Moving on, aka 'New job, 2019 edition'

Since 2014, I've been working for Acquia, doing some fun work with a great team in Professional Services. I started out managing some huge Drupal site builds for Acquia clients, and ended up devoting all my time for the past couple years to some major infrastructure projects, diving deeper into operations work, Ansible, AWS, Docker, and Kubernetes in production.

In that same time period, I began work on my second book, Ansible for Kubernetes, but have not had the dedicated time to get too deep into writing—especially now that I have three young kids. When I started writing Ansible for DevOps, I had one newborn!

Also, during my time at Acquia I encountered major health issues relating to my Crohn's disease, culminating in a major surgery and a new permanent friend. I am extremely grateful to have had great benefits and understanding colleagues and managers at Acquia, in addition to a remote job that granted me flexibility during some of the worst weeks, health-wise.

For the past year, since having that surgery, my health has improved dramatically, and for the first time in years, I started considering diving into a more entrepreneurial career path. I've been running Midwestern Mac, LLC since 2008, managing SaaS products like Hosted Apache Solr and Server Check.in (both sites are still running on Drupal 7, with tons of backend microservices!), and I've always wanted to grow those products.

But doing so—and writing a book, and managing a growing family—with a full time job has been nearly impossible. Oh, also managing over 200 open source projects with over 10k forks and 20k stars (I'm sorry if I've neglected reviewing your PR for a while!).

The point of this is, I'm going to devote myself to some new ventures, focusing on a few consulting projects (mostly infrastructure-related, probably lots of Kubernetes and Ansible—more to come 😉), my writing, and Midwestern Mac's SaaS products.

What does this mean for my Drupal work and contributions? Well, that's mostly TBD; currently all the sites I run personally (including this blog) are running on Drupal 7. It might or might not make sense to upgrade to Drupal 8 or Drupal 9, and depending on that I'm not sure how much involvement I'll continue to have in the Drupal community. A lot depends on where my future projects take me!

One thing is certain, though: I'm going to make an effort to get at least the first few chapters of Ansible for Kubernetes published and available on LeanPub by the end of July, and I hope to attend AnsibleFest Atlanta this September!

Comments

All the best. It is exciting to be moving on and with your skills, and your industry, your outstanding record of contribution, and your improved health--thank God!--I am sure you will do well.

For the many of us who (including you to judge by some of your posts) love and know Drupal and yet have found that D8, for all the good things about it, is not serving many use cases and clients as well as D7 did, perhaps it is time to get behind the Backdrop CMS project?

John

I don’t feel like Backdrop has the path forward for my kind of web apps and sites. It seems like a niche to serve Drupal 7 sites that want Drupal 7 architecture forever... I will likely evolve sites to a different framework or platform (maybe Drupal 8/9 for some, but likely simpler / smaller scale for others).

I think it’s a natural evolution of the web, and of a developer, to long for a simpler or more optimized stack as time goes on and a site’s purpose and use case is refined, and I don’t think that D7 to Backdrop does that for me at least.

That is a penetrating comment. Having discovered HTML in 1997 I am often asking myself 'would static HTML work here'? Drupal 8 itself is a nudge to ask again the question, 'at what point do the benefits of a complex tool outweigh the costs'?

My clients have typical small-organaization websites, publishing content in non-profit and related sectors. They need some of the features which Drupal does well: permissions, menus, content types, blocks, secure forms, blogs, sometimes faceted search / filtered views, sometimes subscription or ticket sales, perhaps entity refereneces, text with footnotes, or a little CRM / user data or mailing integration; and it it a safe bet their requirements will evolve. Drupal 7 does this so well, and Drupal 8 can, but for the costs and complexity it has added.

I am all for finding simpler and more optimized stacks, and have often wondered whether there are sane alternatives to Drupal (other than WordPress which is anyway ruined by the way Gutenberg will start to lock in content to WordPress). If you or anyone points me towards clean, cost-effective solutions which might some of these use cases, I am all ears!

For my purposes—one of the most important being long-term maintenance of a relatively stable platform—a stable framework like Laravel, or for some things Flask or something along those lines, can be easier to maintain, and likely only slightly more difficult to build out initially.

For sites that need many of the CMS features Drupal offers, it is a great fit. But for many sites where my default used to just be 'go to Drupal', I've found after 5-10 years of maintaining the site that Drupal isn't as necessary (e.g. only one user, content is only updated sporadically, etc.).

One thing that I'm gravitating towards for many of these types of sites is something that generates static content on the front-end—I am hosting about 40 different sites that get a decent amount of traffic (sometimes spiky) on one small $5/month Digital Ocean Droplet. I could not do that with even 10 or 20 CMS sites even with a good caching strategy (which is pretty necessary nowadays else you get dinged by Google, at least).

@John_B Grav (https://getgrav.org/) might be a suitable solution for some of your use cases.
It is much lighter as Drupal, but still uses Symphony and Twig, so should feel somewhat familiar.

All the best man

All the best in your new endeavors. I can't wait to drop my eyes on your upcoming book. The first one on Ansible was well written and well kept up to date.