Open Waters Podcast: Season 2, Episode 4
In this episode, we're joined by Randy Fay from DDEV to discuss features and benefits of DDEV, the future of the project, and how you can get involved with contributing to the Drupal community. Randy provides his perspective on DDEV and the ways in which both developers and non developers can use it for projects.
Mario Hernandez: Hello, everybody welcome. We are very excited here. Shrop and I are very excited to have with us, Randy Fay, who will be talking to us about DDEV and what's coming down the pipe with that. We are very excited about that because we here, at Mediacurrent, use DDEV for most of our projects, and we are loving the product and looking forward to what's coming ahead. So thanks for joining us, Randy. We appreciate it. We just had you actually do a knowledge share for our team, our development team, not too long ago. It was just last week. I believe it was. And now you're back with us. So we appreciate you taking the time from your really busy schedule and talk about DDEV. There is some great news happening with DDEV, but before we get into that, tell us a little bit about your role today and how you became interested in open source. What brought you to this point as a prolific maintainer of a key piece of open-source software like DDEV?
Randy Fay: You bet, I'm glad to be here. Again, my name's Randy Fay, I'm R. Fay most places, Randy Fay some places, and I live in far western Colorado, right near the Utah border in a little town called Palisade. And I ended up here because my wife and I took a long bicycle journey through the Americas from 2006 to 2009, and at the end of that time, my parents were getting old and we decided to come, you know, take a turn. Our turn history ended up being quite long now, but take a turn with helping them out. And so that's, that's where they were and that's where we are. But the open source thing is, of course, when we took two and a half years out of our life to do bicycle touring, there was going to be a change when we got back, and I've worked in various kinds of software development since the early eighties, but of course, like everybody else, I got more and more excited about web stuff and I'd never, I benefited from open source over the years.
Randy Fay: I've done lots of, you know, Linux work over the years and all that kind of thing, but I benefited from open source, but never contributed at all. And so one big thought was, well, how could I, how could I figure out what this open source thing is? And so when we were restarting our life after our bike tour, Drupal was there. I felt like I had some idea what was going on with Drupal. And I said, well, maybe I could figure out how to contribute to Drupal. And you know, how Drupal is, if you stick your finger in there and you figure out who the players are, you will be sucked in. And you know, you can spend the rest of your life...just working on that. And I did that for a couple of years and had had a great time, met wonderful people and got very involved in the Drupal community, but it was Drupal that brought me into the open-source world.
Randy Fay: So anyway, so I did that for a long time and then I burned out pretty good. I even did a whole series of sessions at a Drupalcon and stuff like that on burnout. And I got flamed out pretty good. Couldn't do it anymore. Worked on various things for a few years, but about maybe five and a half years ago, something like that, I went to work for a company named DRUD that was developing a Golang Kubernetes hosting product. And they also had DDEV going, although it was very much in its infancy, and I really liked DDEV. I liked it a lot more than the hosting part. Maybe because, I don't know, I just, I just liked it a lot. And I started to feel like it was useful and they were amazingly generous. They just let me go ahead and maintain DDEV for, it must have been at least four years and paid me to do it and rarely asked anything in return. Every so often they'd want some kind of integration with the process and that kind of thing. But that's how I ended up maintaining DDEV and got to continue doing that through their amazing generosity. That was a long answer to a short question.
Mark Shropshire: That's great. I love hearing these stories, you know, about how people get to where they are today, because, you know, it's also humbling to hear these stories, but you know, Randy, when I've interacted with you, it just amazes me how quickly you respond and support the community. And you're just always had such a great positive attitude. But you seem like this, this huge persona, you know, coming in like that, like the maintainer of DDEV and they got real personal with Mario and Shrop and helped, helped us with our problems and all that. But it's great to hear just this real human stories. There's, there's the human behind the keyboard, right?
Mario Hernandez: I can definitely attest to Randy's generosity with helping. I mean, no matter what I ask him, he's always there. He never judges, is always willing to help and has got me out of some pretty big holes with things that I work on with DDEV. So that's excellent to hear.
