Mike and Matt drag Adam Bergstein onto the show to talk about the free SimplyTest.me service, which is used to quickly spin up Drupal environments for quick patch testing, reviews, and more. 

This Episode's Guest

Adam Bergstein

Adam Bergstein looking sharp as usual

Adam is the project lead of SimplyTest.me, as well as a Director of Engineering at Acquia,  decaf coffee snob, craft beer enthusiast, aspiring runner, continuous learner, and public speaker.

Transcript

Transcript

Matt Kleve:
Hey everybody it's the Lullabot Podcast, episode 241! I'm Matt Kleve, senior developer and with me is always close to the show, senior front-end developer, Mike Herchel.
Mike Herchel:
That was the best introduction of I think any podcast ever.
Matt Kleve:
So Mike, I'm going to slap the hood of the car, like this content management system can fit so many nodes.
Mike Herchel:
That's the worst podcast meme ever, Drupal meme.
Matt Kleve:
Do you want to take it for a ride?
Mike Herchel:
Sure.
Matt Kleve:
I know somebody who can help us.
Mike Herchel:
Who?
Matt Kleve:
Adam Bergstein.
Mike Herchel:
Hey, no way.
Matt Kleve:
Yeah.
Mike Herchel:
That was pretty good. So yeah, with us today we have Adam Bergstein. Adam, for those that do not know him is a director of engineering at Acquia and a project lead of Simplytest, nerdstein Twitter. But that first, he is really a three and nerdstein on drupal.org but there's no three, it's an E both E's.
Matt Kleve:
[inaudible 00:01:24] not confusing [crosstalk 00:01:25].
Adam B:
Someone stole it on Twitter.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. Sure.
Adam B:
I'm not real happy about that, but hey ...
Mike Herchel:
Whatever the excuse is. So welcome Adam.
Adam B:
Yeah. Thank you so much. Nice to be here. Thanks for having me on.
Matt Kleve:
So Adam, you're the project lead of Simplytests.me, right? That's what we'll call it?
Adam B:
That is correct.
Mike Herchel:
Do we call it Simplytest me or Simplytest dot me?
Adam B:
Sometimes I just call it simply test. The domain is Simplytest.me. So whatever you want, it goes by all the things.
Mike Herchel:
Okay.
Adam B:
The top level domain of the country of Montenegro.
Mike Herchel:
To be a DrupalCon trivia question right there.
Matt Kleve:
Not to be confused with Drupalize.me but Simplytest.me. So what exactly is it? Tell me about it.
Adam B:
So Simplytest.me. I mean, its primary goal is to try to give or provide a free easy to use platform to spin up Drupal instances. Those instances can test patches or test specific modules or themes. You can test installs or do a full automated install but it's really designed to try to give people like testing systems that they can try out that they can learn Drupal, that they can use it for free and spin it up very quickly without having a lot of intimate knowledge around how to do that in Drupal or how to use Drush or how to set up the infrastructure behind it.
Mike Herchel:
Got you. So they navigate to a website and they hit a button and it spins up their very own environment of Drupal?
Adam B:
That's correct.
Mike Herchel:
Cool. Then they can log into this, they have a username and password. Does it give them that or is it just like admin admin or how does that work?
Adam B:
It's admin admin, but it is automated for them and it is consistent and documented on the homepage under the FAQs. So yeah, it's easy to just get logged in and then you can configure it, poke around, set things up, test things out. It's done really well. I think for a lot of contribution workflows as well. Like people can very easily and readily install a patch if they write, may need a clean system to test it on. So a lot of people that do work on community projects say they make heavy use of it.
Mike Herchel:
Got you. So let's maybe start getting the background of this of Simplytest.me. So simplytest.me has been around for quite a while, correct?
Adam B:
Yeah, that is correct. Yeah, I think it dates, I want to say that it was Drupal 5, maybe of when it came out. It's been around, I think for over 12 years now I believe and has had a lot of incremental improvements, especially as major versions of Drupal has come out. Simplytest has been, it's had features rolled in and rolled in and rolled in and rolled in each time and incrementally. So there's like a public issue queue. All the code is open source today. It's on drupal.org and people can go in and file issues when things don't work. They can also let me know if they want feature requests. Like that's how the manual installer came about is people wanted to be able to test the install process. So they didn't want that fully automated. [crosstalk 00:05:21] put it in a checkbox to do that and gave people the ability to turn that on or turn that off.
