· Feb 25, 2020

GitHub, VSCode and IRIS for Health workflow


I've always worked with typical web applications (a bunch of code files that sit in a server that connects to an RDS). Now our team is responsible for different IRIS for Health environments. We are currently working to set up the local dev environment and this is the current scenario:

* IRIS for Health local development server is running in a container

* Developers are using VSCode with the objectScript plugin

* GitHub as a version control system for the code and configuration.

Our goal is to be able to keep track of the entire code and configuration of the IRIS instance. From what I understand the data of the instance is stored in the durable %SYS and to version control the code you need to export the code of a Namespace exporting the Classes, Routines and Includes using the VSCode plugin (this will put everything in the src directory, then you can work and import and compile to see the changes).

What files/directories should I keep track of from the durable %SYS directory? (e.g: I want to bind-mount those files/directories and import the code and see the Namespace and all the instance configuration ).

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"What files/directories should I keep track of from the durable %SYS directory? (e.g: I want to bind-mount those files/directories and import the code and see the Namespace and all the instance configuration )."

Answer: None.

Your configuration needs to be code. Right now, the best approach to have your namespace/databases created/configured, CSP applications, security, etc. is by using %Installer Manifests during the build process of the Dockerfile. I personally don't use Durable %SYS on my development machine. I prefer to use %Installer to configure everything and if I need to load pre-tables with data, I load it from CSV files that are on GitHub as well as source code. 

That allows you to source control your Code Table contents as well. Test records can be inserted as well with the same procedure.

For an example of this, look at this demo (based on IRIS):

Look at the normalized_datalake image. It loads CSV files into the tables as part of the Dockerfile build process. You will notice that this image is based on a base image that has some standard reusable code. This source for this base image is here:

I was using Atelier when I built this image. But the principle is the same. I am now using VSCode doing the same.

This is another demo based on IRIS for Health:

Look at the riskengine image. It loads data from JSON files into the data model as part of the build process. The JSON files are created by synthea. An open source tool for generating synthetic patient data.

If you use this method, any developer will be able to jump between versions of your software very quickly. If you need to fix a problem on an old version, you can just checkout that version tag, build the image (which will load the tables) and make the changes you want looking at that exact version with the exact data needed for it to work.

When you are done, you can go back to your previous branch, rebuild the image again using the current source code (and data in CSV/JSON files) and keep going with your new features.

Just to be clear: I don't mean you shouldn't use Durable %SYS. You must use Durable %SYS on Production!

But I have strong reservations about using it on your PC (developer environment). That's all. Even the central development environment (where Unit Tests could be run) wouldn't need it.

But your UAT/QA and Production should definitely use Durable %SYS and you should come up with your own DevOps approach to deploying your software on these environments so you can test the upgrade procedure.

Kind regards,