Episode 264  on May 14, 2018Behind the Screens

Behind the Screens with Jesús Manuel Olivas

WeKnow's Head of Products, @jmolivas, takes a few minutes to tell about the technologies his distributed company uses, the current state of Drupal Console, and the latest in Drupal Latin America.

Transcript

Chris:
Today I'm going behind the screens with Jesus Manuel Olivas, the head of products for WeKnow.
How's your DrupalCon Nashville going Jesus?
Jesús:
It's going pretty well, I mean I'm really happy to be here as usual and thank you for the invitation.
Chris:
Oh, well thank you for taking some time.
So, tell me a little bit about yourself, do a little introduction and what you do as the head of products at WeKnow?
Jesús:
Well, I'm working with Drupal for a long time, I mean and also doing a lot of Symfony development with Where.
Let me go to the company part of this.
WeKnow, we are a fully distributed company, we are now 30 something people, we are in 12 countries now which is...
Chris:
Wow.
Jesús:
WeKnow mostly Drupal development.
But lately, probably since last couple of years we've been doing a lot of work related to Symfony and React some Java, I mean a lot of Javascript development is happening lately.
Chris:
So with WeKnow, you said you're in 12 different countries, about 30 something different people.
What are the tricks in trying to coordinate all those people and then tell me a little how that works as the head of products.
How you coordinate with all of them for the product work.
Jesús:
Yeah, I mean, coordinate with most of our developers or themes, well, we're trying to build or stopping.
Also We're working with clients and probably the most challenging part is times and because one of our CTO NSO lives in Australia.
So, it's kind of far.
Chris:
Wow. Yeah.
Jesús:
And he lives really really far so he actually lives going South of the South. Lives in Tasmania in Hobart.
Chris:
Wow, yeah I bet that time zone coordination is a bit of a trick.
Jesús:
Yeah, it is, sometimes we have to wake up so early, and sometimes, I mean, stay a little late but now, now it's getting better.
It's almost two years now living there so we are just getting to good rhythm, I mean about our time zone differences.
Chris:
Are most of you in the Central American area?
Jesús:
Yeah, it is, We are, most of us are between US and Argentina.
Chris:
Okay.
Jesús:
And we also have a few people in France.
Chris:
Oh wow, wow, so you are all over.
Jesús:
It's coming along so yeah, we are on our way to the world domination.
Chris:
And so, as the head of products at WeKnow, what does your job entail?
Jesús:
I mean, it's what I've been doing here, first I'm also helping direct which technologies we're going to use for our products.
We tend to build a lot of internal tools as, one of the reasons is to improve or make easier our tasks, internal tasks, and also to have a chance to learn how to use new technologies.
So we try to get involved, I mean, most of our developers or team members in those internal tools so they can try in a real project, all these new technologies.
We find out interesting, in this case we are, it's easy for us to expose them to work with something like React or GraphQL or Symfony applications.
I mean in our own products and then we gain experience that we can take advantage over later on when one of our clients wants to start using all those technologies.
I mean, when they're, I mean I'm talking about those technologies because again most of them were Drupal but if you're trying to approach other surrounding technologies about web development.
Chris:
Yeah, is there a particular technology that is really popular now that your team is spending a lot of time learning working on?
Jesús:
Yeah, I mean, probably it's, everything's mostly Javascript nowadays which is great.
I wasn't a big fan at the beginning but now it's like, when I say at the beginning when all this, when [inaudible 00:03:42]and[inaudible 00:03:42] started popping up.
I mean, I mean, I remember my days doing like real[inaudible 00:03:47] Javascript. Long time ago. Just before Jquery right.
But now everything is like getting more stable coming from my point of view and we are doing a lot of Reacting GraphQL.
Probably the two tools we are more excited about it.
Chris:
Yeah, So does your team work with Console much as well? I Know you founded the project and have been working as a developer for Console for a long time now.
Does your team work with any of that or is that a separate project?
Jesús:
No it's the same thing we use our internal projects for, I mean for making, or developers, learn new technology.
We also, whenever they have time, we allocate some of their hours to contribute to Drupal Console as well so we try to keep them on active on contribution.
And we tend to use Drupal Console as the project they contribute.
Chris:
Aha.
Jesús:
And that's going in again, so they can take advantage of learning Drupal 8 and Symfony and that's good for us because we do a lot of Symfony development.
Chris:
I see. What is the state of Drupal Console these days?
Jesús:
Well I mean, we got, we have the stable release last year.
We just reached two million downloads last week, yeah, it took us like four years for the first million.
Which is the first million is the hardest one and then less than a year for the second one.
Chris:
So that probably reflects that Drupal 8 adoption has grown a lot.
Jesús:
Yeah, it's growing a lot since last year. It's. I mean, you can see your, the usage, of the downloads of different projects.
Chris:
So with the stable release of Console 1.0 last year you're now working on the 2.0 version.
Are there any new features we could look forward to in that 2.0 version?
Jesús:
Yeah, I mean, we don't have design anymore like a real road map for it.
We are just using what will be the new features that will pop up on the latest version.
And our goal for Drupal Console 2.0 is been focusing in automation and deployment so we really want to be able to be an agnostic platform for deployment to different providers.
And also we improved something we have, it's called chain commands.
It allows you to automate command execution. It's basically a chain command, if you are familiar with Ansible, its kind of like anything so you have to find this Yaml file where you can have multiple commands that you can we and execute in a specific order.