Mike Herchel:
Is Simplytest.me built on Drupal?
Adam B:
The application layer is, it's entirely Drupal. There's a few composer projects that are brought in. So we make use of like get library and a couple other open source projects and things that we just basically bring in and make use of. But the underlying infrastructure is developed. We did a major, major overhaul of that recently and we switched it from a very bespoke kind of custom infrastructure that was based on like a really robust lamp stack to something that is now driven through kind of containers and using a tool called Tugboat QA.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah, we're familiar with Tugboat.
Matt Kleve:
So I [crosstalk 00:06:17] you might've heard of it. So since Mike first said, and you go to a website, I actually went to that website and I clicked on the button that said I wanted to spin up a new Drupal commerce environment. Just because I haven't seen that in quite awhile. It's running now and it's final Polish 88% and soon assume I'll have a Drupal commerce environment for me to, oh, it's finishing, now. Cool-
Mike Herchel:
Wow.
Matt Kleve:
... that didn't [crosstalk 00:06:40] take just a couple of minutes I guess to get an environment going. There was that notification at the top saying, "Hey, we do have a new backend system, so report any discrepancies you might find." Tell us about Tugboat and how it's working for Simplytest.me these days.
Adam B:
Yeah, I mean, one of the primary benefits of Tugboat is it's a femoral. As the years went on with the old system, we were constantly having to support multiple versions of PHP, even multiple SQL configurations. That was really challenging for one infrastructure to support like one server. The technical debt was mounting in that tremendously. I mean over 12 years running incremental releases of what Simplytest needed to support across major versions of Drupal. You could imagine that that server and that system really needed to be overhauled. There was a lot of custom ...
Mike Herchel:
So [inaudible 00:07:49] it was just like one server.
Adam B:
Yeah [crosstalk 00:07:51] it was, yeah. It was engineered to support more than one server, but we are fully sponsored by other people and other places. So the project itself really doesn't, it conventionally has never had a really any sponsorship. So one way that some companies that help Simplytest is they would pay for those servers before. Really it lasted with one backend server for a very, very long time. The service was going down routinely and having some challenges and it was very, very hard to keep up with all of the new technologies. So Tugboat specifically actually was really helpful because it is a lot more ephemeral in nature. Each instance can have its own configuration. It's not going to affect other instances that are running because they're all running in their own containers, in their own spaces. I think Tugboat offered a really nice scripting integration and a nice API that allowed Simplytest to make use of that and then customize each instance as needed. So it was a really good fit and it's a lot safer and much more sound architecturally that I think is offering now a better service to end users.
Matt Kleve:
So just in case somebody hasn't heard of Tugboat, I think we should probably talk a little bit about it. Don't you suppose Mike?
Mike Herchel:
Yes, absolutely. So I will let you handle that.
Matt Kleve:
Sure. So Tugboat is a project from Lullabot. Some Lullabot folks have been working on it for, I don't know, incrementally four years now I suppose.
Mike Herchel:
It's like 2013 I believe.
Matt Kleve:
Yeah. Deployment previews for every poll request is kind of the idea driving Tugboat and how we use it. So if I'm on a project and I have a ticket that's, "Hey, changed this content type." So I go through and I change the content type and I make it like it should be, and then I push my branch in a pull request and Tugboat fires up and builds an environment just for that pull request. And somebody can jump in QA and say, "Yes, Matt, you did it right, merge it." And being ephemeral is really great because every little change can have its own environment and anybody without any technical requirements on their computer, like you don't need a local install to test changes. It's great. It builds quickly, it comes and it goes and does everything it needs to do.
Mike Herchel:
Sounds about right to me. So let's talk a little bit about the history of Simplytest.me. So my understanding is, so you said it was around since 2000 or since Drupal five-ish days and [crosstalk 00:10:51]-
Adam B:
Speculating on that. Yeah.
Matt Kleve:
Well, you're talking, it's 10 years or so then, right?
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. So it was created by someone else. Do you know how it came to be? How did you become involved? And just tell us the story on that.
