How does Packer fit into Waypoint

Hi all. This question will betray my ignorance of Waypoint, please guide me towards the light.

As a premise, I will say that the idea of Waypoint is very appealing to me, but try as I might, I just don’t… get it yet. I’ve tried a few times to do something useful with Waypoint, but I keep getting confused by a few concepts which are new and foreign to me.

First of all, I don’t understand the implicit reliance on Docker. Surely there are other ways to “just deploy”. The introduction of buildpacks was a curveball that I’m still wrapping my head around too. In fact, I can’t understand why buildpacks were included here, when there’s a perfectly good Packer like right there. On the other hand, I trust Hashicorp to “Do the Right Thing”, so I suspect if I can understand the reasoning here, I will find some deeper understanding.

So I’ll ask: why does Waypoint seem to ignore Packer? What’s the deal with Packer and buildpacks? Are they alternatives to each other? Are they complimentary?

Help a dude out…

Hello, this is a good question!

This is an artifact of the first few sets of plugins we built rather than anything core to Waypoint or its philosophy. We built for Docker-based workflows first because that is very popular, but Waypoint’s plugin system and core data model is completely compatible with VM image (or any other type of image) based workflows as well.

A strong Packer story was on our 0.1 roadmap and we pushed it to limit scope for the 0.1 release and hit our proposed timelines.

They’re very much complimentary!

We’d love to work again on a Packer workflow, but I think something that would help is hearing what you’d want out of Waypoint. Please don’t get bogged down in what Waypoint is or should be for this question, I’m genuinely curious: what problem are you trying to solve and what would be your ideal workflow? You may help us design the Packer solution here. :slight_smile: