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Blog Post

Introducing Mediacurrent Automated Updates

by Jay Callicott
August 19, 2020

Managing updates in Drupal 8 can be a challenge. Core and contributed projects are frequently updated, and as with any update, there is an opportunity for incompatibility or regression. Costs to manually manage Drupal updates can eat into a monthly support budget that would otherwise be used for new features or creative work that adds business value. That’s where automation comes to the rescue!

Mediacurrent’s new automated update process uses machines to cut down on otherwise tedious (but necessary) work to keep your Drupal website up and running. From JIRA ticket creation to testing and staging, our process handles the longer steps that would otherwise require a developer. The result is significant time savings (2-3x times) for updates. Find out more below!

Here’s how it works

Step 1 - Detecting updates

The first step to automating updates is a job that continually looks for Composer updates for the Drupal 8 application. When new updates are detected, a pull request is created which kicks off a range of tests that include security, code quality, visual regression, and custom functional tests. This cuts down on the amount of manual testing that would be otherwise required to ensure that updates don’t include regressions.

Pull Requests

Example “automated” pull requests that have been merged 

 

Automated tests output in Bitbucket

Partial screenshot of automated tests output in Bitbucket

Step 2 - JIRA integration

The next part of this process is automatic JIRA ticket creation that will alert the project team to the Composer updates being performed. This ticket will ensure that work gets tracked appropriately through to deployment and saves one of the otherwise tedious steps required along the way.

Slack notification screenshot

Example Slack notification of a new JIRA ticket created

Step 3 - Staging updates

That last piece of Mediacurrent’s update automation involves staging the updates on a hosting environment such as Pantheon Multidev or an Acquia Cloud environment. This aspect is important because it means we have used machines to expedite the process immediately to the testing step. Up to this point, we have run the Composer update through several automated tests that have all passed. This gives the green light to a QA engineer to perform the final testing. 

Once testing has been completed to everyone’s satisfaction, the pull request is merged which will kick off the typical CI workflow that stages new updates for the next scheduled production release. The net result is time (and headaches) saved!

builds that have been passed on a hosting environment

Ready to get started?

Contact us today to find out how to save time and money using Mediacurrent’s automated update process. We would love to work with your organization to streamline the management of your Drupal 8 application. Feel free to chat with us now (see the bottom right corner) or visit our contact page to set up a time to discuss our solution.

Meet team member, Jay Callicott

Jay is an engineer and leader with a passion for creating technical solutions that solve real-world problems. As a long-time advocate for Drupal and Open Source, he has spent over a decade speaking, writing, and developing enterprise solutions that advance Open Source worldwide.

Since 2009, Jay has worked in a variety of roles for Mediacurrent. For the first 6 years, he focused his efforts on perfecting his craft as an engineer. From Drupal consultant to Senior Developer, then Lead Architect, Jay created solutions and led teams that delivered dozens of enterprise websites.

In 2015, Jay was promoted to Director of Development where he was tasked with hiring developer talent and implementing processes and best practices for the team. Jay also split his time as a lead architect, launching several large projects during this period.

A few years later, Jay moved into his current role as VP of Technical Operations. Jay’s primary responsibilities are working with the revenue team to acquire and retain customers, overseeing Security, DevOps, and IT roles, and leading Mediacurrent’s technology vision. He also helps lead the development of tools and solutions, including the Rain distribution, which won Acquia’s “Open Source Giants” award in 2019.

Currently, Jay is a big proponent of decoupled architecture and the JAMStack approach to web development. Read more about Jay’s thoughts in “The State of Drupal in 2019

Learn more about Jay >

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