Adam B:
Yeah. I can give my end of it I'm sure. So the previous maintainer, the previous lead was Patrick and his drupal.org handle was Patrick D. I think just over time he really kind of just lost interest and lost passion for maintaining the project. I think it kind of was dormant for a little while. I think it was getting a little bit behind, especially around Drupal 8 and he didn't have a lot of energy or a lot of time to commit to doing it. On Simplytest, he posted a public issue for what I would call like proper transition. It was an open call for participation, like for a new lead. I have known about Simplytest for a really long time and even used it when I started using Drupal a long time ago, it feels like forever ago now.
Adam B:
I know that it definitely has the potential and is capable of being a tool that is significantly helpful for people that are new to Drupal to help get them into the community, to help them learn the toll, to help them reduce the barriers really of entry that people ... to learn the system and learn about Drupal itself. I took that avenue a long time ago and I really didn't want to see the project go by the wayside. I felt like it still had a lot of value. Right around the time Drupal 8 adoption coming about. I mean, I've now been maintaining it for, I want to say about a year and a half approximately. Around that time Drupal 8 adoption was really starting to take off. That introduced a lot of new technical tools, things that I think were a little bit more technical in nature compared to previous versions of Drupal, like introducing composer and stuff like that.
Adam B:
It just would've been a shame to see it kind of go by the wayside. But really it was, and it stayed at that point. I think Patrick really did a great job of maintaining it for years and years and years and years. But by the time I got it, it definitely needed some loves and I think it needed a new vision and needed some new energy behind it. But it was very fragile, there wasn't even a development environment to work off of. The infrastructure was very bespoke and it was hard to spin up other instances of it and that obviously comes at a cost as well. So there's just a lot of things going on with the system that needed to be revisited but someone needed to tend to it and someone needed to move it forward.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. Well, I appreciate you picking that up and making this happen. It's obviously doing pretty good so thanks for that. What is involved with the maintenance of Simplytest.me and like how has that changed since you took it over?
Adam B:
Yeah, I think that's the number one real benefit of using Tugboat at this point. Is a lot of the maintenance around the actual infrastructure piece now it's completely gone or owned by the Tugboat team directly. My role now is making sure that those Tugboat instances are configured properly on a case by case basis. Most of that logic has now been moved directly into the Drupal application that is running Simplytest.me. That is fantastic because it reduces a huge number of dependencies under the hood, custom bash scripts and load balancers and SSL certificate management and the web servers, the database servers, all of that stuff just goes away. So the maintenance now is actually focused a lot more on the end user experience and getting the features to work well in Simplytest. That's a really great focus and a good use of time. Offloading a lot of that infrastructure responsibility has just been such a huge benefit to the project and I think the service itself. So it's been really great.
Mike Herchel:
That is awesome. So looking at the website right now, to kind of put a little mildly, the front-end kind of looks a little dated design-wise. I don't know if you've noticed this Adam.
Adam B:
I have noticed it but we have to pick our battles Mike.
Mike Herchel:
No. I'm a front-end person, so I was just asking.
Adam B:
But I do have some news for you.
Mike Herchel:
Go ahead.
Adam B:
So the vision that I laid out when I took over the project, which was probably the main reason why I was asked to take it over. There was really two main focuses. One was really modernizing the infrastructure and the second was rebuilding Simplytest.me and Drupal 8 and now it's actually running Drupal 7. We already are about 60% done in creating a brand new shiny Drupal 8 system that has a fresh design.
Mike Herchel:
Whoa.
Adam B:
There's been a ton of contributors to that already. The whole UI is built on react now. It's highly refined in terms of the experience that people get. It's actually even more feature rich than the current system. I think will be a really major benefit to the users. Yeah.
Mike Herchel:
Ooh, that is awesome. That's good news.
Adam B:
That's the next big piece, yeah.
Matt Kleve:
When you're building something like this or you're maintaining something like this or even designing it for the future, you have to think about who's going to be using it. Who is the target market for somebody using Simplytest?
Adam B:
It's a great question. I would classify, I would say our persona is really focused on a couple core audiences. We have those brand new to Drupal that don't understand all of the underlying tooling and that could be like people like want to try it out like evaluators I would say.
Matt Kleve:
What is this Drupal thing?