Randy Fay: It's lovely being a member of a community where you feel like you have something useful to do. I mean, I, I love it when people ask questions and everybody is at a different place. I mean, there's so many things going on in our heads, trying to understand all the different technologies we're working on, and there's so many different layers of all those technologies. It is astonishing and crazy. And so we're all at a different place and how much we understand on those. And so it's, it's always great to work with people at whatever level they're at to try to go to the next level, even though it's...I can't, it's hard to believe anybody can do any of this stuff with all the layers of stuff you have to know. It's crazy.
Mark Shropshire: I agree. I agree. And that, that's some of what you just said is part of why I love open source so much. And I know we've said the word, or if you want to call it a word, DDEV a lot so far, cause that's really what one of the things we're here to talk about, and in addition to Randy you, as a community member, but so while I know a lot of our listeners are really familiar with DDEV and what that means, and we love it here at Mediacurrent, it's our go-to environment. We made that choice a while back and and have been really pleased with it. But for those who don't know what DDEV is, what that means, can you give us a high level overview of this really fascinating open-source project?
Randy Fay: And so it basically runs a web server and a database server inside containers. So they're actually running inside Linux containers. So it's more like a real-world situation but it looks the same on every platform. So, and so, in other words, the containers are the same on every platform. They're exactly the same. So if you're working on windows or WSL Two, or MacOS or Mac M1, or...people even work on Chromebooks, or if you're working on Linux, I mean, Chromebook just offers Linux. So if you're working on any links, distribution, everything works the same. It's using the same containers underneath.
Mark Shropshire: Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt, but I was just thinking I'm pretty sure I got it working on my Raspberry PI a while back, thanks to all the work from the community, too, which is I had to do it just to do it.
Randy Fay: It actually works pretty well on Raspberry Pi. The trick about Raspberry Pi, it's ARM 64. So you'd have to set up, I think, I think you have to get the current version of Ubuntu, it's the easiest way. I wrote a blog post about it, so you could search for DDEV and Raspberry Pi, and it, it actually is decent. It it could be a little faster, but it's decent.
Mario Hernandez: So you mentioned earlier, Randy, that you worked for DRUD, a company who was building this product and DDEV, and we know that, some of you may know, that the company split up and for a while, the community was wondering what was going to happen with DDEV, but just this week we heard some great news. Sounds like great news. DDEV has been acquired by Fruition. And is there something you can tell us about this? What does this mean to DDEV? What does it mean to the community? What should the community expect about this new acquisition?
Randy Fay: Yeah, you bet. So the company named DDEV, you know. Companies, come and go, it was called DDEV, it used to be called DRUD, it went by several names, but, you know, not everything always works out and the money doesn't always hold out. And it's just the way it is sometimes. And somebody pulled the plug. I don't know who, but somebody pulled the plug. And so the company named DDEV shut down. The DDEV project was never in any question. The DDEV local project was never in any question because I'm committed to it and it's an open-source project and it was going forward anyway, but there was a little bit of uncertainty about whether the project might have to be forked, or the name might have to change because there is a trademark, a DDEV trademark.
Randy Fay: So there was some uncertainty about that. And the company named Fruition in Denver has bought the what, what, what would it be? The software that (the) DDEV company wanted to make money off of, and didn't end up doing that. They bought that software and they got the DDEV trademark name with it. And they've been very generous to say that they're gonna make sure that the DDEV local project remains open source, and then it doesn't have to change its name. And...the thinking isn't fully thought out, but they're, they're thinking that they would like to be the the central place to try to organize financing for the project as it goes forward. So there's a number of companies that have stepped up and said that they'd like to support the project and you know, maybe even Mediacurrent will want to, and it may be that we're, you know, these are things that we're still talking about, but Fruition may want to organize that financially, or maybe we'll figure out another way to do it, but anyway, they're just putting their foot in there and trying to make sure that it's clear to everybody that there's nothing wrong.
Randy Fay: Everything's good. And and that the name will continue and there's, there's no problems.
