Virtualizing your stack with Vagrant and Puppet (Redux)

I had the great fortune to be invited into the Columbus tech community and present my Virtualizing your stack with Vagrant and Puppet talk at the 2013 Columbus Code Camp. I had a blast, and if you’re reading this from Columbus, thank you for having such an awesome community.

This talk has been almost completely revamped since the last time I gave it. We walked through what Vagrant is, and how it relates to various virtual machine systems and cloud providers, and then forked from there to talk about how to use Puppet to create meaningful configuration of your servers.

Finally, and I think most importantly, we talked about how to sell the time investment to your superiors, and discussed the fact that if your development environment is not as close of a carbon copy of your production environment as possible, there is no clear way to verify that the code you have in your development environment will work at all once released to production.

(if the slides are not showing up, they may not have finished processing just yet)

Additional resources:

p.s. The video was reconstructed by manually taking the audio and combining them with the images in iMovie. If there’s something wrong, please let me know and I will work to correct it.

p.p.s. There is (somehow) a complete section on Hiera missing! I don’t know if I opened the wrong slide deck or what. The up side is there apparently wasn’t time to cover the material anyway, but the next time I give this talk it will be there.

Why you want my old job

So, for those of you who haven’t heard, I have put in my notice at my current place of employment (the Democratic Communications at Michigan State Senate) and taken a position with Mashery effective March 4th.

Needless to say, I am really excited, but it does put my current team in quite a predicament, because they really need a developer!

So let’s talk about the elephant in the room, shall we?

The reasoning behind why I am taking a new job is multifaceted, but essentially it boils down to it feeling like it was time to look at what else was out there. There is a lot of interesting stuff going on here, and a ton of benefits, but nothing I was truly passionate about anymore.

About those benefits

The benefits here are great. 5+ weeks of PTO, great insurance, 401k matching, the list goes on and on. And that’s just the standard benefits. Let’s look at a few of the technical benefits:

  1. You get to pick your own platform for new projects — as the only developer, you decide how to solve the problems handed to you.
  2. You get to work with an awesome team — everyone here “gets it.” The people you will work with here are skillful and creative, and understand how the art/science mesh of things work.
  3. You get to solve actual pain points for actual people — most of your users are in the office, or next door. Real people that you can see as much (or usually as little) as you like. Building software that you can see the impact of directly is very cool.

The down sides

As with everything, there’s some “less awesome” pieces of the job as well.

  1. It’s on-site in Lansing, Michigan. No remotesies.
  2. You will be the only full time developer on staff. While that gives you a lot of freedom, if you can’t actually swim, you will want to stay out of this water. There is nobody else to blame when your project isn’t done on time.
  3. There are on very rare occasions (2-3 times per year, we will say) some very tight deadlines. New websites going up in a matter of days. Usually the scope on these is kept fairly tight however.

The skill set required

Realistically, you need to be able to handle everything involved with building a website beyond the html/css. You will have to set up vhosts in Apache, and understand the basic workings of source control (we’re set up with git and bitbucket). Deployment strategies are varied —  new stuff uses capifony and capistrano while older stuff deploys via FTP or (and I’m very very sorry) issuing a git pull on the live directory structure.

Current projects you will maintain will involve Symfony 1.4 (current CMS), Symfony 2 (some internal tools), and Silex (other external sites). Future projects can use… whatever you care to use, provided you’re not intentionally leaving a pile of junk for the next person to pick up.

You will be given all the rope you need to hang yourself many times over, so you have to really be self-reliant on completing your projects, as there is nobody else here who can do your job, for better or worse.

Interested? Check out the job posting on LinkedIn for more information.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, or just ask in the comment area below!

Why developers outside of Symfony should care about Symfony Live

If you haven’t checked them out already, go to Symfony’s “Talks” section.

Now, this is great for all of us Symfony developers, but it’s also a good thing for php developers in general.

If you’re a Symfony developer already, you know what you’re interested in there, so I’m going to focus on what non-symfony developers can get out of this treasure trove. Also, these videos are also available in French through the talks section.

Talks that apply to everyone

Designing HTTP Interfaces and RESTful Web ServicesDavid Zuelke gives an excellent presentation on what restful web interfaces mean, and was actually the driving inspiration behind my dedicating my Symfony Live hack day project to the Accept Header Service Provider for Silex, as well as this pull request for the Symfony core.

Talks for programmers

Behat by example (Behat best practices)Konstantin Kudryashov walks you through how to do approach BDD in a way that makes sense. I haven’t watched it yet myself, but it is definitely on my list.

Symfony2 components to the rescue of your PHP projectsXavier Lacot goes over how you can use symfony components in your every-day php projects to make your life easier.

Using MongoDB responsiblyJeremy Mikola gives a talk about Mongo DB. Really, who’s surprised? I haven’t seen it, but it’s on my list, and I’m sure, knowing Jeremy, that it is “web scale.”

PHP developers, what can Postgresql do for you?Grégoire Hubert gives a talk about Postgresql, why you should use it, and what advantages it has in store for your next project.

ORMs don’t kill your database, developers do!Guilherme Blanco shows you some ways to optimize your setup when dealing with an ORM. I’ve heard there is some controversy on some suggestions within, but I think that just makes it juicer.

Dependency Management with Composer — If this is anything like his talk in San Francisco (and I’ll just go ahead and blindly assume so!), Jordi Boggiano gives an excellent overview of what you can do with Composer and how to take advantage of it right away.

Talks for frontend developers

How we built the new responsive BBC News site — Really. Need I say more?

twig.js: The Templating Engine for the Client-SideJohannes Schmitt gives a talk about the very interesting twig.js javascript templating library. I seriously need to look at this one as well.

Still need more?

Richard Miller gave a talk on what you get from a full stack framework. I haven’t watch this, as I have already drank that particular kool-aid, but if you haven’t made the leap yet, I’m sure he presents some compelling arguments. If, after it, you’re still not sold on full stack frameworks, just wait until Dustin Whittle’s Silex talk from San Francisco is up. It will blow. Your. Mind.