Podcast audio transcript

DrupalEasy Podcast S15E1 - Randy Fay - DDEV project governance and health

Audio transcript


[0:00] Music.

[0:05] Hey now and welcome back to the drupal Easy Podcast.

This is season 15, episode one.

It's great to be back and we have a great set of episodes planned for the next few weeks.

The theme of this season is open source projects related to drupal.

In today's episode, I will be talking with Randy Fay from the D DEV project and we will be talking all about D DEV, project governance and health.

Before we get to the interview, let me tell you a little bit about drupal Easy's newest long form drupal training course, professional module development.

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The curriculum includes an entire section on just getting your development environment ready.

This includes topics including P HPC SPHP, Stan X debug, Visual Studio code PHP, Storm Lando and D DEV.

We will dive deep into drupal topics such as custom plugins and services, the Q API, the batch API entity query and lots and lots of object oriented PHP coding.

[1:35] In addition, we will go deep into cashing, writing custom drush commands and we will be writing PHP unit tests throughout the 15 week course.

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There's also a light version of the course, which is 30 less hours and that begins on August 22nd.

[2:19] Get all this information and more at drupal easy dot com slash P MD.

Welcome back to the drupal Easy Podcast. Randy Fay, how are you doing, Randy?

I am doing well. Great to see you again. Yeah, you too.

So, for the few people who listen to the drupal Easy Podcast who don't already know who Randy is.

Uh, Randy is a long time, uh drupal community member. Uh, for a long time you were involved in, in, in commerce.

Yeah, for a year, for a year or so. I was, uh, I, I actually worked for them but way back in the day but uh I did a whole bunch of, I did a whole bunch of videos and stuff at that time.

So I think those lasted a few years. People still make comments on them. It's amazing.

So, you only actually worked for them for a year?

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I would have guessed it was 67 years, probably because of longevity of those videos.

[3:22] I imagine that was it. Yeah. Yeah. Well, these days, uh, Randy is the uh, maintainer or one of the, let's, how about the lead maintainer?

What's the, what's the call that go with it, the lead maintainer of the project and the D project is our topic today.

Although we're gonna be doing something a little bit different.

Uh Today, we're not gonna be talking about like the technology or the commands or the features of D DEV.

We're gonna be talking about the D project and its health and governance and some of the things that, that Randy's and other members of the DD community are doing to ensure the health of the D DEV project.

So first of all, I do want to mention the best place to get in touch with other D DEV folks these days is on Discord.

And that's kind of like the home base for AD DEV uh live interaction, interactive uh conversation.

[4:19] I know Randy, you're still, you still pop into the Pound D channel in the drupal Slack.

But I think for the most part, you are trying to get people to be comfortable using the, the uh Discord channel and D I think I have that. All right.

Yeah. Which the, the, the reason is that we want everybody to be in the same place because people from the various communities have the same problems and they can help each other sort those out.

So if, if people hang out only in the drupal Slack, then the type of three people don't see that and they can't help, then the craft C MS people can't help or benefit from the conversation.

So, if we're all in one place, it's, it's a better thing.

Do you have any idea of the breakdown of de users between the different communities?

[5:06] I probably do, but I haven't looked at it lately.

That would be interesting. I, I have definitely looked at that before.

Um Craft C MS of course, made it their official development environment six or nine months ago or something.

And so we've had a big influx from there and Typo three made it their official, I don't know, 34 or five years ago.

And they've been incredible contributors along the way.

But we have, we have folks from Lara Bell and Magento Two and all kinds of things.

But I don't know whether those are as, um, I don't know, I, I don't, I don't see them as exactly community.

They're people that use it from those communities and they probably use it for everything they're working on. Right. Right.

Folks should also be aware if, if for those of you that attended or uh kind of paid attention to what was happening at drupal Con Pittsburgh, Randy recently won the Aaron Win Bone Award within the drupal community.

So that was uh quite an honor, I believe for you, Randy. Any, any thoughts about that?

Uh It was just to me the most amazing thing.

Hey, you know, I don't, I, I won't go into it or I deserve it or somebody else deserves it.

There's so many deserving people that's, but to me being a part of a community that makes an award like that, a primary thing, like they put it at the beginning of the trees note and they, you know, they focus on.

[6:31] Um you know, integrity and kindness and.

[6:36] Um and, and mentorship and those, those kind of things and community.

I just think that's amazing and I don't even know of any other awards of this type in the drupal community.

