Generate Traces from Build Pipelines | Honeycomb

Generate Traces from Build Pipelines

Honeycomb’s buildevents generates distributed traces from work in a build pipeline. It is installed during the setup phase and invoked as part of each step to visualize the build as a trace in Honeycomb.

The resulting trace represents the entire build. It includes spans for each section and subsection of the build, representing groups of actual commands that are run. The duration of each span is how long that stage or specific command took to run and includes whether or not the command succeeded.

The following is an example trace that shows a build that ran on CircleCI. It goes through starting the trace to building services to running tests. Each span has a custom and standard context representing each part of the build pipeline.

CircleCI Tracing View

Before You Begin 

Determine if your build environment is supported by buildevents:

  • Travis CI
  • CircleCI
  • GitLab CI
  • Buildkite
  • Jenkins X
  • Google Cloud Build
  • GitHub Actions
  • Bitbucket Pipelines


Using buildevents requires the following:

Use the step-by-step guides below for CircleCI, GitHub Actions, or GitLab. Each guide provides a hands-on walkthrough on how to use and configure the buildevents for a specific CI/CD build environment against a sample app with a predefined build pipeline.

Each guide shows how to:

  • Use buildevents for the respective build
  • Iteratively construct a trace by adding more incremental visibility to each step
  • Use the Honeycomb UI to visualize and debug your build pipeline
  • Avoid common pitfalls when working with the CI tool and Honeycomb’s buildevents

CircleCI Github Gitlab

If using a provider not listed in a guide above, you can still use the buildevents binary by following the steps described in the buildevents repository.

Generate Queries and Boards for CI/CD 

Honeycomb provides a Terraform module, which automatically generates a set of queries and boards within Honeycomb for CI/CD integrations. Use this “Honeycomb Buildevents Starter Pack” as a starting point when exploring your pipeline data.

To install, refer to the Terraform module README. Installation requires a minimal configuration added to a .tf file and setting an API key environment variable.