Announcing Public Beta Phase

We are proud to announce that we are now entering our semi-public beta phase.

What is Harrow?

Harrow is a new take on what a CI can, and should be in a modern software development environment.

Harrow differentiates itself from other CI tools by focusing on collaboration, transparency and flexibility. Most other CI tools expect the build configuration to be expressed in configuration files, or for processes to be fully automatic (continuous delivery) or rely on the expert knowledge of meaningful source control tags or references, Harrow does not.

  • Harrow runs every “job” (build, release, deploy, we make no distinction) in a Docker container in a virtual machine with root access, and the Docker daemon available.
  • Harrow allows builds to be started periodically (Cron), at a specific time in the future, or triggered by external processes such as webhooks, via our API, or via our command line client.
  • Harrow is a JSON API with both a Javascript single-page-application (SPA) client, and a cross platform Go-lang command line client.
  • Harrow adds access control, and a concept of “membership” roles, members, managers, or owners, and will provide the facility for example for non-technical team members to to be granted safe access to common tasks such as checking if backups have been successfully run to completion, or to selectively run tasks certain environments, such as “Deploy” in “Staging” but not “Production”.
  • Harrow provides special mechanisms for the secure storage of secrets such as API tokens and SSH credentials backed by Vault.
  • Harrow is unique in that a “project” may consist of more than one repository, and jobs for that project are executed in an environment with access to all the code from all the repositories. We learned this important for companies as modern applications.
  • Harrow supports Two-Factor-Authentication ( TOTP ) on launch day because we understand that your CI might be a valuable target.

Who are we anyway?

We are a team of five, privately funded from Europe, bootstrapped almost to completion out of the profits of a software development agency that two of the founders have owned and operated for four years, with a helping hand from a business angel to get us to market in a timely fashion.

Our founder and CTO Lee Hambley has maintained the massively popular Ruby on Rails deployment tool “Capistrano” since 2008. Capistrano has enjoyed more than 10,000,000 downloads, and has been the subject of many, many books, as well as having enjoyed a prominent following in the WordPress, PHP, Python and Node.js communities. Capistrano was originally a project of 37 Signals, the original creators of the Rails framework for Ruby.

Lee has maintained Capistrano in his free time for a number of years, and Harrow was born out of a desire to make community software, and open source a more serious part of his professional life.

Harrow is not open source, yet, but we are committed to finding a business model where that is possible, after securing the company and platform’s financial future.

How “beta” is “beta”?

During the beta phase, we’ll be working more on our command line client, which is currently functional, however must be expanded to cover the complete API. We’ll also be working on the API documentation, which in the launch build-up phase have been heavily neglected.

Within the platform a few things are less than perfectly functional, Git credentials for the HTTPS transport, for example. We also have a lot of work to do on the behavior of webhooks, and polling Git repositories for changes in situations where webhooks can’t, or won’t work.

On that side of notifications, alerts, and activity streams, we have a lot of work to do, but we don’t want to let this hold us back from getting valuable feedback from early adopters.

In particular, the finer points of how we deal with testing branches, pull requests, deal with webhooks, and build parameters, and how the notifications are all wired up, are all things where you, the customer knows best.

You can suggest any improvements at any time at our support portal where we’ll be happy to hear about, and implement your ideas.

During the beta phase, you can contact our founding team at, where someone will get back to you. We built the support mechanism so you can easily add our staff to your project, and we can help you as if we were a member of your team, when everything is up and running, you can simply remove us from the project without worrying that we still have lingering access to your valuable intellectual property.

The Roadmap

During Q3 2015 Harrow will start production testing with a handful of companies and battle-test the infrastructure that underpins the platform.

During Q4 we will conclude the beta and alpha testing phases, and will enter general availability with plans priced to suit individuals, small teams, SMEs and larger enterprises and of course a free plan program for open source contributors and students.

Based on consumer demand we’ll also be expanding our program of private-cloud installations which we’re currently testing with a couple of customers, and offering an on-site, self-hosted version for companies who are particularly conscious about security.

If you are interested in exploring either of these options with us, contact us at founders@harrow.ioand talk to one of us about how this would ideally look for your company, and we’ll do our best to make it happen.

How to stay informed?

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus for more information, or simply create an account, and fill-in the small “technological fit” survey, we’re opening as many accounts to new customers as we can whilst still maintaining the quality of service we would expect in your position.

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  • Trigger tasks automatically based on Git changes and webhooks.
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Lee is founding CTO of and long-time maintainer of Capistrano, the de-facto standard tool for deployment and automation of Rails projects, amongst others.

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