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Adding Some Umami to Configuration Management

Pantheon Developer Advocate David Needham recaps his talk on configuration management from the Aten at Home Webinar Series.


I usually travel once a month to speak at Drupal and WordPress conferences. In the conference void that is 2020, organizations like our agency partner Aten are rising to the occasion by organizing the Aten at Home Webinar Series. I was delighted to talk about configuration management at their event on August 26, 2020. 

Configuration management marked a distinct path on my personal maturity model through site-building, because it meant that I didn’t have to make the same change more than once. Prior to an elegant solution like configuration management, I’d have to do work in a development environment (or local), and then do it all again on Test and Live. Or I had to break best practices and overwrite the Live database (which is a good way to lose things). 


Doing configuration once in Dev means I actually enjoy the work that I’m doing and I’m far less likely to make mistakes when I have to redo it in a new environment. This results in a faster development cycle and unlocks new options like automated testing.

In the talk, I go into more depth describing the problem and how configuration management solves it. I also have the pleasure of demonstrating a common scenario using some unexpectedly entertaining roleplaying. “Unexpectedly entertaining,” you say? Why, yes. 

At the beginning of the demo, I introduce Mr. Jenkins, the Editor of Umami Magazine (played by me). When he experiences problems, he calls up Kyle (also played by me) who saves the day with configuration management. Besides changing my voice and vocabulary, I also do costume changes and use SnapCam to take it a step further. It’s a lot of fun.

My first run of this talk didn’t include any roleplaying or silly voices but when I had more opportunities to give the talk, we were well into the year. I felt like we could use a little laugh, even if it’s at my expense. (Also, my D&D campaign was canceled due to COVID and I really wanted some roleplaying.) 

If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the video from this talk now. It makes me smile and I hope it makes you smile, too.

Hero image by Maria Fernanda Morales via Unsplash

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Topics Development

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