🔐 July 2021 Release
Everyone is talking about DevSecOps. Well, that’s good because this month, we’ve released our latest Azure DevOps integration!
A common request from users was to reference existing resources already deployed in Azure, either directly outside of Cloud Maker or via other Cloud Maker blueprints.
External Droplets let you reference these existing resources in Azure. This is incredibly powerful as it allows you to complete your architecture while Cloud Maker knows not to deploy the externally managed resource!
Azure DevOps Variables
Use Azure DevOps? Already have your variables configured and want to use them in Cloud Maker? No Problem!
The Azure DevOps Variables feature allows you to set parameter values in Cloud Maker to reference variables in Azure DevOps.
When you deploy, Cloud Maker will pick up the variable value from Azure DevOps rather than using an inline value specified in Cloud Maker.
This gives you amazing flexibility to leverage existing Azure DevOps variables and work the way you want.
Azure DevOps Outputs
One of the central superpowers of DevSecOps is the ability to create automated build pipelines, not just of cloud infrastructure, but your application as well in a continuous, virtuous cycle.
To achieve this, it is often a requirement to pass the value of one thing into another. For instance, you might need the name of an Azure App Service you built in the first task to pass into your application build in the second task.
We’re incredibly pleased to announce the release of Azure DevOps Outputs in Cloud Maker. Azure DevOps Outputs allow you to specify which property value you wish to expose as an output in your Azure DevOps pipeline.
You can then take that output value and pass it into later tasks to enable you to complete complex infrastructure and application builds.
☔️ April 2021 Release
There may be April showers, but we've got some awesome new features that should brighten up your day!
Drawing Dynamics 2.0
We're constantly looking at ways to improve the experience of drawing cloud solutions with Cloud Maker. One consistent piece of feedback we get is that people really enjoy the Lego style of drawing where pieces click together, and where dependencies are automatically detected - a true drag, drop & go approach.
However, until now it's been difficult to draw containers that span or need to go outside the boundaries of other containers. This also prevented the use of generic shapes on diagrams which often have to span across multiple droplets.
Now with Drawing Dynamics 2.0 all these issues have been resolved. We believe we've found the best combination of Lego style blocks that connect together, whilst allowing you to draw more freely whilst still maintaining our auto-dependency detection capability. This was a mammoth effort by the entire team at Cloud Maker, but we think you're going to love it. Try it now!
We heard you loud...and...clear! You want the ability to modify the path of lines in Cloud Maker. You also want the ability to draw just an arrow going nowhere. Well, I've got some amazing news! This release now brings all those features to the line drawing experience in Cloud Maker. Try it now!
Now it's even easier to line up droplets only our diagram with snaplines. On by default, snaplines will show up when droplets are lined up and will give you a visual guide for better alignment! Try it now!
One last thing...Annotations 2.0 including shapes!
We're really pleased to announce the release of Annotations 2.0. We have drastically improved the text annotation tool. This now lives on the left dock with its new friends - shapes!
You can now draw circles, rectangles and triangles in Cloud Maker. These can be used for annotating your diagram and making it look even prettier! Try it now!
🐰 March 2021 Release
Spring has sprung and we've sprung an awesome new feature on you. Cloud Maker Overwatch. Shift your security left with design-time security scanning.
Security? We've got you covered with Overwatch
What a year 2020 was for IT security! That's why we wanted to develop a capability that enabled our customers to bake in security right at design time rather than leaving it as an afterthought.
We're incredibly excited to announce the launch of Cloud Maker Overwatch - a design-time security scanner that will scan your blueprints for security issues before you deploy!
Just draw your cloud solution as normal and Cloud Maker will raise any security issues in the problems panel on the left-dock.
We'll be adding additional security scanners for more and more services over the coming days and weeks. Overwatch will continuously evolve to keep pace with evolving services and recommendations.
We've now exposed our droplet versioning capability to end-users. Now when we update droplets in Cloud Maker you can be in control of when these updates are applied to your design.
You can access droplet versions on the Properties Panel from the right-dock. If there is a later version you can upgrade your droplet by switching it on the drop-down menu. You can read more about droplet versioning here.
🎉 January 2021 Release
Happy New Year everyone. We've gone some awesome new features for you to kick off 2021 the right way!
Problems Panel is Here!
We know that one of the main areas that users get stuck is understanding whether their diagrams meet the basic validation requirements of Microsoft Azure or the policy set by their organisation.
The Problems Panel is designed to help users quickly resolve validation issues by providing an itemised list of problems that need to be sorted.
It's turned on by default and you can access the Problems Panel by using the exclamation icon on the left dock.
Our problems framework is highly extensible and we'll be adding additional validators in the near future. Today we're launching with the following validators:
Name validator: Every Azure resource requires a name. With the name validator we highlight which droplets are missing the name property and make it easy for you to find and enter the required data.
Placement validator: Cloud Maker has a powerful resource relationship engine. When you place a droplet inside a droplet container, Cloud Maker validates whether this is a valid location. If not, it will highlight the droplet and flag a problem on the Problems Panel!
Performance Improvements & Bug Fixes
UI Resizing to facilitate smaller screens
Recently we've seen an uptick in users operating on smaller screen resolutions. We've tweaked some of our UI elements to make it easier to draw diagrams even when on lower resolutions.