Mario Hernandez: Will you be still involved in maintaining the product, and how do you feel about this news about Fruition acquiring DDEV?
Randy Fay: I'm glad that they got it worked out. It doesn't change anything for me right now because I'm just supporting the project. I'm the maintainer of the project, and I continue to be the maintainer of the project. So it doesn't change anything for me. I'm not becoming a Fruition employee. They're, you know, they've been through a lot getting this done, so they haven't even been able to think about the finances yet. I'm sure. But for me, it just resolves the primary thing it does is resolve some ambiguity about whether we would have to fork or, you know, or change the name or something like that. So it's all, it's all very good and they're very nice people and have been very generous trying to sort this out. And they...I think they're taking on a big task with their ambitions, with the hosting software as well. So they've got a lot going on right now and we'll see how this all, how this all plays out. It's all good.
Mario Hernandez: It sounds like it's a great win for the community.
Mark Shropshire: Yeah, this is such great news. And it's it's kind of a testament how open source can continue even around business changes and things that happen in that world. That's not to say it always works out. We've all read stories and heard things, you know, but it's great to hear this and, and we're really happy that you're there and there's still keep supporting that, Randy, and I'd love to talk more about like what kind of support you need, too, later in the podcast. But because I'm sure, you know, you'd love to continue to have more PRs and people helping the project. But yeah, go ahead. Did you have, did you have anything immediate in mind on that, Randy?
Randy Fay: No. That's, good. I, like I say, the thinking isn't done and stuff, but it's all good. It's all good. It's gonna work out great. And, there've been a couple of excellent things that have happened in the funding realm already. TagOne has been supporting specific features. And so that's an easy way to support the project. So they just made me a contractor and have been paying me to do features that are important to some of their projects. And so I, you know, I just work a few, a few hours a week on their project, you know, on their features. And those are big wins for the whole community. And I expect Fruition is going to do the same kind of thing.
Randy Fay: And I think there's other companies that may want to do that. And there may be other companies that just say, Hey, we'll take five hours, we'll take five hours a week. And just, you know, just support the community or just, or, or, you know, maybe dedicated to what they actually need as far as features, but it's all, it's all good. So TagOne stepped up, now Fruition stepped up. There are other companies that have certainly made noise, but of course, as you know, it hasn't been clear how we would do that until this part sorted out. So that's another reason. This is really good is that now that this is sorted out, we can sort out the, all the people that have wanted to financially support the project.
Mark Shropshire: Yeah. That's so great to hear. Thanks for the additional detail on that. So, jumping back to the tech a little bit on DDEV, what are some of the key advantages that you see of around DDEV over other local development tech that's maybe been around or is around currently?
Randy Fay: You bet. You bet. So the original way that you did local development with the website is you'd put Apache on your computer and you'd put MySQL on your computer and you would hook them up and it actually would work great if you were if you were a whiz at Sysadmin, I was always a whiz at Sysadmin. It was my thing, you know, I liked it. It was, you know, I do Linux and I do Windows and I do Mac and it was all, I thought it was great. In fact, I was pretty skeptical of DDEV when I first started using it, because if you're a whiz, then you can just run that stuff. You can, you know, it all runs on every computer and it's great. But not everybody wants to spend their life configuring Apache or Engine X or MySQL, and the thing that amazed me when I started working on DDEV that really really shown for me was that every project could have different configuration.
Randy Fay: So back when I used to maintain everything on my own computer, that wasn't true, right? You have it set up for PHP 5.6 and that's it. You couldn't have one project on PHP 5.6 and another one on PHP 7, PHP 7 wasn't around then, but you just, it wasn't something you could do. And so I started realizing that with DDEV, you could have every project be different and customized, and you could do it right. And so that's because it's a Docker based, DDEv uses Docker underneath and all the stuff underneath is per project, and it is configurable for that project. So that's the huge difference between the Docker generation and the on the machine generation. The difference between DDEV and other Docker based local development environments like Lando or Doxil, which by the way, are great, great products and have lots of supporters and lots of great things to say about them.