Adam B:
Yeah, what is this Drupal thing? I would say that's one audience. Another audience are beginners that maybe want to learn the concepts of Drupal. They want a quick and easy place to maybe load a module and just try something out. I would also consider those people to be evaluators, but maybe more of a technical, more solutions architects maybe, could be one framing of that. But then I would also say it's really targeted for developers that don't want all the overhead of maintaining their own local solutions or going through patchwork flows. Simplytest offers them a very clean and easy to use way to spin up sandboxes that can test patches to validate issues to push things to [RTBC 00:19:10] or to see if something breaks. I think that's really positive because maintaining a local system and changing branches and resetting commits and doing all of that stuff can be very time intensive. Whereas loading a patch on drupal.org and spinning up a totally fresh system is actually a little bit more appealing and unassuming.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah, definitely. Anything you can do to lower the barrier. Doesn't the Dreditor browser plugin have integration with Simplytest.me or something along that line?
Adam B:
Sure it does. Yeah. There's a button inside of Dreditor like if you're reviewing a patch or looking at that, that it says spin up on Simplytest me. The entire Simplytest interface is actually like open. It has its own kind of micro API that you can pass a whole bunch of parameters to and it spins up these instances for you automatically.
Mike Herchel:
It's pretty neat. For those of you that don't know, Dreditor, just was it D-R-E-D- itor?
Adam B:
It's like D-R-editor, right?
Mike Herchel:
Yeah, right. It is a browser plugin.
Adam B:
Not to be confused with Dr editor.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah, [crosstalk 00:20:31] that's what I was just going to say.
Adam B:
It's not a real doctor.
Mike Herchel:
It's a browser plugin that I think it works with both. I think there's versions for both Chrome and Firefox. If you're on Drupal.org and you're looking at patches, the first thing you'll do is it'll kind of open up patches and really slick kind of interface where you can create comments and you can put your comments into ... You can leave like code comments and then move that into the issue comment and it will also put a nice slow Simplytest.me button and [inaudible 00:21:05].
Adam B:
Even just reading a patch is a whole lot easier in my opinion on Dreditor. That's why [crosstalk 00:21:12] that just to ... if I'm reading an issue and there's a patch, I click on the new that's presented there and I can [crosstalk 00:21:19] read it a little easier and yeah, sure make comments and stuff. But spinning up a Simplytest.me, I didn't even know that was an option. So that's cool.
Mike Herchel:
You mentioned you have a new front-end coming into Simplytest.me with Drupal 8 and you said it's going to open up some additional options. Can you maybe give us a preview on what those options are?
Adam B:
Yeah, totally. There is an open issue with the actual wire frame of the new UI. One of the biggest value adds right now is ... Well, I'll give you the current functionality and it'll make sense once you hear that. The current site only supports like patching workflows for one project and it's usually the main project. So you pick what your main project is. It could be I want to run Drupal or I want to run password policy or a taxonomy menu and you can load patches against that. There's like a section underneath like advanced options that say you can pick one or more patches that you want to load on that. But what's confusing is there's a whole another section that has additional projects.
Adam B:
Those additional projects, you're not allowed to install patches with those right now. So what we've done was we've actually like unified the project in the patching interface to allow any number of patches across any number of projects. So we've softened that constraint and we've proposed an interface that is what I believe a lot more simple or usable that you basically can just pick and choose what you want to install with a few simple buttons and pasting and have some URLs of patches and you're pretty much good to go.
Mike Herchel:
That sounds pretty awesome. I'm sure a lot of people are going to find that useful.
Adam B:
Yeah, I hope so. I mean, we've had a pretty direct limitation with that for a very long time now. I think it's time to expand on that and give people more tools at their disposal.
Matt Kleve:
How much time does it take for you to spend on this project weekly or monthly or whatever?
Adam B:
That's like the million dollar question.
Matt Kleve:
Well, I don't know, what's your billable?
Adam B:
Yeah, there is no billable. One of the things I would say is it varies a lot, probably based on my motivation primarily especially when the system would go down. There were times I remember like over the Christmas holiday, I think it was last year, we're coming up on the end of the year again. But I remember that the system kept having SEG faults like all weekend long. That one weekend it was like repeatedly going down. I remember spending probably that one weekend, I probably spend about 30 hours alone working on that for like I would say a three to five day period.
Mike Herchel:
Wow.
Adam B:
Yeah, it was really annoying. That can exemplify the pain points and also I do want to thank like Greg Boggs and Elijah Lynn who are also community members that have helped me in that. Because I don't consider myself like an Uber systems expert, but they were able to really get into the weeds and help me find out what was happening there. They're great. They were fantastic in helping and were very selfless with their time.
