Tag Archives: bazelcon

A look back at BazelCon ’23 and the launch of Bazel 7

In October ‘23, the Google Bazel team hosted the 7th annual BazelCon, a gathering for the Bazel community and broader Build ecosystem. We welcomed enterprise users and program partners, companies building businesses on top of Bazel, as well as enthusiasts curious to learn more about this space. This year, BazelCon made its debut outside North America and was hosted in the Google Munich office.

BazelCon recap

The Bazel ecosystem is growing. This year, we had over 200 in-person external attendees, over 3K livestream views, and a record number of 120 proposals submitted by the community.

We started the conference with a keynote address by Mícheál Ó Foghlú (Engineering Director at Google), followed by a state-of-the-union address by John Field and Tobias Werth (Engineering Managers at Google).

The Bazel community showcased a series of technical and lightning main-stage talks. To highlight a few:

    • BMW shared insights into how they released several “Bazel cars”
    • JetBrains* announced the preview release of their new Bazel plugin for their IDEs
    • Booking.com walked through their journey of adopting Bazel, thereby reducing CI time from 22 minutes to under 2 minutes and container image size by 80%

Take a look at published recordings of all of these talks at your own leisure.

In addition to hearing from presenters, conference attendees also had the opportunity to engage with each other in smaller, more interactive forums. Through live Q&A with the Bazel team and several Birds of a Feather sessions on topics ranging from authoring rulesets, to collecting usage data responsibly, to IDE integrations, the Bazel community was able to provide direct feedback to the team and spark productive discussions. Make sure to check out published notes from these sessions.

At BazelCon, we also proudly announced the initial release candidate for Bazel 7, which has since launched.

What’s new in Bazel 7?

Bazel 7 is the latest major release on the long-term support (LTS) track. Many multi-year efforts have landed in this release. For example:

Bzlmod: Bzlmod, Bazel's new modular external dependency management system, is now enabled by default (i.e. --enable_bzlmod defaults to true). If your project doesn't have a MODULE.bazel file, Bazel will create an empty one for you. The old WORKSPACE mechanism will continue to work alongside the new Bzlmod-managed system. Learn more about what’s changed since Bazel 6 and what’s coming up in Bazel 8 and 9.

Build without the Bytes (BwoB): Build without the Bytes for builds using remote execution is now enabled by default (i.e. --remote_download_outputs defaults to toplevel). Bazel will no longer try to download any intermediate outputs from the remote server, but only the outputs of requested top-level targets instead. This significantly improves remote build performance. Learn more about BwoB.

Merged analysis and execution (Skymeld): Project Skymeld aims to improve multi-target build performance by removing the boundary between the analysis and execution phases and allowing targets to be independently executed as soon as their analysis finishes.

Platform-based toolchain resolution for Android and C++: This change helps streamline the toolchain resolution API across all rulesets, obviating the need for language-specific flags. It also removes technical debt by having Android and C++ rules use the same toolchain resolution logic as other rulesets. Full details for Android developers are available in the Android Platforms announcement.

Read the full release notes for Bazel 7.

Stay up-to-date with Bazel

We are thankful to everyone who played a role in making BazelCon ‘23 a big success - speakers, contributors, attendees, the planning committee, and more. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

In the meantime, follow along as we work together towards Bazel 8:

If you have any questions or feedback, or would like to share something you’ve built, reach out to [email protected]. We would love to hear from you!

By the Google Bazel team

*Copyright © 2023 JetBrains s.r.o. JetBrains and IntelliJ are registered trademarks of JetBrains s.r.o

More Voices = More Bazel

Posted by Lyra Levin, Technical Writer, Software Engineering

Takeaways from the BazelCon DEI lunch panel

In front of a standing-room-only lunch panel, Minu Puranik asks us, “If there is one thing you want to change [about Bazel’s DEI culture], what would it be and why?”

We’d spent the last hour on three main themes: community culture, fostering trust, and growing our next generation of leaders. Moderated by Minu, the Strategy and Operations leader for DeveloperX & DevRel at Google, our panel brought together a slate of brilliant people from underrepresented genders and populations of color to give a platform to our experiences and ideas. Together with representatives and allies in the community, we explored methods to building inclusivity in our open source community and sought a better understanding of the institutional and systemic barriers to increasing diversity.

