Package Development

I thought it might not be a bad idea to have a common thread where we discuss ways in which you can build packages that Reclaim Cloud can make use of as automated installers. This is not only useful in the context of Reclaim Hosting building packages for the Marketplace, in fact the development tools to automate deployments are available to anyone making it much easier for developers to make their software accessible or for end users that want to automate the creation of environments for their own needs.

Jelastic has documentation at on how to develop these packages which take the form of a yaml or json file. You can also browse all of the packages currently available via Jelastic’s Github organization at as well as recent additions I’ve built and added to the Marketplace at The repos contain a manifest.yaml file which has all of the necessary code. In more complex scripts that file may call other scripts within the repo to do various things.

One method I’ve had a lot of success with is creating a generic Docker container and then running a build script to automate pulling down and running the particular software project. You can see that here as an example:

Another interesting thing that Tony and I were discussing last week on Twitter is that you can create a deployment URL that links to a custom manifest.

The URL takes the form{manifest_code} where {manifest_code} is either URL to the manifest file itself or can even be a URL-encoded copy of the entire script. So a link like this will automatically send someone to their Reclaim Cloud dashboard and initiate the install process for Jitsi. As I think through how professors might create and distribute custom environments to students this seems like one really interesting approach to packaging up a set of class materials that include all the code and infrastructure to work within a class as a one-click install.

For a long time now any custom application packages that we wanted to add to Reclaim Hosting required a lot of “ownership” by us of the process both developing as well as maintaining the installer package. I love that this enables people to distribute installers on their own, and of course the flip side of that power is that anyone deploying environments from links on the web should always trust the source. Would love to hear from others that might be thinking about experimenting in this space.

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