Matt Kleve:
Are there others on the team as well? I mean, how big of a group of people are behind this [crosstalk 00:25:17]?
Adam B:
That's a good question. So it's primarily me with some auxiliary help from Greg and Elijah. Mostly conventionally, now that the Tugboat is in place, we haven't really had to call them a whole lot. They were very informed in helping with that decision as well. They asked a lot of great questions and they were really very helpful. But I do get a lot of help also from other folks in the community more in different ways. So like Amy June helps a lot with social media for Simplytest and also for testing. She's like a super power user and helps to make sure that the system is running well and is effective and hitting all the use cases. Jonathan Dagger Hart helped with the simply test implementation a good bit. He was kind of my architect review person, like my right hand bouncing ideas off of him and getting some insight in the approach. And also he pitched in a lot with like the JavaScript that is running through the UI today.
Matt Kleve:
[crosstalk 00:26:28].
Adam B:
Yeah. It's really about it. But I also want to say that the Tugboat team has been really helpful in getting this off the ground especially Ben and all the other folks, James, Matt. That whole crew just has been super useful helping talk through the concepts and how it should be wired together to work properly and efficiently. We went through an initial build of it that was very slow. And really I found out that I wasn't making use of one of the core features in Tugboat called base previews. When I stumbled on that and got some support from that crew, that's really when things started to take off.
Matt Kleve:
Tugboat can build from nothing or build from something and it turns out if you have a headstart, it'll build faster.
Adam B:
Yeah. Fancy that, right. That was a really cool thing to find out and it actually made the experience of Simplytest a lot better instead of waiting for multiple, multiple, multiple minutes around spinning up an instance. I would say it's like one minute or two minutes if you're doing something kind of complex. I just rolled in Drupal 9 support this week and the composer initiative has really revolutionized all of that logic and now I need to go back to like the drawing board on that because if you spin up a Drupal 9 instance right now, it's still fairly slow. But I need to review that approach with like Greg Anderson and Ryan Azlan and I need to get that nailed down to make use of both the base preview and a clone of it. Because just all that composer work, which by the way is fantastic. If anyone hasn't taken a look at that, that whole team has really ... I mean, they're revolutionizing the way composer support is done with Drupal in a very positive manner.
Adam B:
But Simplytest is down wind of that. It's also making use now of Drush 10, the brand new version of Drush that just got released. So there's a lot of innovation rolled into that Drupal 9 build today that I think we're still fighting with a bit. So if people experienced some pain points around it, I apologize, but at least it's there. I think it was in place for DrupalCon Amsterdam and did allow for people to contribute to Drupal 9 using Simplytest during their contribution day.
Matt Kleve:
We're talking Simplytest.me with Adam Bergstein on the Lullabot Podcast coming up right after this. We're going to talk a little bit more about where the project is going and where it's going to end up and maybe how you could actually support too. Coming up right after this.
Mike Anello:
Hey, if I can interrupt for a second. Hi there. This is Mike Anello from the DrupalEasy podcast.
Mike Herchel:
Whoa, how did you get here?
Mike Anello:
Don't worry about I have all your passwords because you leave your computer open all the time. I can't be stopped. I can basically jump on the Lullabot Podcast whenever I want to talk about Florida Drupalcamp. Do you know anything about Florida Drupalcamp? Mike Herchel.
Mike Herchel:
As a matter of fact, co-organizer Florida Drupalcamp Michael Anello, I do know about this. I know it's going to be precisely 75 degrees Fahrenheit that weekend in February.
Mike Anello:
You can register today. You can pro-sessions today at fldrupal.camp. The event takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, February 21st through 23rd. So there's really no reason to continue listening to this podcast until after you register. Am I right?
Mike Herchel:
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. We have three days. First day's training. Do you want to talk a little bit about the training?
Mike Anello:
There's going to be lots of it.
Mike Herchel:
All right, good, good. Just going to be lots of it. So first day's training, second day is sessions.
Mike Anello:
Lots of those as well.
Mike Herchel:
Third day is half sessions, half day code sprint.
Mike Anello:
Contribution day.
Mike Herchel:
Oh contribution day. Oh, don't tell Amy June. All right, contribution day. We're going to be sprinting on the new front-end theme for Drupal Olivero along with several other things. Do you remember what we did last year at the contribution sprint? Remember we [inaudible 00:31:14].
