Deploying App Connect Enterprise applications from a CI/CD pipeline

Sharing an example Tekton pipeline for deploying an IBM App Connect Enterprise application to Red Hat OpenShift.

This post is about a repository I’ve shared on github at dalelane/app-connect-tekton-pipeline. It contains an example of how to use Tekton to create a CI/CD pipeline that builds and deploys an App Connect Enterprise application to Red Hat OpenShift.

The pipeline uses the IBM App Connect Operator to easily build, deploy and manage your applications in containers. The pipeline runs on OpenShift to allow it to easily be integrated into an automated continuous delivery workflow without needing to build anything locally from a developer’s workstation.

For background information about the Operator, and the different types of Kubernetes resources that this pipeline will create (e.g. IntegrationServer and Configuration), see these blog posts:



There are two pipelines in the repository.

  • image builder
    • This builds a container image that the second pipeline uses to build App Connect BAR files.
    • You only need to run this once on your OpenShift cluster – once you have your builder image, you can reuse it every time you need to build and deploy your App Connect application.
  • application deployer
    • This builds and deploys your App Connect Enterprise application.
    • You need to run this every time your application has changed and you want to deploy the new version to OpenShift.

Image builder pipeline

What the pipeline does

Builds a container image used by the application deployer pipeline to build BAR files.

Outcome from running the pipeline

A new container image is pushed to the OpenShift image registry in the pipeline-ace namespace, which has everything needed to run the mqsicreatebar command.


screenshot of the pipeline tasks


When running App Connect Enterprise in containers, there is a lot of flexibility about how much of your application is built into your container image, and how much is provided when the container starts.

For background reading on some of the options, and some of the considerations about them, see the blog post:

Comparing styles of container-based deployment for IBM App Connect Enterprise

The pipelines in the repository provide almost all parts of your application at runtime when the container starts. The only component that is baked into the image is the application BAR file.

Baking the BAR files into custom App Connect images prevents the need to run a dedicated content server to host BAR files, however if you would prefer to do that see the documentation on Mechanisms for providing BAR files to an integration server for more details on how to do this. (The pipelines in the repository use the approach described as “Custom image” in that documentation.)

Building this image is kept separate from the application deployer pipeline because it takes a long time (over 20 minutes) to run. Reusing the build image means application deployments can be much quicker.

Application deployer pipeline

What the pipeline does

Builds your IBM App Connect Enterprise application and deploys it to the OpenShift cluster.

Outcome from running the pipeline

A new version of your application is deployed with zero-downtime – replacing any existing version of the app once it is ready.


screenshot of the deploy pipeline tasks


As discussed above, most of your application configuration will be provided to your application container at runtime by the Operator using Configuration resources.

As shown in the screenshot above, this example pipeline currently supports many, but not all, of the types of Configuration resource:

For more information about the other Configuration types, see the documentation on Configuration types for integration servers. Adding support for any of these additional types would involve adding additional tasks to the tasks provided in this repo – the existing tasks are commented to help assist with this.

Each of these configuration resources is individually optional. Two example App Connect applications are provided to show how the pipeline supports different application types.

Simple stand-alone applications

The pipeline can be used to deploy a stand-alone application with no configuration dependencies.


This is a simple App Connect application with no external configuration.


When deploying this, the pipeline skips all of the Configuration tasks:

screenshot of a pipeline run for the simple app

Watching the pipeline run looks like this (except it takes longer).

animated gif

Complex applications

The pipeline can be used to deploy complex applications with multiple configuration dependencies and supporting Java projects.


This is an example of an App Connect application that needs configuration for connecting to:

  • a PostgreSQL database
  • an external HTTP API
  • an Apache Kafka cluster


When deploying this, the pipeline runs all of the Configuration tasks required for this application:

screenshot of a pipeline run for the complex app

Watching the pipeline run (also sped up!) it looks like this.

animated gif

To avoid needing to store credentials in git with your application code, the pipeline retrieves credentials from Kubernetes secrets. When configuring the pipeline for your application you need to specify the secrets it should use to do this.

Sample apps

I’ve put notes on how I set up the sample apps to demonstrate the pipeline in demo-pre-reqs/ however neither of the sample apps are particularly useful and were purely used to test and demo the pipeline.

You can import them into App Connect Toolkit to edit them if you want to by:

  1. File -> Import… -> Projects from Folder or Archive
  2. Put the location of the ace-projects folder as the Import source.
  3. Tick all of the projects

That will let you open the projects and work on them locally. If you’re curious what they do, I’ll include some brief notes below:

Simple app

It provides an HTTP endpoint that returns a Hello World message.

screenshot of the message flow

Running this:

curl http://$(oc get route -nace-demo hello-world-http -o jsonpath='{}')/hello"

returns this:

{ "hello" : "world" }

Complex app

It provides an intentionally contrived event-driven flow that:

  • “Kafka consumer todo updates”
    • receives a JSON message from a Kafka topic
  • “get id from update message”
    • parses the JSON message and extracts an ID number from it
    • uses the id number to create an HTTP URL for an external API
  • “retrieve current todo details”
    • makes an HTTP GET call to the external API
  • “base64 encode the description”
    • transforms the response from the external API using a custom Java class
  • “insert into database”
    • inserts the transformed response payload into a PostgreSQL database

screenshot of the message flow

The aim of this application was to demonstrate an ACE application which needed a variety of Configuration resources.

But it means that running this:

echo '{"id": 1, "message": "quick test"}' | \
    --bootstrap-server $BOOTSTRAP \
    --topic TODO.UPDATES \
    --producer-property "security.protocol=SASL_SSL" \
    --producer-property "sasl.mechanism=SCRAM-SHA-512" \
    --producer-property " required username="appconnect-kafka-user" password="$PASSWORD";" \
    --producer-property "ssl.truststore.location=ca.p12" \
    --producer-property "ssl.truststore.type=PKCS12" \
    --producer-property "ssl.truststore.password=$CA_PASSWORD"    

gets you this:

store=# select * from todos;
 id | user_id |       title        |            encoded_title             | is_completed
  1 |       1 | delectus aut autem | RU5DT0RFRDogZGVsZWN0dXMgYXV0IGF1dGVt | f
(1 row)

Configuring the pipeline for your App Connect Enterprise application

The image builder pipeline can be run as-is as described above, as it is a generic pipeline for creating a container image for building App Connect apps.

To run the application deployer for your own application, you need to first create a PipelineRun.

The sample pipeline runs described above provide a good starting point for this, which you can modify to your own needs. You need to specify the location of your App Connect Enterprise application code and configuration resources. All of the available parameters are documented in the pipeline spec if further guidance is needed.

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