These are the tools you’ll need to work on and collaborate with others on the Platform.

  • Everyone should get access to Slack, GitHub, and ZenHub.

  • Developers should also get access to Jenkins, Grafana, and Sentry.

Slack

  1. Ask your Program Manager to request an invitation to the Digital Service @ VA Slack. Instructions for this are here.

  2. Check your email for the Slack invitation and join!

  3. Add information to your Slack profile:

    • Profile image

    • Full name

    • What I do

      • Recommended format: Program/Team - Role [Company], i.e. Platform/FE Tools - Product Manager [Oddball]

    • Time zone

    • Pronouns

    • GitHub (i.e. the account handle / username you created when you set up your GitHub account)

GitHub

Getting access to the VA GitHub organization

  1. Ask your Program Manager to submit an Add User to the VA Organization ticket.

    • The ticket submitter will need to have VA GitHub Org access already.

    • Ask your Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) to post their approval on this ticket to expedite the approval process.

    • This process is managed by the VA GitHub admins, not by the Platform, and may take a few days to process.

  2. Once your ticket is processed, check your email for an invitation to the VA GitHub Organization, and join!

    • Note: Make sure you’re signed into the correct GitHub account before you accept the invitation.

  3. Once you've been added, add information to your GitHub profile:

    • Organization: Your company name

    • Working on: The project your team is working on, e.g., "526 ancillary forms"

Getting repo access

GitHub repo access is managed through the Platform Orientation process.

  1. Visit the Platform Orientation page and follow the instructions for new team members.

    • Note: You will not be able to assign the ticket to yourself however the ticket can still be completed and ready for Platform action.

ZenHub

See details and orientation on ZenHub.

ZenHub is used by the Platform team for issue tracking and management.

Additional access for researchers and designers

These tools are specifically for researchers and designers to use:

Sketch for Teams

To access Sketch for Teams, reach out to Kevin Hoffman in the #design Slack channel.

VA Research Repository

To access the va.gov-research-repository, reach out to Shane Strassberg in the #research-ops Slack channel.

Additional access for developers

Several internal tools for development are only accessible within the VA network. Access to developers outside the VA network is made available via a SOCKS proxy.

SOCKS access

  1. Follow the instructions for setting up SOCKS access on the Internal tools access via SOCKS proxy page. Once access is granted, you can move on to the next step.

  2. Test accessing Jenkins, Grafana, and Sentry through the SOCKS proxy (see links below). When logging into these services for the first time click the button Login with GitHub or similar. You might be prompted to link your GitHub account and be presented with a permissions dialog. Allow the service to access your account and view your Organization membership.

Tools overview

Datadog

Datadog is a monitoring tool managed by DOTS. Datadog is not currently supported for VFS teams. Support for VFS teams will be addressed as part of an upcoming initiative (see #33081).

Jenkins

With the SOCKS proxy set up and running, go to http://jenkins.vfs.va.gov. You can see the builds without logging in, but will need to authenticate (with GitHub OAuth) to re-run failed builds.

Sentry

With the SOCKS proxy set up and running, go to http://sentry.vfs.va.gov. You can sign in using your GitHub account by clicking the "Login with GitHub" button on the login page.

We use Sentry teams to separate production, staging, and dev errors. To view the most recent production errors, which is the most common thing to do while on call, go to http://sentry.vfs.va.gov/vets-gov/platform-api-production/ .

Grafana

With the SOCKS proxy set up and running, go to http://grafana.vfs.va.gov/login . You can sign in using your GitHub account by clicking the "GitHub" button on the login page.

There are many dashboards and you should click around to get familiar with the variety of metrics being collected and visualized (make sure Data Source is set to Production). A few highlights are:

  • Site provides overall metrics about the health of the site.

  • External Service Status allows you to see the availability of the services VA.gov depends on.

  • RDS provides database statistics.

  • Rev Proxy provides metrics on the reverse proxies.

AWS console access

Our infrastructure is hosted in AWS GovCloud. This account is shared amongst many different teams; changes made to resources in this account will affect many services. You may need access to AWS for troubleshooting, log file review, or to apply changes to the running instances and services.

In order to be granted AWS Console access, your PIV background (eQIP adjudication) check needs to be underway. All AWS Console access requests will be reviewed by OCTO-DE. This process can take days or weeks. For Platform Infrastructure team members, AWS access can be expedited.

If you're not certain you need access to AWS, don’t file this request. It can always be filed later if you do end up needing access. 

  1. Open an AWS Access Request Issue, explaining the type of access you'll need. Monitor the issue for updates and respond to any questions.

  2. When your account has been set up, you'll receive a Slack private message with your temporary password and login URL.

  3. Log in and change the temporary password immediately. AWS will prompt you to change your password during the first login.

  4. Follow the instructions for MFA set up.

    • Setting up a virtual MFA device is required to access services in the AWS cloud and programmatically via the CLI.