Randy Fay: DDEV has got full cross, full support across all these platforms. So many different platforms, which you won't really find that level of support. DDEV is actually tested on all the different platforms. So it runs the full test suite on all the different platforms. DDEV is interoperable with many different versions of Docker. And we think the performance is great. On MacOS it's always a challenge. I'm still working on new ways to improve that in MacOS. So you can look for mutagen, mutagen integration coming up. I think the biggest thing, though, and this actually was playing out in Twitter today, is that DDEV doesn't assume that it owns your machine. So when you install DDEv, DDEV is going to be as respectful as it can. The only thing that I know of that requires you to use Sudu is if you're not using the regular DDEV.site URLs or host names and then it has to...edit the Etsy host's file, but in general, DDEV tries not to do anything to your machine. It won't install Docker, it won't overwrite Docker, it won't kill off your Docker, all of those kinds of things. And I think that's a big deal. But maybe, maybe you can put in the notes. I wrote a thing called "What's so different about DDEV Local?" Maybe you can put a link to that in the show notes.
Mario Hernandez: So I can certainly personally attest I was trying to, I originally got an M1 Mac and was trying to get other development environments set up and I was unfortunately not able to, but DDEV just worked for me, you know, the first try. And so, so that's great to have that kind of support. But, as far as you know, the efficiencies that DDEV provides besides the support, what are other efficiencies that DDEV provides to help teams? Is it something that non-developers can use to run their sites locally and test, or is this mainly just for developers?
Randy Fay: No, actually lots of, anybody who needs to evaluate a site will often do it or, you know, to evaluate or to test a site. It, all those kinds of things, there's actually an obscure feature where you can actually run websites using it. I call it casual web hosting, but I run my little websites using DDEV. That's that's not what DDEV was intended for, but people asked for it for years. And so they finally did it and it actually works pretty well. But it is definitely, it is definitely not managed web hosting or anything like that. So you wouldn't, you wouldn't put a big customer site on that under any circumstances. So the biggest thing about teams is that you check in your configuration for the project. So each project, you just check in the DDEV directory, the dot DDEV directorty, you check it in, and then everybody can check that out and DDEV has already configured for them.
Randy Fay: And so usually a team lead would configure and check in DDEV, and then all the other members of the team can just DDEV start and DDEV launch and get to work and it's already configured, even if they're even if the team lead was on windows and somebody else is on Mac or Linux, it'll just go. And obviously there's going to be caveats there, but really it pretty much works that way. So we're going to do at at Drupal Camp Colorado, I don't know whether, you know, Truls (Steenstrup Yggeseth) who's a Norwegian developer who is kind of an expert at setting up DDEV for teams. He's done it for two different companies. He's the guy that makes that work for two different companies. So he and I are doing a session, an hour-long session at Drupal Camp Colorado, which is free. And we're gonna, it's about, it's about teams and DDev. So we'd love to have you at that.
Mark Shropshire: Oh, that's great. Yeah. And you know, just to reinforce, this we'll definitely add a lot of these links and items to the show notes, so that it's all available. So don't worry. And if you're listening, go Google for it, just check out the show notes. And we've already got that link in our notes here from you, Randy, so thank you for that. So I know you mentioned earlier you know, some of the platforms or frameworks that run on DDEV include, you know, Drupal, TYPO3, what are some of the others of interest? And are there any others that, you know, are maybe coming up? But I know you've got quite a few.
Randy Fay: Cause you do a DDEV config and a DDEV start, and it's already configured. You don't even, you don't know where the database is, you don't care where the database is. You don't, you didn't do the settings file. It's just there, but that's just a settings file. It's not like, we all know how to do a settings file so we could all do that by hand. Then I'm pretty sure on like on Lando and Doxil, you have to do the settings file yourself. Well, that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. It just makes it, I don't know. It's a little addictive. So that that's mostly what the framework stuff is. It's icing on the cake, but it's not the fundamentals, but it feels like the fundamentals because everybody gets used to it.