Culture defines how we act, which informs who feels welcome to contribute. Studies show that diverse contributor backgrounds yield more and better results, so how do we create a culture where everyone feels safe to share, ask questions, and contribute? Helen Altshuler, co-founder and CEO of EngFlow, relayed her experience, “Having people that can have your back is important to get past the initial push to submit something and feeling like it’s ok. You don’t need to respond to everything in one go. Last year, Cynthia Coah and I gave a talk on how to make contributions to the Bazel community. Best practices which we can apply as a Bazel community: better beginners’ documentation, classifying GitHub issues as "good first issue", and having Slack channels where code owners can play a more active role.” Diving further, we discussed the need to make sure new contributors get positive, actionable feedback to reward them with context and resources, and encourage them to take the risk of contributing to the codebase.

This encouragement of new contributors feeds directly into the next generation of technical influencers and leaders. Eva Howe, co-founder and Legal Counsel for Aspect, addressed the current lack of diversity in the community pipeline. “I’d like to see more trainings like the Bazel Community Day. Trainings serve 2 purposes:

  1. People can blend in, start talking to someone in the background and form connections.
  2. When someone goes through a bootcamp or CS course, Bazel is not mentioned. Nobody cares that the plumbing works until it doesn’t work. We need to educate people and give them that avenue and a good experience to move forward. I struggle with the emotional side of it - I count myself out before I get somewhere. It needs to be a safe space, which it hasn’t been in the past.”

In addition to industry trainings, the audience and panel brought up bootcamps and university classes as rich sources to find and promote diversity, though cautioned that it takes active, ongoing effort to maintain an environment that diverse candidates are willing to stay in. There are fewer opportunities to take risks as part of an underrepresented group, and the feeling that you have to succeed for everyone who looks like you creates a high-pressure environment that is worse for learning outcomes.

To bypass this pipeline problem, we can recruit promising candidates and sponsor them through getting the necessary experience on the job. Lyra Levin, Bazel’s internal technical writer at Google, spoke to this process of incentivizing and recognizing contributions outside the codebase, as a way to both encourage necessary glue work, and pull people into tech from parallel careers more hospitable to underrepresented candidates.

She said, “If someone gives you an introduction to another person, recognize that. Knowing a system of people is work. Knowing where to find answers is work. Saying I’m going to be available and responding to emails is work. If you see a conversation where someone is getting unhelpful pushback, jump in and moderate it. Reward those who contribute by creating a space that can be collaborative and supportive.”

Sophia Vargas, Program Manager in Google’s OSPO (Open Source Programs Office), chimed in, “Create ways to recognize non-code contributions. One example is a markdown file describing other forms of contribution, especially in cases that do not generate activity attached to a name on GitHub.”

An audience member agreed, “A positive experience for the first few PRs is very critical for building trust in the community.”

And indeed, open source is all about building trust. So how do we go about building trust? What should we do differently? Radhika Advani, Bazel’s product manager at Google, suggests that the key is to “have some amazing allies”. “Be kind and engage with empathy,” she continued, “Take your chances - there are lots of good people out there. You have to come from a place of vulnerability.”

Sophia added some ideas for how to be an “amazing ally” and sponsor the careers of those around you. “Create safe spaces to have these conversations. Not everyone is bold enough to speak up or to ask for support, as raising issues in a public forum can be intimidating. Make yourself accessible, or provide anonymous forms for suggestions or feedback — both can serve as opportunities to educate yourself and to increase awareness of diverging opinions.” An audience member added, “If you recognize that an action is alienating to a member of your group, even just acknowledging their experience or saying something to the room can be very powerful to create a sense of safety and belonging.” Another said, “If you’re in a leadership position, when you are forthright about the limits of your knowledge, it gives people the freedom to not know everything.”

So to Minu’s question, what should we do to improve Bazel’s culture?

Helen: Create a governance group on Slack to ensure posts are complying with the community code of conduct guidelines. Review how this is managed for other OSS communities.

Sophia: Institutionalize mentorship; have someone else review what you’ve done and give you the confidence to push a change. Nurture people. We need to connect new and established members of the community.

