks is that they are no longer pre-processed. This enables some new use cases and makes life easier for developers, as they can now reuse code more efficiently. This is enabled through the increased amount of execution strategies.“The way Ansible has worked, if you have 100 hosts and 10 tasks, as you execute the first task in the list, it would wait for all 100 hosts in the list to execute before moving onto the second task,” said Cammarata. “Now, with additional execution strategies, each host will run through its task list as quickly as possible, without waiting for the others to finish that task first. If you’re adding one new host to your environment, you don’t have to wait for all the other hosts.”This also means that Playbooks can now include operations that require a knowledge of the clusters’ hardware inventory. Previously, it was not possible to perform tasks that were dependent upon the state of the cluster being installed.The futureThe Ansible project is now focusing on a few of its road-map items for the next release. The most forthcoming release should elevate Microsoft Windows to a first-class citizen. After that, the team plans to work on its VMware integrations.
It’s been well over five years since Mastercard began talking to developers about its API offerings. Today, the company rolled out dramatic changes to its developer portal, introducing new APIs for use by the public.While Mastercard has offered payment APIs for many years, the company today updated its roster to 25 full-featured offerings. These include not just payment and money-sending APIs, but also a handful of unique business-focused services.(Related: Google buys API-management company Apigee) Oran Cummins, senior vice president for APIs at Mastercard, said that the new Mastercard Developers platform offers opportunities for developers. “We see Mastercard Developers as empowering our customers, partners and their developers in their efforts to innovate and grow their own businesses. The new platform will serve as a key way to integrate Mastercard technology and services into their digital solutions in an easy and cost-effective way. And, consumers will benefit from the simpler, faster and safer experiences driven by these efforts,” he said.Highlights in that bundle of API offerings include the Retail Location Insights API, a Media Measurement API for tracking media campaigns and relating them to sales, and Mastercard Send, which enables users to send money to one another in a peer-to-peer fashion.The Mastercard Developers platform also includes three new experimental APIs, as well as one to help with the distribution of humanitarian aid. The experimental Bot Commerce API integrates with existing commerce platforms to offer Mastercard payment functionality for retail-type applications. The other two experimental APIs are Qkr with MasterPass, which enables payments with mobile devices, and Mastercard Vending, which targets payments on vending machines.For the humanitarian side, Mastercard Aid Network is designed to allow for the distribution of aid to those in need without reliance on telecommunications networks.