Mark Shropshire: It does, because I know when I'm in development mode and not a DevOps mode, I want to just worry about the code and get into the code. And so if it saves, you know, that automation save that time and you know, in an agency situation like Mario and I are in, we're popping in different projects all the time and spinning things up, spinning things. I mean, it becomes even more so a benefit, even though you do that settings file once, you know, usually, and then it's done, but yeah, totally agree. That's great insight. And I think, Mario, we've even had, we've even had some projects where we've run Gatsby in DDEV and some other node things like Randy mentioned.
Mario Hernandez: You know, shameless plug here. I actually, with the help of Randy, I wrote a blog post. I think it was late last year where I configure an environment and since I do a lot of training myself, training workshops, I configure an environment where the students would just run DDEV start and they will have everything from, you know, obviously Drupal, PHP, everything else, but also NVM, NPM, node and everything pre-configured and running from the containers, including Pattern Lab, which will run from the containers. And by sharing some ports, you can literally have an NPM watch task watch your changes and everything in the containers. Pattern Lab will even reload the browser for you, all running from the container. So it is incredible what you can do with it. So highly recommend if you are a developer to look into it. So, now that we talked a little bit about the DDEV, what it does, what it can do and how cool it is, what can you tell us, Randy, about what's coming up for DDEV?
Randy Fay: Well, I'm really excited about what I've been spent working on the last the last few weeks I already mentioned it. It's mutagen passing speed up. The big problem on MacOS and to some extent on Windows is that Docker is slow updating files between the host and the container. And so there's a workaround for that. You can call it caching, or you can call it asynchronous updates. But there's a project called mutagen that's another open source project that has been working on trying to solve that problem for some time. And it actually has pretty good potential. Basically what happens with it is when you make a change in the container, that change is immediately available to like the web server or a PHP FPM. And so it doesn't have to wait for that to sync before it is used.
Randy Fay: So that's not the way it is in current Docker setups. In, current Docker setups, every file change requires everything to happen immediately. Anyway, mutagen can be two to 10 times faster at like a, at like a Drupal nine installer or something like that. I've been doing some timing on it. Very, very impressive. And that's fast, I'm talking about faster than NFS, which is the other technique that we've been recommending for a long time. The complexity of mutagen is that...you can introduce conflicts by touching something on the Windows side or the Mac side, and also inside the container. The consistency stuff is hard and mutagen is good at it. But there's a lot of workarounds that DDEV is having to do to make that go. But I think you'll see an alpha of that in the next couple of weeks.
Randy Fay: And I hope, I'd love to have everybody try it and get their feedback. It is lovely to work with. The worry always is about consistency. Would some files suddenly go away on you that you didn't mean that to happen, that kind of thing. So consistency is the big deal. Also (developer) Ofer Shaal has been working like crazy making gitpod work with D dev. So there's a whole project called DDEV gitpod, (https://github.com/shaal/ddev-gitpod) that will just bring you up a whole Drupal, a whole Drupal nine set up, boom, there you are. By the way, Ofer likes to say boom. So I'm going to say boom a few times, you can put the boom into the release notes. And so, you can try that out and it's just lovely, but the next step, he's transforming that for Drupal contributions so that you can just say here, and this, this project is called Drupal pod capital D capital P.
Randy Fay: So Shaal drupalpod, and he's got it to where you can visit an issue on drupal.org and you can do an issue fork or contribute to an issue fork right there in your browser. Now I should have started by saying what gitpod is. Gitpod is a way to run a Linux computer in the browser. It's basically giving you a free Linux computer that's fully configurable in the browser with VS code. So it's got a very nice IDE. So if you bring up DDEV gitpod, for example, you have all of DDEV right there in your browser, all of it. You can, immediately do debugging. Ofer has done a number of demonstrations of this. You just spin up, you go to any PR or you go to any project on GitHub, click the gitpod link, and boom, you have got that boom in there, again for you, Ofer, you have it up and running and you can debug with XD bug in VS code without doing anything, nothing at all.