Mike Anello:
Yes, I do. As a matter of fact, you and I and I think a couple other people sprinted on the Clippy April Fools Day prank.
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. If people went to drupal.org on April Fools Day this past year, you had a surprise with the Microsoft Clippy there.
Mike Anello:
Hey, do you think other camp organizers are jealous that you and I kind of cornered the market on podcast and Florida Drupal camp?
Mike Herchel:
They should be. They totally should be.
Mike Anello:
They should be. It's almost not fair but ...
Mike Herchel:
That's the way it is.
Mike Anello:
Well, the NEDCamp folks, their podcast talks about NEDCamp all the time, so it's not like we have a pure monopoly on it.
Mike Herchel:
Okay. All right, I'll take that.
Mike Anello:
All right. Very good. Well, I've got work to do. I can't be coming in and taking over your podcast all the time. So I'm going to go back to what I should be doing and leave you to your podcast.
Mike Herchel:
All right. Get to work, thank you. So welcome back to the Lullabot Podcast. We're talking with Adam Bergstein and we're talking about Simplytest.me, which is a service that allows you to quickly spin up a Drupal instance and kind of do whatever you want with it, including testing patches, modules, taking it for a spin.
Matt Kleve:
Make your own E-Commerce store, like [crosstalk 00:32:36].
Mike Herchel:
Make your own E-commerce.
Matt Kleve:
It's only good for like 12 hours.
Adam B:
[inaudible 00:32:39] in 24 hours.
Matt Kleve:
Is 24 hours the time for exploration [crosstalk 00:32:43]?
Mike Herchel:
We can work with that. It'll have to go viral maybe and then we'll ...
Matt Kleve:
It'd be like selling really nefarious things or it's just trendy. It's like a popup shop. Isn't that what they're [crosstalk 00:32:57]?
Mike Herchel:
Yeah.
Matt Kleve:
It's just that [crosstalk 00:32:58].
Mike Herchel:
You'll never guess what the URL is going to be.
Matt Kleve:
It's a lot of characters dot Tugboat dot keyway and then something else is what the URL ends up being, right?
Mike Herchel:
Yeah, sounds right. You can just start with the A's and then go down to the B's.
Matt Kleve:
Adam real quick though, on that note now that my evil brain is spinning, how do we keep bad things from happening on these instances?
Adam B:
I think the fact that they're ephemeral cuts back a lot of the desire to do that. I think there's already tremendous benefit in place of the way that the aspects of the system really can't talk to each other out in a public fashion. It's already locked down to do that.
Mike Herchel:
I'm sure you can't send mail. Right?
Adam B:
Right, exactly. That's caught actually through Tugboat itself. There is also just a really, the only thing that's public is really the Drupal UI, which is not a lot different than a lot of other public Drupal sites. So I think my biggest risk is finding out when people try to install things that do have security vulnerabilities. That's really the key. It's really a drupal.org governance thing of patches that might be flawed or projects that could have holes in them so to say. But that's a problem that I'm not able to solve.
Matt Kleve:
Yeah. Those problems would be isolated to that Tugboat container too.
Adam B:
That's correct.
Mike Herchel:
I mean, because of the nature of the project, that's not really solvable. You could have someone upload a patch that intentionally introduces security vulnerability and at that point [inaudible 00:34:41] the system. But honestly, like if you just sign up for the Tugboat free tier, it gives you a console and you don't have to read it because you have [inaudible 00:34:51].
Matt Kleve:
You also have [crosstalk 00:34:53]. You also have access to user one that you can install modules through the UI. Right?
Mike Herchel:
But you have to [crosstalk 00:35:00].
Adam B:
Yeah, I think you can. Yes. I believe some folks are making use of that feature. I haven't tested it recently. But I know that some folks have tried to do that.
Mike Herchel:
So, hey let's talk about maybe longterm Simplytest.me.
Matt Kleve:
Now that we've decided that we're not going to use it for evil.
Mike Herchel:
Yes. Right.
Matt Kleve:
Where is it going?
