Leverage Service Commands

While technically optional, Service Commands are arguably the most powerful part of the configuration file. This is the set of commands that Tugboat runs in a Service container while creating a Preview.

Tugboat’s service commands fit into two categories:

Service commands to run during Preview build

The service commands are separated into a set of stages: init, update, and build. Each stage represents an optional set of commands that Tugboat should run during that stage. For more info on the stages in the Preview build process, check out: the build process: explained.

It may help to think of the stages as groups of commands with a particular purpose. While not enforced in any way, the stages roughly represent the following purposes:

  • init - Run commands that set up the basic Preview infrastructure. This might include things like installing required packages or tools, or overriding default configuration files.

  • update - Run commands that import data or other assets into a Service. This might include things like importing a database, or syncing image files into a service.

  • build - Run commands that build or generate the actual site. This might include things like compiling Sass files, updating 3rd party libraries, or running database updates that the current code in the preview depends on.

Each command is run in its own context, meaning things like cd do not “stick” between commands. If that behavior is required, an external script should be included in the git repository and called from the config file.

    image: tugboatqa/httpd:2.4
    default: true
        - apt-get install nodejs
        - ln -snf "${TUGBOAT_ROOT}" "${DOCROOT}"
        - rsync -av example.com:files/ "${DOCROOT}/files/"
        - chgrp -R www-data "${DOCROOT}/files"
        - npm install
    image: tugboatqa/mysql:5.6
        - scp example.com:mysqldump.sql.gz /tmp/
        - zcat /tmp/mysqldump.sql.gz | mysql tugboat

Notice that each stage is optional for a given service. There may not be any commands required for that service during some stage. When that is the case, the stage can be excluded completely.

Service commands to run after Preview build

You can also configure service commands to run after a Tugboat Preview has built. The two service commands that run after the build process are:

  • start - Run commands every time a Preview container starts. This happens any time the container starts; after a Preview has suspended or been stopped; or if you Reset the Preview. start might be useful for running a background process; to warm up caches, for example.
  • online - Run commands once, after a Preview build has completed. These commands only run after the Preview snapshot, when a Preview has been through Build, Rebuild or Refresh. For more info on the build process and build snapshots, see: How Previews Work.

For an example of the online and start commands, here’s a sample code snippet from our Diffy integration:

    image: tugboatqa/httpd:2.4
    default: true
        # Download the Diffy CLI tool, and authenticate.
        - curl -L https://github.com/DiffyWebsite/diffy-cli/releases/download/0.1.2/diffy.phar -o /usr/local/bin/diffy
        - chmod +x /usr/local/bin/diffy
        - diffy auth:login $DIFFY_API_KEY
        # Warm the cache
        - sudo -u www-data /var/lib/tugboat/vendor/bin/drush --root /var/lib/tugboat/web warmer:enqueue -l localhost
          --verbose --run-queue
        # Compare this service with production using Diffy
        - diffy project:compare $DIFFY_PROJECT_ID prod custom --env2Url=$TUGBOAT_SERVICE_URL

        # Compare this service with the base preview
        - if [ "x$TUGBOAT_BASE_PREVIEW_URL" != "x" ]; then diffy project:compare $DIFFY_PROJECT_ID custom custom
          --env1Url=$TUGBOAT_BASE_PREVIEW_URL --env2Url=$TUGBOAT_SERVICE_URL; fi

The start command would run in a similar command context.

Additional service commands

In addition to service commands that run during the build process, and service commands that execute after the build snapshot is complete, there are two more service commands you can use in your Tugboat builds: clone and ready.

Clone commands

When you use clone commands in your config.yml, these commands will only run on the cloned (new) Preview that has been created from an existing Preview using Clone.

Under the covers, Clone duplicates a Preview at the time of the build snapshot. Commands you include in your .tugboat/config.yml as clone service commands then run on the duplicated (new) Preview, and then that version of the Preview is committed as a build snapshot, overwriting the original duplicated Preview. As a result, commands that you run in clone get committed as part of the build snapshot, so they become permanently part of the Preview. Things like Reset do not erase clone commands, and those commands would carry over if you made a Preview cloned in this way a Base Preview.

You might use the clone command in cases where your running Previews depend on something written to disk that is derived from the Preview ID or Service URL; or anything that will have new values in the newly-cloned Preview.

A good use case for the clone command would be updating a WordPress database to work with the new URL. From our WordPress tutorial, you might execute this on a cloned Preview:

  ## Set the DOCROOT to reflect the new Preview and Service URL
  wp --allow-root --path="${DOCROOT}" search-replace "${TUGBOAT_BASE_PREVIEW_URL_HOST}" "${TUGBOAT_SERVICE_URL_HOST}"

The ready command

An additional service command you might find useful in some cases is the ready command. When you use ready as a service command, you’re telling Tugboat to check whether the condition is true, and if yes, then continue the Preview build. If the condition is not true, ready waits and then checks the condition again.

Common use cases for the ready command include things like checking whether a port is listening, such as checking for a mysql connection when running php services.

The caveat for the ready command is that the command you try to execute must be able to pass before the app is installed, because Tugboat needs to spin up the service prior to the app being installed. So if a ready command depends on the app being installed, Tugboat would be stuck forever checking for a condition that will never pass, and the build process will eventually time out.

When using ready to check for something that doesn’t happen until after the command would execute, the Preview will get stuck building indefinitely. For example, in a Node.js app, you might be tempted to use ready to check that port 3,000 is responding, but when the app is building and the ready command would execute the first time, you wouldn’t have anything started on port 3,000 yet, so the Preview will get stuck and the build process will never complete.

There are a couple of ways around this; for example, you could add a delay to give extra time for a Node.js app to start up using something like: ready: "! test -f ${TUGBOAT_ROOT}/.tugboat/config.yml || sleep 20".

Or you could add something like this as an external script:

#!/bin/sh set -eu curl \ --silent \ --retry 50 \ --retry-delay 1 \ --retry-connrefused \ --max-time 4 \ --retry-max-time 240 \ localhost:3000 > /dev/null || true

Which will try to make a request to localhost on port 3000 until there’s a response. Then, you could add this line to your Tugboat config.yml:

ready: - 'test ! -x $TUGBOAT_ROOT/.tugboat/node-ready.sh || $TUGBOAT_ROOT/.tugboat/node-ready.sh'

This will make sure the ready command passes if the node-ready.sh script isn’t available yet, and if it is available, it will execute it to see if the Node.js app is running.