Instantly Run An App in the Cloud 2

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Commandeer the command line power of OpenShift


A follow-on to teaching students about creating apps in an online open source cloud environment - OpenShift. This time students focus on command-line driven tools, and the backends of building and deploying new application code via git.

After successfully completing this activity, the learner should be able to:
  • Give instructor SSH access
  • Install and run "rhc" command-line client tool
  • Understand behind-the-scenes workflow of "git push"
  • Add custom build and deployment code
  • Synchronize Local and Live Environments (Test vs Prod)
Process Skills

Build phase.png


What is the rational for this activity?

This second portion of the cloud app activity goes a little deeper and focuses on de-facto technologies like ssh / shell-access and git / github. Students will now take their new-found knowledge of the cloud paradigm and start to understand how it can link to a more technically flexible solution set. They can now customize their apps via editing and pushing code via a git publication process.

You will want to have already stepped through this preceding activity: Instantly_Run_An_App_in_the_Cloud


Give Instructor SSH Access:

In order to fully inspect your work, the instructor will need access to your SSH shell that you created. You do not, however, want to give your same private key away. You could, but it is not the best industry practice. Instead, you will want to setup access for the instructors Username and his particular Public Key. Given a Public Key and username access, the instructor can get in with their secret Private Key.

You are encouraged to look up instructions on the web or help each other in the classroom.

You will need:


Instructor will need:


Do this early, so that you can work through issues. Undoubtedly there will be issues and a need to troubleshoot them. You will be graded on your ability to navigate these issues early.

Ensure proper file access rights

Additionally, assure that the user you create for your instructor has the right file and directory access privileges.

OpenShift Tutorial 2

Priorly, we setup Wordpress blogging software and used it. Now we will dive into more usage of the command line, specifically the rhc command, and what occurs when new code is added via git push. Additionally we will learn how to run it all on your local laptop, so that you can test and develop in a safe environment before you push it live (into production).

Follow this tutorial:


  1. Get instructor access to your applications SSH shell, so that they can check your work.
  2. Create another blog post, with public URL, that tells:
    1. What troubles or more info you came across
      • This 2nd edition was much more technical and likely lead to some troubleshooting.
      • Tell a small story; 1-2 paragraphs.
    2. Your understanding of what steps OpenShift implements when you do a simple "git push"
      • This is the build and deploy process
      • Talk about what you added to customize the build process
    3. The pro's and con's of synchronizing to a Local / Test coding environment
      • Why might you want to do testing locally on your laptop, instead of out on the Live / Production cloud app?
      • Is the process given in the tutorial cumbersome? Could you find anything better?


Criteria Level 1 (fail) Level 2 (pass) Level 3 (exceptional)
Give instructor SSH access No access; Didnt attempt Instructor can login but may not have access to files Instructor can login and proper user access is given
Understand behind-the-scenes workflow of "git push" No explanation in blog about this Explanation in the blog of the five steps Explanation in the blog of the five steps and which files can be customized and when they are triggered (hooked)
Add custom build and deployment code Hook files not edited or working Customized action_hooks files that are documented in the blog writeup Customized action_hooks files that are documented in the blog writeup and that tried something *different* from what the tutorial did
Synchronize Local and Live Environments (Test vs Prod) No explanation in blog Explanation in blog telling the pro's and con's of this method Explanation in blog telling the difference between Testing and Production, why this is beneficial, and what other methods might be available or better/worse


What should the instructor know before using this activity?

  • Instructor should become familiar with the SSH public/private access mechanism

What are some likely difficulties that an instructor may encounter using this activity?

  • Getting yourself SSH access to each students application shell may prove to be some upfront work for yourself
    • Make it clear to students that you want this done early (give them a deadline)
    • Grade them on this
    • Work through it with them; Give them feedback so that they can troubleshoot
    • This is a very realistic professional situation:
      • Not a lot of direction
      • given an end-goal
      • need to work with another person (you)
      • explorative troubleshooting is likely
  • Assure that YOU are crystal clear with sharing SSH access
    • Practice it with another teacher or colleague or system
    • Otherwise, you could be doing something wrong on your end, and the students wont be able to properly troubleshoot

Additional Information

Area & Unit(s)

PD. Parallel and Distributed Computing / PD - Cloud Computing, PBD - Platform-based Development / PBD Web Platforms


Cloud services , Infrastructure as a service, Web programming languages (e.g., HTML5, Java Script, PHP, CSS) , Web platform constraints



Estimated Time
to Complete

5-6 hours

Environment /

What does the student need? Internet access, Wordpress application from prior activity, Their own laptop with shell access


Nick Yeates, Vinh Quốc Nguyễn



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


Suggestions to Open Source Mentors

Suggestions for an open source community member who is working in conjunction with the instructor.

  • Does your project utilize the linux command line and do you SSH into boxes?
    • Explain to students how important these basic command-line skills are in developing today.
  • Does your project or professional life use the concept of "Testing" and "Production"
    • Explain to students how this is a separation that many project use in differing degrees and ways
Personal tools
Learning Resources
HFOSS Projects