And to think that that is the key one and that it goes on year after year and just reinforces that idea that what we value as a community.

Is kindness and mentorship and community.

That, that's so impressive. I'm so proud to be a member of a community that thinks like that.

And it, it's quite a group of winners that your name is now amongst as well. That is quite an honor.

[7:18] Uh So one more accolade uh I want to mention here the results of the 2023 drupal local development survey uh have recently been released.

And I don't know, Randy, you tell me, is it surprising that DD is uh has the highest share of as far as local development environments is?

[7:38] Yeah, I was, I was surprised, I, you know, I pay attention to it and of course, we don't really think of ourselves as um competitors to the other solutions, you know, especially like Lando and Dox.

There are, there are collaborators, we all face the same issues.

We all work on the same thing and we try to help people out in the same way.

All good folks, all good friends.

But I was surprised to see uh did pop pop up.

I mean, it's been a couple of years since the survey has been done, but I was surprised to see that with, on top there.

So do you attribute, well, maybe it's more something I can say because I think I know what the reason for all that is and you might be too modest to, to say and we're gonna kind of get into some of those things in, in this interview.

So, um, let's first go to, um, something that happened uh, last year, I'm not even sure of, of, of the timing, but for a little while there, the, the future of the D project and the, the, the, the support behind the D project was a little bit in flux until the folks at platform dot sh stepped up and decided to sponsor you full time to work on D DEV.

[8:50] So how much of an impact did that have overall on the project?

Well, I mean, it helps. Uh So just a little background here D uh was sponsored essentially, I mean, the, the company that used to be called Dru that uh lost its funding a couple of years ago had let me work on de and support everybody for five years.

I mean, they, they were generous.

They let me, and, and essentially, I didn't really want to work on any other things they had going, I wanted to work on and they let me do that and they let me, they just let me go when they lost their funding, it didn't actually impact because I just kept going.

The same because that's what my like because I didn't have the big financial needs that a lot of people would have.

And I just, just kept going, I didn't have any concerns, but lots of people in the community did have concerns because they want to see a, a big name behind it.

So, um and there was a little bit of drama that I won't go into about the DD trademark and about the, uh.

[9:53] Uh things like that and, and uh I even thought I might have to fork the project to give it a new name.

Uh But that, that got sorted out by platform. So that was a huge win.

That platform sorted that out. And I should mention that platform has also licensed the D DEV name back to the D uh to the local DEV foundation, which we'll talk about in a bit.

So that's so, so it sorted out a bunch of those things, you know, like from my practical day to day perspective, it was not um you know, like it didn't, didn't interrupt me, didn't, didn't interrupt the community, but from people's perspective.

And of course, from that trademark issue, lots of good stuff done by platform and it took a lot of work by them to make that happen.

And I think those of us who are and have been de users, it was a big sigh of relief about, you know, any angst about the future of the project just kind of melted away.

[10:53] With all of that and I'm sure for you as well.

Yeah, I didn't, I didn't have any angst but I don't want people to have angst, you know.

So, well, it's, it's kind of a big deal for those of us that make their living from drupal who, you know, we need good tools and if we find a tool we like and it works for us and it's flexible, we don't wanna see that tool go away.

That's right. So there's, yeah.

Yeah. Thanks to, thanks to platform for stepping up and doing that and, and, and as you can imagine, it wasn't, um it probably wasn't a, it wasn't a very easy thing.

There were, there were people who were moving on to other responsibilities who stayed to try to make, to drive that home and make that happen inside platform.

So thank you to all of you that worked on that.

So in addition to that, I know that there are a number including drupal of folks who sponsor the project on github.

So I, I don't know what the, what the dollar amount per month or anything is like that.

But is that going towards other contributors to the project or how, how does, what's that money being used for? Yeah.

So um the github sponsors and other ways to contribute, there's, there's many ways to contribute.

Uh github sponsors is easy because you just click a button and go for it and it's done.

[12:08] But we have many other ways we can do support contracts and we can do paypal and all those kinds of things and we do encourage you to do that.

The money that comes in goes to the, the, the highest priority is to other contributors.

Not to me, I don't get anything. I get a salary from platforms.

So there's no, there's no impact on me.

But the, we do have two other contributors uh, that have been, that have been paid.

Um, Simon Gilley in Switzerland and Matt Stein, who's done amazing work on both the docks and the DD dot com.

