Florida Drupal Camp highlights

Screenshot of the virtual event space with the DDEV sponsor booth on gather.town

Florida Drupal Camp this year took a slightly different shape as a virtual event (with fond memories of being there in person just a year ago) and the organizers and volunteers pulled it all off beautifully. The addition of a virtual world on gather.town really brought the event to life and enabled bumping into folks on the “hallway track” and greeting visitors in our booth. We were again very grateful to be able to sponsor this space for the community to come together to share, learn and celebrate.

Here are a few highlights from the event:

What is DevOps and are we really doing it?

During the DevOps summit I was invited to participate on a panel featuring Tess Flynn and Albert Volkman with Mike Anello moderating. We chatted about whether process is the heart of DevOps, what exactly DevOps means, the role of automation, and of course some war stories. Watch the DevOps panel on Drupal.tv. My summary of DevOps was that it’s all about observing patterns, documenting repeatable steps, and automating them. It’s a blend of traditional development and operations functions with a culture of collaboration in a blameless, learning and improvement focused environment.

And it’s a lot easier said than done! But that’s what we aim to offer with DDEV: development and deployment tools that just work — and tap powerful container technology to help everyone achieve high value outcomes.

Demystifying Drupal Deployment Workflows

Our director of customer success, David Stoline, gave a runthrough of some basic steps to take a Drupal project from repository to local development to deployment on production hosting.

  1. Get started by using Composer to create a site and pull all dependencies locally.
  2. Use Git to collaborate and work with a team; plus with your code centralized, you can connect your repository to hosting providers and CI/CD tools for automated testing and deployments.
  3. Avoid the “YOLO” workflow. “You only live once” is not a recommended approach to deploying a web project. Check out a Git tag for a site release to connect to the production environment. For example, to deploy a Drupal site to DDEV-Live from your tagged release `0.1.3` and run Composer install use:
$ ddev-live create site drupal mysite \
--git-repo https://github.com/user/repo \
--git-rev 0.1.3 \
--docroot web \

Deployments not so fragile as they used to be. You had to triple check that your ducks were in a row, then keep a sharp eye on every one of them in case of failure, with only a 50/50 chance it would all come together successfully the first time. Thanks to DevOps, automation, and some nifty tooling, deployments are significantly less stressful these days.

A shared, live development environment with GitPod and DDEV

This is a super cool example of what open source can achieve: Ofer Shaal of Palantir.net has built a Gitpod environment with DDEV-Local. Gitpod is a tool that facilitates the creation of development environments online, in the cloud, that you can share and work in live with anyone anywhere. As Shaal said, “It takes advantage of everything DDEV offers to make life easy, and puts it in Gitpod so you can have the environment in your browser.” 

Watch the demo in the repo to see how it works once you’ve set things up. The environment is created automatically from any repository URL with gitpod.io inserted in front of it. Gitpod will spin up and give you an IDE and terminal in the browser for the repository. Then you can run Composer commands, Drush commands, all the usual DDEV commands included Xdebug and it’s all fast.

The goal is to allow Drupal contributions to open a Gitpod space using this and be able to collaborate and work without needing to install tools and software on your own machine. This might seem similar to projects like Simplytest.me, but here we don’t just preview a site, we have an entire suite of working tools. There’s a lot of potential there to make things more accessible to more people. It also works with other local development environments, as it’s all based on Docker.

ps. We added a Gitpod link to the DDEV-Local project.

Drupal Open Source Contribution Time

While the Drupal project as a global community has been organizing contributions remotely for decades (so weird to say that now that Drupal is 20), and even online office hours for new contributors (it’s how yours truly got started), moving in-person contribution workshops online has required some experimentation. We were happy to see folks stuck around for this portion of the program on Saturday afternoon where DDEV-Local maintainer Randy Fay helped mentor new contributors.

How can I contribute to open source?

Kudos and thank you to AmyJune, who has been a powerhouse of organizing and coordinating contribution time at so many events lately. Her presentation on getting started with contributions included:

  • Why contribute to open source? If you depend on open source, open source depends on you. Agencies should give back to avoid duplicating efforts. You can help others from having to do the same work for a problem that’s already been solved. 
  • What types of contributions can I work on? There are so many ways to contribute without touching code such as documentation, translation, design, project management, event organizer, and more. The wide variety of folks in the community should be represented in contributions to the project so the project actually reflects the needs of everyone who uses it. 
  • What do I need to get started? An understanding of the Drupal issue queue is important, and how to communicate in comments on the issues as well as in Slack. Depending on the task, you might use integrated tools on Drupal.org right in the web browser, or you might need a local development environment. DDEV-Local is the recommended local development tool for Drupal, and is quick to start on Windows, macOS and Linux after installing Docker.

Want to learn more about how to use DDEV for your local development needs, regardless of where you deploy? Join DrupalEasy’s 2 hour DDEV workshop on March 16 with Florida Camp organizer Mike Anello. You’ll also get access to loads of resources to keep building your skills independently. 

So long and thanks for the alligator

Thank you again to the organizers and volunteers who made this year’s virtual Florida Drupal Camp possible! We look forward to seeing the recorded videos and will add links to the above sessions when they’re available. The session recordings are now available thanks to Kevin Thull and the Drupal Recording initiative, which you can sponsor here.

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