Adam B:
Yeah, that's a good question. I think my number one goal is really to use it, right now it's a platform that I think is good for learning, but it's really focused on like the outward experience of Drupal. I also feel like there's a tremendous benefit of Simplytest being a platform that people can use to contribute. So rolling code changes and teaching people how to code and having that be a contribution to Simplytest I think is my longterm goal and really grow the contributor base. I think that would be a really great thing. I'm a big advocate for the diversity and inclusion initiatives. I think that I also don't believe in people really doing code without being paid for it. If that's something that they're contributing back in a meaningful way and they want to learn and they want to grow professionally, they shouldn't have to be doing work for free.
Adam B:
So one of the things that I did was I set up an open collective for Simplytest. That open collective is actively raising money all the time both in recurring ways and one time donations that anyone in the community groups, companies or individuals are able to donate to simply test to help us build up some capital that could be used for infrastructure if we need it. But also really primarily focused on helping to pay for contributors. It's been a goal of mine to try to help some of the less fortunate people in the world or folks that really deserve an opportunity in this industry to help them provide that opportunity. It's not a high paying job or anything like that, but something is better than nothing. I really want to use as much of the funding as possible to help move Drupal 8 forward, pay people to do that, give them opportunities to learn, be there to advise them and help them in that process as well. And give them the right tools in place to do that so that they can help to really use it as a launch pad to do great things in the future.
Matt Kleve:
I want to hear about that in a second. First, I want to make sure I understand. So the Internet makes information free, but putting things on the Internet isn't necessarily free. So there are already costs behind Simplytest.me, correct?
Adam B:
That's correct.
Matt Kleve:
So how is that funded today?
Adam B:
That's a really good question. So we have infrastructure sponsors today, Druid and Maloon and now Tugboat QA.
Matt Kleve:
So Tugboat isn't raking you over the coals? [crosstalk 00:38:27].
Adam B:
Not at all. As a matter of fact, the Tugboat team and Lullabot have been extremely generous in offering that back in for free.
Mike Herchel:
That's awesome.
Matt Kleve:
I didn't even know that, so I was just [crosstalk 00:38:38].
Adam B:
It's fantastic. We don't have money and any money that we do have as I said, we really want to try to stretch that as much as we can. And help give and provide some opportunities for people to develop the tool and learn more about Drupal, learn more about web development in general and really use that as a way to learn and get a career in this world. There's a lot of coding boot camps and things like that, that also have a very similar mission and vision. I think Simplytest is just one avenue that I want to help do that and do that in the future even more.
Matt Kleve:
Are there infrastructure limitations currently to people who can ... how many instances can be running it at a time? Or did we notice that during DrupalCon or anything like that?
Adam B:
We did when we first launched there was actually some pretty significant scaling things that needed to be addressed primarily around like the storage or the ability to handle a number of concurrent instances. We were able to tune it pretty quickly [crosstalk 00:39:57] get it to match the load. But that's a good question.
Matt Kleve:
So talk to me about the open collective, how do I learn more? Like, where do I go? What is it?
Adam B:
So the open collective is I think it's just opencollective.com/simplytestme. I can post a link after this.
Matt Kleve:
We can put it in the show notes for sure.
Adam B:
Yeah. It's been really useful. We've been able to accept donations of all amounts to date and it's just been slowly building up and I would say pretty soon I want to try to offer up some features of the ... to try to get the Drupal 8 system done and out the door through a donation. Try to get one or two of those features to move that forward and get like an alpha system up as soon as possible.
Mike Herchel:
What else are we missing here?
Adam B:
I think one thing, Mike, that sometimes comes to mind is really around expanding the horizons of Simplytest as it stands today in a much more broader way. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility to look at having this tool serve the WordPress community as an example and also maybe some other communities in the future. Well, given my knowledge of the Tugboat backend. That makes sense. I mean Tugboat is do whatever you want to run on Linux and yeah exactly. But it's interesting because it's actually like an entirely new set of tooling and completely different space of like dev ops practices that need to be looked at [crosstalk 00:41:48].
Matt Kleve:
For sure and I bet you have think API integration that's very Drupal specific.
Adam B:
Yes, exactly. There's a lot there. I mean I think the WordPress community uses SVN. I believe.
Mike Herchel:
They do. Yeah.
Adam B:
I know there's a CLI tool, but I'm not sure how robust it is compared to Drush. I think the only thing that is similar is really just a lamp stack. Certainly there's some way to reuse some of that, but I think it just sort of loads in a whole nother set of challenges. Even there's some governance related things in the WordPress community that are different. Like I think paid projects and paid sponsorship that there's not I don't think a solely unified infrastructure around their modules or their plugins or whatever you call them. So yeah, there's a lot there that needs to be evaluated, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.
