Welcome TO FIST 2023

2nd International Workshop on the

Foundations of Infrastructure Specification and Testing

In conjunction with the 20th IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture (ICSA 2023)

The current IT market is increasingly dominated by the “need for speed”. This need is reflected in the trending use of tactics which shorten the software development cycle and also intermix software development activities with IT operations, a trend commonly referred to as DevOps. As part of the DevOps menu, many practices entail re-using standard tools from software development (e.g., code-versioning, code-revision management, etc.) to manage what is known as Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC). IaC promotes concentrating knowledge and experience of infrastructures within a single commonly available, versionable, trackable and executable source file (literally) rather than traditionally pressuring such knowledge solely on system administrators. IaC covers automations for integration (compiling, testing, etc.), deployment (host procurement and configuration), and more.

The IaC trend has attracted and is continuing to attract a lot of attention from both academia and industry, warranting for a considerable relevance of the workshop both for theory and practice around the proposed topics. More specifically, academic and industrial studies indicate that looking at automating support to infrastructure code is crucial to obtaining actionable insights, practices, and patterns useful to enhance software development and continuous operation in many possible ways.

This workshop represents both an opportunity for the exploratory depiction of the current state-of-practice along the lines of IaC development and quality assessment as well as a call to action for further work and transfer of theoretical-practical research around IaC from academia towards IaC practitioners in industry. From a theoretical and practical implications perspective, the workshop offers plenty of opportunities:

FIST 2023 will be an in-person event co-located with ICSA 2023 (L'Aquila, Italy) - 13th March 2023

This edition of FIST focuses on the following topics:

  • Infrastructure-as-Code programming practices, e.g., programming model;

  • Patterns and methodologies for the integration of IaC processes in software architectures

  • Reflexivity and readability of IaC;

  • Program understanding and auto-repair;

  • Design and operations patterns;

  • Testing and test-case generation;

  • Interoperability e higher-level languages;

  • Code transformations;

  • Formal models/analysis;

  • Static analysis;

  • Code or community smells elaborated in the context of IaC;

  • Automated completion and Linting;

  • Recommender systems;

  • Constraint languages;

  • Distributed/decentralized models;

The expected outcomes are

1. Both researchers and practitioners, the workshop could reveal key differences in the infrastructure programming models which are not known currently and would reflect the state-of-the-art work in the field.

2. Participants could be provided with key insights on the intricate dependencies between software architecture and the usage of IaC.

3. Researchers could be provided with valuable lessons over where and how successfully has IaC design and management been supported, and over how have IaC solutions been integrated in modern software architectures.

4. Practitioners could be provided with key technology “out-takes” and research results or emerging technologies, which would be valuable in their infrastructure coding exercises.

5. The workshop could be the starting point to define one or a set of formats that could support the rigorous specifications, testing and formal verification of IaC files included in turnkey solutions and incremental processes.

6. Practitioners and researchers can be provided with a set of “best practices” for the management of IaC files and on how software architectures could help integrate IaC-based processes.

7. A final plenary discussion session will have the goal of discussing and redacting a research roadmap for the specification, the testing, and the efficient integration in software architectures of IaC files and processes. The roadmap will include the lesson learned, practices and outcomes of the previous sessions.

8. A specially-designed magazine Special Issue (SI) with the intent of not only synthesizing the proceedings of the workshop in a succinct and practice-oriented foreword but also to gather top papers around FIST to offer them for wider use and even wider audience.