And so they have, they have been paid, we have uh pretty much used up our spare money already.

So we, we are, uh we are definitely, we have a goal of our current goal that we state is about $10,000 a month.

Our current income is somewhere around 1500 a month.

[13:06] And we would like to make the project sustainable for the long term and not just dependent on me.

And there's a lot of a lot of perspectives on that, but one of them is we want to make sure that it's not just dependent on me and only me being the paid person to do it that other people have the full privileges.

So there's many, many aspects to having a full maintainer.

We want people to have the privileges and the permissions and everything else that they need to do and to know how to do those things.

And that's a, that's a harder job than finding the money.

I'm pretty sure that we'll find the missing money pretty well and we're working on that.

But anyway, that gives you a, a quick overview for a small question.

[13:54] Well, you mentioned money and there has to be a way to manage all that money.

And I guess that brings us to the local Dev Foundation.

So why don't you tell us about that and its origins and where, where that's headed?

You bet. So the local Dev foundation is just a Colorado nonprofit and it will become a 501 C three.

That's the US term for a nonprofit uh that you can do tax deductible donations to, uh which matters to some people.

The local debt foundation will change its name to the DD Foundation this year because we've got that trademark license now.

And um it's, it's, it's mostly just right now.

It's just a thing to have a bank account and to be able to manage infrastructure costs and to pay maintainers.

[14:43] But that's an important, you know, it's kind of a sign or an indicator that the data project is not just all about the technology, but it's about building a project that is sustainable over a long period of time.

That's, that's exactly right. Yeah, and that the advisory group which I know is on your list to talk about um every single meeting for the last two years has been pushing on that saying we gotta work on this.

We gotta make sure we gotta talk about all the sustainable is sustainability issues.

And the um and the money is of course something that money is the easy part, easy part in a way.

But um it's a, it's a fundamental thing and like you say, it's a pointer to the overall maturity and health of the organization.

[15:30] So you mentioned the advisory group, tell us about that. So we have a ad advisory group.

It's an informal group that everybody's invited to.

We meet on the first Wednesday of every second month. So our next one will be in uh the first Wednesday of July.

We do it at a time. That's good for the US and Europe and unfortunately, really bad for Asia and stuff and I apologize for that, but it is great to have as many people as we do there.

Everybody's welcome to it. It's always announced a number of places.

Um I'm always, I, I add people to the invite list as you know, if you just say I'll add you to the invite list, give me your email, I'll give you, you know, put it on there.

Uh But the uh the people that show up every month are really interested in the health of the DEV.

And of course, um they have a, they probably have a bigger say as far as how things turn out and where they go because they, they turn up and make their voices known.

So that's a, it's a, it's a, it's a great group of people.

And like I say, they've been pushing on sustainability and financial sustainability for as long as I can remember.

[16:44] Yeah, I've been to, I think three meetings now and like, I don't believe there's, I've been witness to any technical talk.

It's all about governance, the health of the project and, and making sure that Randy is not the only contributor to the project.

It's, it's all about just kind of growing it and finding new contributors and.

[17:08] Um and enabling folks who want to contribute, but aren't necessarily uh sure how or, or what the mechanics behind that are, which kind of leads me into the new D DEV dot com, which was actually built by a member of the community whose name is not Randy, and yeah, Matt Stein and he did it on his own initiative.

It was a very and, and, and it is a nontrivial thing that he did.

Not only did he build a beautiful new uh static website that everybody can now contribute to.

Uh the repo is D dot com dash front end. So everybody can now contribute to it.

So if you see a, a Typo or something that's out of date, you can do APR which before it was a wordpress site that like, you know, well, how are you gonna fix that?

So it's, it's fantastic. So not only did he do that, but he successfully imported all of the relevant content from the old dusty D dot com, wordpress site, which to me is amazing.

Yeah. And so D dev dot com has, you know, very handy links at the very top to the github project to the outstanding documentation.

It's the home to all of the blog posts, um which I think.

[18:18] Has anyone else blogged from there other than you uh people have over the years, but mostly it's just me but you're I invite you, right? Yeah.

So it's, it's kind of because I know for me, I always have to like when I want to go to documentation, I know now, but say a year ago, I'd always have to like, you know, going to Duck dot go and do like D DEV Docs and I'm like, oh yeah, it's on read the docs dot IO or whatever that is, but it's nice to have like one place where I can just tell folks just go to D dev dot dot com and there's a link there.