Mike Herchel:
Cool. So question for you. If you had a magical genie ...
Adam B:
He's blue. The genie is blue.
Mike Herchel:
He's blue, because of Drupal [crosstalk 00:43:03].
Adam B:
Not necessarily.
Mike Herchel:
This genie could grant one wish, just one to do something for Simplytest.me that could just like make it work and it would work perfectly and work well. What would that be?
Adam B:
Wow. That is, I'm not even sure I fully understand the question. No wishing for more wishes. Yeah, I think that is exactly the case. I mean, if I had one wish, I would say I want like a massive donation because what I would be able to do with that is I could create a program around Simplytest and like an inclusion program. You don't necessarily need a computer program, you're talking about like an organization [crosstalk 00:43:59] type.
Matt Kleve:
Yeah, like a-
Adam B:
An effort.
Mike Herchel:
[crosstalk 00:44:01] turns.
Adam B:
Yeah. That could basically just work on simply test, collaborate with each other, do it in a full time capacity over a duration of time. Could pay for some equipment, some books, some education training and that kind of stuff. I've actually talked to Mike Anello about this, is sort of my longterm goal. If I had a blank slate and unlimited money tied to this, that's what I would do.
Adam B:
He and I would kind of partner on some of the training and enablement and then look to roll enhancements into Simplytest and build out some really great new community members and contributors and try to also place them at jobs afterwards. I know that's something that your team is also really passionate about. But look at almost like a placement program that try to get people set up with specific roles of people of other companies in the Drupal space and community that we could help to give them a leg up in the future. So that's my pie in the sky response if I had one wish, but I would take more.
Mike Herchel:
All right. Well, I mean honestly like money.
Adam B:
Yeah. Wishing for a fat stack of cash is always [crosstalk 00:45:25].
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. Then you could turn that around to like multiple wishes, wish a billion dollars I'm going to spend 2 million on this, 2 million on that.
Adam B:
No. The answer then Mike is, I wish that every time I needed money for something I reach in my pocket and the exact change is there.
Mike Herchel:
You've thought of these. Haven't you?
Adam B:
Wow. Are you kidding? Yeah.
Mike Herchel:
All right. Well, [crosstalk 00:45:48] thanks for coming.
Matt Kleve:
Is there anything else you want to add there, Adam? We appreciate your coming on today.
Adam B:
Yeah, thanks for having me. I mean, I'm really excited about where Simplytest is going. Getting through this kind of modernized backend infrastructure was a really big, major step towards that. I think we're going to get this Drupal 8 thing moving now. I'm really excited where the future goes. I think that it's positioned really well to be successful and serve people. If anybody feels like they want to help contribute to it or participate in it, I'm always open to ideas.
Mike Herchel:
How do someone get in touch with you if they want to, if they feel they could contribute?
Adam B:
There's a contact form on Simplytest.me that you can use. There's also my drupal.org profile. There's a contact form on there that you can use to reach me. I'm on Twitter, so Twitter is pretty easy and Simplytest.me does have a Twitter account. You can reach out to people on there and Amy June, will probably see it and respond to it. But we're really excited to kind of get this system moving in a new and a different direction. I think the benefits are paying off for people already. I think the future is bright.
Mike Herchel:
Cool. So you're coming to Florida Drupalcamp in February, correct?
Adam B:
Maybe, the plans-
Mike Herchel:
That's a yes.
Adam B:
... have not been made yet.
Mike Herchel:
It's February 20th. February is a really nice time to come to Florida for Drupalcamp [crosstalk 00:47:34].
Adam B:
I do have firsthand experience with that and [crosstalk 00:47:40].
Mike Herchel:
Yeah. We've hung out before. All right, well, thanks again, Adam.
Matt Kleve:
Thanks Adam.
Adam B:
Yeah, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. I hope you both have a good day.
Mike Herchel:
All right. We will.

About host Matt Kleve

Portrait of Matt Kleve
Matt Kleve has been a Drupal developer since 2007. His previous work in the media sparks a desire to create lean, easy to use workflow processes.

About host Mike Herchel

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Front-end Developer, community organizer, Drupal lover, and astronomy enthusiast