Randy Fay: So it's right there. It's got great potential for DrupalCons for contribution days. Both of these have enormous potential for that because you don't, if you've ever worked in that, one of the contribution days at DrupalCon about half the day can be spent helping people get a local environment set up and they've all got their own computer and it all has to be set up differently. And with with these various ideas that Ofer is spinning off so fast, all that goes away and it can all be done consistently in gitpod. It's an amazing demonstration. I don't think it probably works as well on a podcast.
Mark Shropshire: Yeah, yeah, that's right. This is audio only, but Ofer, he is on tour. It seems like giving demos, he gave a demo or a Drupal Camp Asheville unconference, and it blew my mind. I was immediately posting links and I've already got those listed now for the show notes, but I was posting links in our developers channel cause I was so excited. I saw the potential in Drupal pod, but I don't think I realized there was DDEV gitpod. So thanks for mentioning that, Randy.
Randy Fay: Yeah, well that's what Drupal pod is, too. Drupal pod just uses DDEV inside gitpod, but it's focused on Drupal issues. So it's focused on Drupal. And so that, I mean, that's gitpod is DDEV in gitpod.
Mark Shropshire: I see. Yeah, that makes sense. Drupal pod is for the issue queue side of things.
Randy Fay: Ofer and I are going to do a demo of a Drupal pod probably at Drupal Camp Colorado. I think, don't they always have like an IT day? I think we have a slot on that.
Mark Shropshire: That is fantastic. I guess we're at a point here where we can we can start to wrap up a bit. I mean, you've mentioned a few fantastic trainings already. So I would tell everyone to kind of check out the Drupal Camp Colorado website. We'll get links in the show notes. And also I think there's some training coming up with, with Mike Anello, too, Randy.
Randy Fay: Yeah, we're doing we're doing at, at Drupal Camp Colorado. We're doing a half day training with Mike Anello. If you haven't done one of Mike's classes, every one he does is wonderful, but he's been doing DDEV for years. He does this whole, like year-long Drupal thing to take you from zero to expert in a year. He does, he does all kinds of wonderful things. But he also does Composer, which I highly recommend his Composer class, but he and I are doing DDEV local, beginner to expert half day at Drupal Camp Colorado. Yeah.
Mario Hernandez: Mike...I have worked with them before and attended this class, actually. Mark Shropshire: He's fantastic. And a great community member. I highly encourage folks to check that out for sure. So I think that should do it for today. We really appreciate it there, Randy, taking the time to join us again and give us all this great information, especially it looks like the future looks very bright for DDEV and makes us all very happy here at Mediacurrent and I'm sure a lot of the community members out there, so boom, there you go.
Mark Shropshire: I like it. I'll drop a boom in now. It's like, it's so much better.
Mario Hernandez: So thanks again, Randy. We appreciate it. And anything else, Shrop, you'd like to close with?
Mark Shropshire: No, no, just encourage everybody to, if you haven't used DDEV, go check it out. We've got links for all of Randy's. Well, not all of Randy's places on the internet, but at least some places I know I looked for Randy and that's his website, GitHub links and Twitter. So definitely check that out and I encourage, also, this is open source, you know, Randy can't do everything, and I encourage folks to help with the project in whatever way they can, organizations or individuals.
Randy Fay: Yeah. Yeah. That's what I was going to follow up with that, too. DDEV Is a community of people and it's, you know, when there's a whole bunch of different Slack groups, there's DDEV in the Drupal slack and in the TYPO3 Slack, but DDEV depends on everybody learning new things and pioneering new approaches and helping each other more than anything else. And those communities where people are listening and helping people at all levels when they land are wonderful things. So remember that DDEV is a community project and you're part of it. And you're welcome there.
Mark Shropshire: Well, that can't say it any better than that. Thank you so much for your time today, Randy. We really appreciate it. And now we know it's precious, so thank you.
- Building an automated DDEV-based Drupal environment - Blog post from Randy and Mario discussing DDEV for Drupal
- What’s so different about DDEV-Local? - Blog post from Randy about DDEV-Local and the community
- Gitpod links:
- Where to Find Randy Online