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A diagram of how Chef’s Habitat Builder fits into the software development process. (Chef Image)

Chef is ready to release a commercial version of the Habitat open-source project — Habitat Builder — that lets software development organizations create and release software at a faster clip.

Modern software development thinking holds that faster is better, at least when it comes to building and maintaining applications. Habitat Builder is designed for “modern app teams” that want to take code from their Github repositories and turn it into consistent containerized packages for deployment on Docker, Kubernetes or other public cloud services, said Marc Holmes, vice president of marketing at Chef.

The rush to containerize all the apps (well, a lot, anyway) is well underway at this point. But containers can be built with a variety of approaches, and that can cause problems down the road, especially when it comes to maintaining apps, Holmes said.

Habitat Builder allows you to build an app from Github code without having to first specify where the containers will eventually wind up, which allows you to make those decisions later in the process and makes it easier to ensure standards across your packages, Holmes said.

Builder is being released as a free preview for now — “we just want to make sure it works,” Holmes joked — and the company will announce pricing later in the year.

Habitat Builder is a classic example of a commercial software product built atop a open-source project; Habitat, maintained by Chef, which allows users to accomplish many of these same goals as the expense of integrating and supporting the technology on their own. Habitat was released in 2016, and is the third leg of the open-source stool that underpins Chef’s commercial products, alongside Inspec and Chef.

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