Button highlight refinement to make it clearer what's been selected
The highlighting on some of our buttons was not visible enough. We've tweaked the styling to make it clearer to the user what button has been selected.
Tooltip wording has been refined to make to tool descriptions clearer
In some instances descriptions of tooltips were not clear. We have tweaked the tooltip wording to make it easier to understand what each button does.
🎅 December 2020 Release
It's not a Christmas tree; it's TreeView, also collapsible panels, floating toolbar and performance upgrades!
We know that scrolling through hundreds of properties is no fun at all. One of the most requested features was a way to make configuring your designs easier.
We're happy to announce that our new TreeView properties panel is now live. You can now clearly see the property groups in the TreeView pane on the left of the properties panel and then configure the properties on the details pane on the right.
Collapsible Panels with Left & Right Dock
We have introduced a left dock and right dock that now provides a home for the droplets, properties and version history panels. This should make it easier to find and open the required panel!
We also wanted to give you the flexibility to choose which panels you have open, when. Collapsible panels let you close and open panels by simply clicking the relevant panel icon on the left or right dock!
Close them all and have more room to view your diagram, or have one or all open at the same time. It's your choice!
Floating Tool Bar & Canvas Edge
We're continuously listening to feedback from you, our users. One area we're improving is giving you more space to design your solution. The first step is the introduction of a floating toolbar; this reveals more of the canvas and more room to draw.
We've also added a clearly defined canvas edge that shows you where the canvas starts and ends. We have some exciting plans for this in upcoming releases which will continue to improve on the space you have to draw.
Deploy Plan Free Trial
As part of our evolution from a free tool to a commercial platform to support enterprises and solution architects globally, we have introduced our new 'Deploy' plan.
The Deploy plan has our new deployment features that let you not only diagram your cloud solution but configure and deploy it to Microsoft Azure (or export the ARM code).
We want you all to experience the power of these new features before having to decide on subscribing. That's why we're giving all new user sign-ups 30 days free to try out all the features.
After 30 days, your account will automatically drop down to our free plan. Head over to https://cloudmaker.ai/pricing to find out more about our plans!
Long Name Handling: We've introduced tooltips that enable you to hover over long sections of text that are concatenated with ellipses. This applies to things like long parameter names and property names.
Parenting and Highlight Behaviour: We've tweaked our droplet parenting behaviour to solve some issues where a droplet wouldn't be parented.
Solutions Renamed to Pipelines: We used to think that solutions made sense, but speaking to you we realised that Pipelines is way more intuitive! You will now see the 'Pipelines' area in Cloud Maker where you can create your deployment pipelines and deploy your configured blueprint to Azure!
Resizeable 'Stage' Columns: We've added the ability to resize the stage columns in the pipeline configuration. Those of you that have long parameter values should now be able to resize the column to make it easier to see and read the values!
May 2020 Release
Drop targets, docking bays, automatic NSG creation and Azure resource groups
How do you know which resource goes where when designing a cloud solution? If you don't have an encyclopaedic mind, we're helping solve this problem with Cloud Maker drop targets.
Now when you drag a droplet onto the drawing surface, Cloud Maker will highlight valid options for placing the selected droplet. For example, an Azure Subnet into an Azure VNET.
We know that you like to add some droplets to the edges of your containers. For instance a load balancer on a subnet or Azure DDoS protection on a VNET. To make this easier we've now added docking bays to containers.
When you select a droplet that can be attached to the edge of a container you will now see a docking bay appear. Just drop the droplet into the docking bay to snap it to the edge of the container!
Automatic Azure NSGs
Who creates a subnet without a Network Security Group I hear you shout! We thought the same and that's why we now create an NSG automatically when you drop a subnet onto the drawing surface.
Azure Resource Groups
Shut the front door, Azure resource groups?! Yep, we've had some robust 'discussions' here at Cloud Maker HQ about the best way to visualise Resource Groups. We've now added these as a container droplet to Cloud Maker.
You can now add Azure resource groups to your Cloud Maker blueprints! Hurray!
April 2020 Release
Azure & AWS icon updates as well as new Pro features
Azure Icon Update
We've added the latest Azure icon style as well as adding additional icons into Cloud Maker.
AWS Icon Update
A highly demanded feature (who knew people used AWS?!) was a fuller set of AWS icons. You'll be pleased to know we have now added over 80 additional AWS icons into Cloud Maker.
August 2019 Release
An update to better manage your Droplet inventory
The Cloud Maker Suggestion Engine is an AI powered assistant designed to help you find droplets quicker. We've trained our engine on hundreds of thousands of infrastructure-as-code templates, giving it a good understanding of which droplets are likely to go with others. The Suggestion Engine is designed to speed up your workflow when drawing a cloud solution.
A new feature of the Suggestion Engine is the Cloud Provider Filter. You can now select which cloud provider you would like suggestions for and these will be prioritised in the droplet suggestions on the droplet menu.
Introducing the Cloud Maker Droplets Filter. You can filter your droplets to the cloud provider(s) of choice to make it easier to access the droplets you want to use. If you turn off a cloud provider in the filter, this will automatically update the Suggestion Engine filter options too as well as categorised and searched droplets.
Your preference will be saved for next time to make it easier for you when you return to modify your Cloud Maker Blueprint.