Chris:
I see. Drush 9 was recently released as a stable release and they've retooled everything underneath and brought it up to speed with the Symfony components so it'll work with Drupal 8.
And so now there's a lot of cross features between the two and there's also an initiative I heard, to add the Symfony console as apart of Drupal Core which means there would be three different, technically, three different command line tools to work with Drupal.
So how do you feel about that? What do you see going on in the ecosystem?
Jesús:
Well, I mean, first, and it's good to see other projects are adopting the features and the technologies that Drupal Console has had for the last two or three years now.
I'm talking about same Drush as Drupal Core.
Our thinking about objects oriented [inaudible 00:07:10] or CLI commands, they are adopting Symfony components as well.
I mean the down side that I see in this case is we'll probably end up with a third way of writing commands.
And this could probably be a little confusing for users and I have no idea how it is going to end.
I mean, with spend some time excusing about it here during DrupalCon. There's an issue number that we can share.
Chris:
Yeah, absolutely. So there's an issue here on Drupal dot org to discuss the implementation of Symfony console.
Is that what this is about?
Jesús:
Yeah, this is what it's about. So you can see how to integrate Symfony console and core.
Actually there is a patch you can try. There's some confusion about it because they named the binaries Drupal, the same as we have in Drupal console so the excuse now is in the direction of should be called Drupal or not?
Should it be in conflict whenever Drupal, what's gong to happen is composer will get confused because of the binary name so we are trying to figure out how to approach that.
Chris:
Right. Okay.
Jesús:
Yeah, each number is two, two, four, two, nine, four, seven.
Chris:
Okay so we go to Drupal dot org for that note and people can learn more about how this is coming a long and weigh in and we can hopefully find a good solution that won't be confusing to everybody that still provides a good service.
Jesús:
Yeah, it also, the signature has links to other issues.
I mean, this, all those issues are being for a long time there.
Either Symfony console components to core, so you can figure it out, from there you can, I mean, navigate to other related issues about it.
And you can see, I mean, people commenting from a couple years back it seems like, at this point it's getting more attraction. So seems like it's probably going to happen at some point.
Chris:
Interesting. All right. Well this is really fascinating. I'm definitely gonna jump in there and take a look and see what happens with that.
But I'd like to turn this away from the code for a little bit.
So the go to question, if you woke up tomorrow and the internet was gone, it had disappeared, what are you gonna do?
Jesús:
I will probably, I mean, take advantage of that and spend time with my kids and my wife or I'd go to park, with some trouble.
Not in trouble a lot. It's always, I think it will be great having a chance to really really disconnect from the world for a while.
Chris:
Yeah, actually travel and take the family with you sometimes.
Jesús:
Yeah, take it with me, not travel for a conference.
Chris:
Right.
Jesús:
Not like I don't enjoy conferences but.
Chris:
Yeah, it'd be nice to have a little vacation.
And you've also been in the Drupal community for a long time so you're very familiar with the module ecosystem.
Jesús:
Yes, I have build a view.
Chris:
Yep, just a view. So everyone has a spirit animal, you know, an animal that describes their spirit, their personality, but I wanna know what is your spirit module?
Jesús:
I think my spirit module could be like example modules. I mean I'd really love to teach people how to do things.
I like to build tools, to generate tools, it's kind of my passion.
Help people to get involved and get speed up what they're doing. Again, one of my roles with the company, make sure all our developers are using the proper tools.
Writing the right code, using the proper, I mean, tools for the proper, for the projects.
Chris:
I like that. That's a great answer.
Jesús:
Thank you.
Chris:
And then finally, is there somebody you'd like to say thank you to or share some gratitude with who lended you a hand or gave you a boost along the way in your career?
Jesús:
Well, I mean, that thing should probably be for the whole community, I mean as a whole.
Drupal is great and community is awesome and going back to when I start doing Drupal, I mean, I remember, that was [inaudible 00:10:49] some friends from San Diego.
Sandcamp was my first time speaking in English. That's good memories for me, so community outside.
In general all these, I think it's the whole community, say thanks to the whole community.
I mean, it's been really welcoming.
Chris:
Yeah, that's great.
And one other question, since you are, I know there's a lot of camps that happen sporadically throughout the Central American region so.
I'm gonna add this on as a little addition here cause I'd like to know about what's the camps that are happening and spread some information about those.
Do you know of any Drupal camps that are happening in your region that you would like to say something about or promote?
Jesús:
Yeah there is a camp happening in Costa Rica. It's in August.
I don't have the date exactly but I can share with you later on.
Yeah it's the camp, it's probably the biggest camp in Latin America.
It's yearly event. We invite people from different places.
There's a lot of people from US showing up for the camp. Actually some, I think a couple Lullabots show up last year or the year before.
It's the only one that it's in my radar now in Latin America.
Chris:
Okay. Very good. I've been dying to get down to one of those so I'll put that on my list.
Jesús:
And Costa Rica's beautiful.
Chris:
Yeah.
Jesús:
Even when we are a fully remote company Costa Rica is the place where our office is, no one's go there.
The only time that the office's is in use is when the camp, I mean, you use the camp as an excuse for do a company retreat.
Chris:
Oh, excellent, that's a great way to do it.
Well Jesus, thank you very much for taking a few minutes, this was great.
Jesús:
Thank you Chris.
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