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Making DevOps Enjoyable For Developers

Šimon Obetko, Dev @ Stacktape

March 12, 2024

Welcome to the second day of our Launch Week, where we're diving into the essence of Stacktape's mission: to make Developer Experience better. Our path to simplifying the deployment and management of apps on AWS has been shaped by real conversations, real feedback, and a clear understanding of what developers truly need.

It all started with a Command-Line Interface (CLI). We believed in its power to streamline AWS operations, and so did our early adopters. But as our user base expanded, so did the scope of feedback. Developers were looking for more than just commands. They asked for a clearer view of their deployments, easy access to logs, integration with GitHub, and straightforward billing insights. Questions like these weren't just queries; they were a call to action for us:

  • "Where can I see what stacks I have deployed?"
  • "Where can I find the URL for my database?"
  • "Can I see the deployment history for my stack?"
  • "Where can I find logs for my workloads?"
  • "How much is my stack costing me?"

Listening to this feedback, we realized that while our CLI provided a strong foundation, there was a need for something more visual and interactive. That's how the idea of the Stacktape console came into play. The console wasn't just an addition; it was a direct response to our users' needs, offering a way to manage AWS deployments with ease and transparency.

While our CLI provided a strong foundation, there was a need for something more visual and interactive. That's how the idea of the Stacktape console came into play.

With the console, we aimed to answer all those questions and more. It serves as a visual companion to our CLI, offering deployment overviews, log access, GitHub connectivity, and cost analysis, all in one place. This dual approach ensures that whether you prefer typing commands or clicking through a UI, you have the tools you need to manage your AWS applications effectively.

Checking stack activity in console

Console: Bringing Order to Your AWS Resources

Navigating the complex landscape of AWS resources, especially for teams utilizing ad-hoc tooling, can often feel like attempting to complete a puzzle without all the right pieces. This approach can lead to resources being deployed without a cohesive strategy or proper oversight, which in turn can result in "orphaned" or forgotten resources that continue to incur costs. Moreover, the task of tracking what is deployed and where across your stacks in AWS becomes a significant challenge, often necessitating extensive documentation and manual tracking efforts.

This is where the Stacktape console steps in, offering a solution designed to inject clarity and order into your cloud resource management. The Stacktape console eradicates the need for navigating through cumbersome AWS pages to understand the state of your deployments. It provides a centralized, streamlined overview of all your resources across your stacks in AWS. This comprehensive view is not just about listing your resources; it offers immediate access to essential information about your resources, including:

  • Costs - which we'll explore in more detail later,
  • Resource parameters - making it easy to find the URL of your web service or the connection string for your database,
  • Quick-links - offering helpful links, such as to the AWS console to see metrics for your resource.

Overview of AWS stack

But the convenience doesn't stop there. If you've ever found yourself sifting through CloudWatch log groups, you know that finding where the slow logs of your database or error logs of your Lambda function are can sometimes be a bit tedious.

Stacktape acknowledges this common frustration and provides a straightforward solution. Our console brings together your logs in one accessible location, eliminating the need to juggle multiple AWS services or navigate through complex interfaces to find the information you need. Stacktape simplifies log management, enabling you to concentrate on building and optimizing your applications, rather than getting bogged down by deciphering AWS console.

Console - easy logs access

How Much Does It Cost?

Navigating the murky waters of cloud resource pricing is a task that's often as daunting as it is necessary. Throughout our journey with Stacktape, one question kept surfacing from developers during user testing, echoing a common concern:

  • "So how much will I pay for my resources?" or
  • "I wanted to deploy something but was not sure how much it would cost."

These questions highlighted a fundamental challenge faced by developers: the difficulty of piecing together scattered AWS pricing information to estimate costs accurately.

Figure out the pricing schema AWS

We listened closely to these concerns. It was clear that expecting developers to hunt down and calculate costs from various AWS pages was not only impractical but also a significant hurdle to cloud adoption. To address this, we rolled up our sleeves and created a pricing estimator. This tool isn't just another feature; it's our answer to the call for transparency and simplicity in cloud computing costs. By analyzing your configuration, the pricing estimator provides a clear, upfront estimate of what your resources will cost. No more guesswork, no more surprises.

Console price estimator

However, understanding potential costs before deployment is only half the battle. Once your resources are up and running, deciphering how much they're costing you can feel like navigating a labyrinth. AWS's pricing schemas are notoriously complicated, and while tools like Cost Explorer offer some insights, their complexity can often leave users more confused than informed. Moreover, to make any sense of your spending, a rigorous tagging schema is usually required, adding layers of complexity to an already intricate process.

It was clear that expecting developers to hunt down and calculate costs from various AWS pages was not only impractical but also a significant hurdle to cloud adoption.

Stacktape tackles this issue head-on, simplifying cost tracking and management. We've engineered our platform to do the heavy lifting for you, providing a clean, organized overview of your costs. With Stacktape, you can easily see what you're paying for your entire stack, as well as break down the costs by individual resources. This level of clarity and control over cloud costs is particularly appreciated by CTOs and finance teams, who can now effortlessly monitor and manage the cloud expenses of their development stacks.

Overview of stack costs

Deciphering AWS Errors

While a sleek console is great, we haven't lost sight of the core functionality that supports developers who are in the trenches, tirelessly working on deployments.

Let's face it, AWS can sometimes feel like it's mastered the art of delivering perplexingly unhelpful error messages. Ever found yourself staring at errors like "Deployment Timed Out" or "Circuit Breaker Triggered," wondering where to even start troubleshooting? You're not alone. I remember the first time I encountered these errors, I nearly lost half my hair trying to decipher what AWS was trying to tell me. And from what we've seen, our users haven't had an easier time with these cryptic messages either.

Developer confused by AWS error

That's precisely why we decided to tackle this issue head-on. We understood that leaving our users to overcome these obstacles alone wasn't the way forward. Instead, we opted to arm them with additional information when these problems occur. While we've dedicated a full post to this topic, the gist of our approach involves employing advanced monitoring techniques. These techniques are designed to pull more information from AWS and spit out more than just cryptic error code; they provide you with detailed insights into what's failing and why, complete with logs from your container. So instead of being greeted with a cryptic error message, you get actionable information that guides you toward a solution.

Better error for failed deployment

This effort to demystify AWS errors is just one example of how we're working to improve aspects where AWS, by itself, might fall short. Our goal is to not only make the deployment and management of applications easier but also to ensure that when things don't go as planned, you're equipped with the knowledge and tools to understand why and how to fix it. At Stacktape, we're committed to enhancing the developer experience by filling in the gaps and smoothing out the rough edges of cloud computing.


Our journey from a CLI-first platform to one that equally values a graphical interface illustrates our commitment to evolving with our users. The feedback loop between Stacktape and its community is what drives us to continuously improve and adapt, ensuring we're always meeting the needs of developers in the most effective way possible.

As we highlight our focus on Developer Experience during Launch Week, we're excited about where we're headed. Stacktape is here to make AWS app deployment and management as straightforward as possible, powered by both our CLI and console. We're in this journey together, building a platform that not only meets but anticipates the needs of developers.

We are looking forward to seeing what you build with Stacktape, and your feedback to make it even better.

More on Launch Week #1 & how to support us:

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