Um So it, it's just kind of a nice addition, probably a long overdue, maybe not audition but a long overdue revamping of that.

Well, he, it's, yeah, it's not just that, that he did, he made quick starts that are animated that everybody can take a look at for every platform.

I mean, it's really very impressive. He did a lot of documentation. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

And he's the gatekeeper for the D docks. He has gone through, and looked at every piece with a fine tooth comb and he watches for everything coming into it to make sure that I don't say just so and other things he's like.

[19:35] Yeah, he's not just the grammar police, he's the content, you know, he, he thinks about content and uh how you, how you express how you communicate.

He's a, he's, he's a communicator.

So what are the maybe prospects is the right word? I'm not really sure.

But are there other technical contributors to de de at this point?

There are, you know, here and there, I see some but tell us about, you know, what, what kind of contributions you're seeing on the, on the technical, there, there have been, there have been quite a number of people who have made important technical contributions to D DEV made PR S.

Um it's not that hard to do but.

[20:17] It's not as common at all as I would like it to be. So we have one very long term contributor and maintainer Simon Gilly who uh who's Gilberts soft on, on um all the places and he is, he's got all the keys to everything and is working on some very large pr s and has been very successful with those, but we want more people.

So finding people who can step up the ladder from doc's contributor to um to, you know, feature contributor to maintainer is a key goal and just money isn't gonna do that.

So, one of the things that II I talked to a number of people about this whole class of problem at, at drupal Con.

Um And I uh what some of the things that I want, I mean, obviously, we want to talk, we want to figure out money and we'd like to have some paid contributors.

But the real thing is how do you grow a maintainer? How do you build those skills?

And one of the key ideas there is that I need to teach uh people.

So we're gonna have to have some, we're gonna have to have some classes that I hope people will hold me to, uh, we'll talk about, you know, go, we'll talk about.

[21:37] Is really, actually it's written in go but it's really a hodgepodge of Dev ops things.

If you know a lot of Dev ops, it's not very hard but, uh, you know, it's orchestrated by a go lang, a lot of lines of go lang. But.

Um we have to teach those to people. So giving people a way to grow into that is going to be a good thing.

There's been a number of people that have signed up say, oh, I wanna, I wanna do some small pr s and you give them some easy pr s and they work on them for a while and, and that's good.

Not everybody has time to keep doing that. I I know about con contributing.

I absolutely know about it but having some training opportunity for those folks to grow into that and having some public training opportunity seems to me like it has to be really high on my priority list.

You should write a blog post about that. Oh right. You already did.

[22:34] D dev dot com. It's not that old, maybe a few weeks ago or longer about looking for maintainers.

Yeah. Recruiting and training maintainers. Let me see.

Yeah. May 21st. So a little under a month ago.

Yeah. So you mentioned, I mean, this is what is really interesting about DD is, it's not, it's not just one language that you in order to be, you know, like kind of grow into the role of like a AAA maintainer on par with.

I'll say your skills, Randy because that's, that's the right now, I'm sorry to say, but that's the bar, that's the highest bar that we have.

It's not, it's not like just one skill. It's, it's a number of skills and, you know, you mentioned training new maintainers.

Uh I think, you know, something we haven't talked about this, uh you know, offline as well, but, or either I should say.

[23:28] But why not do something like a, uh, either a Twitch stream or something like that when you are actually working on D DEV, you know, when you're reviewing PR S or looking at code or, or fixing bugs, why not just open a twitch screen, uh, stream and let people watch that.

That's a great idea. I have never done anything like that and I, I have never watched anything like that.

I see, uh, Matt glama does that right.

Um, and, uh, maybe I could watch some of his and learn his technique and maybe it would be useful.

Maybe it would, does anybody actually watch that stuff?

See, old people don't know what anybody actually watches.

I, I think young people definitely do watch it. Ok. Well, that's who we want to watch it. Right.

And I think the other big hurdle for folks is always, and I know this just from, you know, being a drupal trainer is getting that development environment set up.

So obviously getting ad development environment set up, I'm gonna guess it's very different than getting a drupal development environment set up.

So that might be something. And then, you know, for folks who use drupal day to day.

[24:38] I'm so sorry for folks who use DD day to day, would they want kind of the stable version of de available to them for their work work?

And then also a development version of D DEV for their D DE contributions and things like that.

