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Microsoft’s newest acquisition has joined the ranks of companies making the container-orchestration platform Kubernetes easier to use with the release of a new open-source tool called Draft.

Deis was acquired by Microsoft in early April and this is the first open-source tool it has released since the deal was finalized, said Gabe Monroy, the former CTO of Deis and current lead product manager for containers at Microsoft. Draft allows developers to get up and running on Kubernetes in fewer steps and using tools that are already in their toolboxes.

It does this by focusing on “the inner loop,” as Monroy calls it, referring to the basic environment in which a developer writes code that has yet to be uploaded to a development server. Developers writing apps in one of six languages — Python, Node.js, Java, Ruby, PHP, Go — can simply enter a “draft create” command and Draft will spin up a Dockerfile and Kubernetes Helm chart for that application.

A view of Draft, a new open-source tool to help developers with Kubernetes. (Courtesy: Microsoft)

A second command called “draft up” then uploads that application code to a Kubernetes cluster, where it is built and deployed in a testing environment where the developer can see what the app looks like, Monroy said. Developers can also make changes to the app in their local machine’s development environment while it’s live on that test server, syncing changes.

As Kubernetes gathers steam as the container orchestration product of choice among development organizations, a lot of work is being done to make it easier to use. At GlueCon last week, Heptio released ksonnet to make it easier to reuse code libraries on Kubernetes. (Heptio CTO Joe Beda will be speaking at our Cloud Tech Summit next week.)

One complication of the modern cloud-native app-development world is that developers like to write code on their laptops, but those machines aren’t capable of modeling all the of dependencies on external resources that are part and parcel of cloud-native apps. Draft bridges that gap, allowing app developers to stay in their safe space while still allowing the app to access the cloud.

Following the Microsoft acquisition, Monroy said he got lots of questions about whether or not the Deis team would continue to contribute to the open-source community, and hopefully this announcement puts those questions to rest.

“I am not a big believer in releasing open-source (software) and then walking away,” he said. Draft can be found here.

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