Lyra: Recruit people in parallel careers paths with higher representation. Give them sponsorship to transition to tech.

Radhika: Be more inclusive. All the jargon can get overwhelming, so let’s consider how we can make things simpler, including with non-technical metaphors.

Eva: Consider what each of us can do to make the experience for people onboarding better.

There are more ways to be a Bazel contributor than raising PRs. Being courageous, vulnerable and open contributes to the culture that creates the code. Maintainers — practice empathy and remember the human on the other side of the screen. Be a coach and a mentor, knowing that you are opening the door for more people to build the product you love, with you. Developers — be brave and see the opportunities to accept sponsorship into the space. Bazel is for everyone.


#BazelCon 2021 Wrap Up

Posted by Joe Hicks, Product Manager, Core Developer

The apps, platforms, and systems that the Bazel community builds with Bazel touch the lives of people around the world in ways we couldn’t have imagined. Through BazelCon, we aim to connect Bazel enthusiasts, the Bazel team, maintainers, contributors, users, and friends in an inclusive and welcoming environment. At BazelCon, the community demonstrates the global user impact of the community—with some quirky and carefully crafted talks, a readout on the State-of-Bazel, an upfront discussion on “Implicit Bias Mitigation,” and community sharing events that remind us that we are not alone in our efforts to build a better world, one line of code at a time.

At BazelCon, the community shared over 24 technical sessions with the 1400+ registrants, which you can watch here at your own pace. Make sure you check out:

Attendees were able to interact with the community and engage with the Bazel team through a series of “Birds of a Feather” (BoF) sessions and a live Q&A session. You can find all of the BoF presentations and notes here.

As announced, soon we will be releasing Bazel 5.0, the updated version of our next generation, multi-language, multi-platform build functionality that includes a new external dependency system, called bzlmod, for you to try out.

We’d like to thank everyone who helped make BazelCon a success: presenters, organizers, Google Developer Studios, contributors, and attendees. If you have any questions about BazelCon, you can reach out to [email protected].

We hope that you enjoyed #BazelCon and "Building Better with Bazel".

Get ready for BazelCon 2020

With only 24 hours to go, BazelCon 2020 is shaping up to be a much anticipated gathering for the Bazel community and broader Build ecosystem. With over 1000 attendees, presentations by Googlers, as well as talks from industry Build leaders from Twitter, Dropbox, Uber, Pinterest, GrabTaxi, and more, we hope BazelCon 2020 will provide an opportunity for knowledge sharing, networking, and community building.

I am very excited by the keynote announcements, the migration stories at Twitter, Pinterest, and CarGurus, as well as technical deep dives on Bazel persistent workers, incompatible target skipping, migrating from Gradle to Bazel, and more. The “sold out” Birds of a Feather sessions and the Live Q&A with the Bazel team will bring the community together to discuss design docs, look at landings, and provide feedback on the direction of Bazel and the entire ecosystem.

We are also pleased to announce that, starting with the next major release (4.0), Bazel will support Long Term Support (LTS) releases as well as regular Rolling releases.

Some benefits of this new release cadence are:
  • Bazel will release stable, supported LTS releases on a predictable schedule with a long window without breaking changes
  • Bazel contributors / rules owners can prepare to support future LTS releases via rolling releases.
  • Bazel users can choose the release cadence that works best for them, since we will offer both LTS releases and rolling releases.
Long Term Support (LTS) releases:
  • We will create an LTS release every ~9 months => new LTS release branch, increment major version number.
  • Each LTS release will include all new features, bug fixes and (breaking) changes since the last major version.
  • Bazel will actively support each LTS branch for 9 months with critical bug fixes, but no new features.
  • Thereafter, Bazel will provide maintenance for two additional years with only security and OS compatibility fixes.
  • Bazel Federation reboot: Bazel will provide strong guidance about the ruleset versions that should be used with each Bazel release so that each user will not have to manage interoperability themselves.
Make sure that you register at http://goo.gle/bazelcon to be a part of the excitement of the premier build conference!

See you all at BazelCon 2020!

By Joe Hicks and the entire Bazel Team at Google