So being able to switch between those two, I think those are all skills that are kind of, I know for me that's kind of like, uh I have no idea how I would do that and maybe it's already documented and I just haven't, you know, gone poking around for it.

But I, you know, I think recruiting and training maintainers is it, it's a big goal, but I think it's one of those goals where it has very logical chunks.

So I, I would love to see, I mean, and as you know, I completely agree with you, I think that's, that's the natural kind of evolution of things for the DD project is, is growing the number of contributors.

It's a, you know, the doing the Twitch stream is a great, great idea.

Uh We do have some excellent docs, I mean, if you go to the DD dot Read the docs dot IO, the development tab has really quite a lot on it and that, you know, it tells how to test APR, it tells how to test the head version.

And because we have such a impressive automated testing suite that runs on so many places, it's usually pretty safe to use head.

Um So there are a number of people who just use head, um and they do fine because it's uh.

[26:02] You know, it's, it's uh it, uh I'm, I'm very, very happy that it's as stable as it is.

You are doing my job for me because the last topic I wanna touch on which I'm always impressed by and, and I don't know how many people are aware that this exists, but tell us about this testing suite environment.

I'm not sure what the noun is that you use, but every time I've heard about her, I think you've actually posted a couple pictures of it online here and there, but kind of tell us about that because I think that is like super impressive for the D project.

So we have an enormous number of automated tests that run and they run on, not just Linux A MD 64 they run on Linux arm 64.

They run on Windows, they run on Windows Docker desktop, they run on Windows Docker, you know, on, on WSL two Docker inside and they run on both arm 64 and A MD 64 Mac.

And so right to my left as we speak, um uh there are several Mac mini and several Windows micro P CS because the window windows and Mac are either difficult or expensive to get.

Of course, I should say that Mac Stadium has been giving us a sponsored arm 64 Mac.

That's one of our ones. They give it to us as a, as a donation.

It's a, it's a very kind thing.

[27:24] I was not aware of that. Fantastic, but we could put them all on Mac Stadium, but they're over $100 a month And that's a lot of money.

So we want to spend um, people's contributions as wisely as we can.

And to this point that means that these Windows and Mac machines are here in my house and they used to be all cast away laptops, but now they're more appropriate machines, little Mac mini or windows, whatever they're called micro, whatever.

[27:52] Um without a, without a head or, or a keyboard or anything like that.

So, is, are like, do those tests run on PR S and if they do then they get merged?

Yep. That's exactly right. So they, I, I have scaled back just in the last week.

I've scaled back a couple of things. Docker Desktop on Windows has been quite unstable and so I had to be restarted all the time.

So I've scaled it back to only on uh on master commits, you know, when they, when Apr gets pulled and I've scaled back the arm 64 Linux because nothing's ever wrong with it.

So those, those only go, those only get tested on the, you know, when Apr gets merged.

Um But yeah, I mean, that, that just makes a lot of difference that it gets run on all those different environments.

But you can imagine that there's a, there's instability in that and most of the data of tests are in to end tests, which means that they are, they can be fragile.

There's plenty of test engineers who would not approve.

But the fact that the end to end test is uh while it's costly.

It really, really helps with the reliability of everything.

[29:05] And how long does the, does the suite take to, to run all the tests?

Well, they're all different, like, as you'd expect the, uh, well, if, if you want to, like, test the pr, you basically hit a button or something, then how long before it's at least it's at least three hours.

Um, yeah, the, the Mac M one usually gets done the fastest if there's, you know, if there's a runner available for it and that might take only an hour.

[29:30] But the, you know, like the windows, the, the windows, traditional windows one can take four hours. So, yeah.

All right. Well, I think that about wraps things up Randy. So I appreciate your time. I hope I didn't miss anything.

Well, it was a delight to talk to you and of course, it's always a delight to interact with the whole community and we'll have in the, I'm sure in the note there will be all the links to all the things.

Yeah, all of the things will be linked to in the notes and uh good luck moving forward with the project.

And, you know, and you know that we're, we're a big, you know, I'm a big fan and our, our, the drupal easy learning community is a big fan of D DEV.

So thank you very much for all of your efforts. Thanks so much.

Thanks for listening to the drupal Easy Podcast. Don't forget to check out all of our long form drupal training courses at drupal easy dot com and stay tuned for the next episode of the drupal Easy Podcast where I will be talking with Rosie Lafave from the Island Dora Project.

[30:35] Music.

June 26, 2023