Pantheon Community

WebOps Wednesday AMA: Tara King

Hi, I’m Tara King, Pantheon’s Developer Outreach Manager. I support the amazing Pantheon community, both here on the forums and at events. I also guide our Pantheon Heroes program.

We are starting a new series of WebOps Wednesday AMAs, where we’ll gather Pantheon employees & community members to ask and answer questions every week. I’m the guinea pig for our first post.

Before joining Pantheon’s Developer Relations team, I was a Customer Success Engineer at Pantheon, where I worked with our customers on problems big and small. I have worked as a Senior Drupal Developer at Universal Music Group, worn a lot of hats at small agencies, and run my own web development shop.

I’m on the leadership team of Drupal Diversity & Inclusion, an all-volunteer community group that works to make the Drupal community safer and more welcoming. I’m on the DrupalCon Amsterdam Being Human & Community track team, and am a track chair for the DrupalCon Minneapolis DevOps & Infrastructure team.

Last but not least, I like board gaming, performance art and gardening and would love to chat about those things too.

Ask me anything!

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Hi @sparklingrobots! based on your experience in Customer Success at Pantheon, where are WebOps teams getting tripped up most often?

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May I please purchase a small slice of your brains?

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Ooh, good question.

I saw a lot of teams where knowledge of how to use Pantheon was locked away on the developer side. Other team members would come into chat needing to use the platform but not knowing how. I think on the Pantheon side, we could do a better job of making the platform clear to non-devs. I also think teams could take more advantage of our role-based permissions to give product owners access without the worry of an accidental deployment or badly timed cache clear.

Beyond that, a lot of questions we get are around site performance and caching. I have learned so much about New Relic since working here, and I love that we offer it on our Performance & Elite plans. It helps with troubleshooting, but it also helps teams communicate with each other about the issues they’re seeing. I can’t count the number of times I’ve previously had a client say “The website is slow” without any details or explanation of what they were experiencing–New Relic gives us a way to look at the same data and work together toward a resolution.

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:rofl: I’m happy to loan it out, but I am hopeful that slices won’t be available for purchase for a very long time.

knocks on wood

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For someone who basically only knows what they’ve had to learn, and who is shallow and broad in skill-base, what would you suggest digging deeper into to better their back-end Drupal usefulness?

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I love this question! Self-taught dev here, so the question of how to apply one’s limited time and energy is something I have thought about a lot.

Here’s a list of things I always suggest to folks looking to move more toward the backend of Drupal:

  • Git/Drush/Composer are really powerful tools (is it rude to share my own talk on command line basics? :sweat_smile:)
  • Find a project-based way to learn (sounds like this is probably how you are already doing it). Even if there’s a better way to do X via the UI, it’s nice to practice building a module to do it.
  • Examples for Developers (https://www.drupal.org/project/examples) has always been a good friend to me. Any small thing you want to do (make a module to create a form!) has examples here.
  • I love Drupalize.me & BuildAModule.com for learning more about Drupal–even for pretty advanced devs, they have great resources.

I think your skills may beyond these, to be honest–you know a lot! If you’re looking for something else @justkristin, let me know!!

Per your tweet, https://twitter.com/sparklingrobots/status/1182018792240508928, I would like to know what the best board game ever is, and why.

Short of THE best, I will also accept a list of no more than 3 that you would put into the run-off competition for THE best.

:slight_smile:

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+1 to what @justkristin said :slightly_smiling_face: Would love to steal some of that brain power of yours @sparklingrobots! I am also really passionate about the D&I space. I know you gave a session at BADcamp recently about D&I in the open source community. Can you share a little more about that session & how you got started in this kind of work?

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YES! I was hoping someone would let me go on at length about board games. Thank you, @dgorton!

#1 best board game: MegaCivilization

Why: It takes 6-12 hours to play, but is super easy to learn as you play. It’s a rare game that stays fun for that long. It also plays up to 18 players!

If you don’t (yet) love playing games for 12 hours, I also love:

  • Sushi Go Party – fast and adorable card game!
  • Gloomhaven – great combat system, good story elements, and so fun to play in campaign form!
  • A Quiet Year – a collaborative map-making game that edges into RPG territory
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That particular session is one I have given with various members of the Drupal Diversity & Inclusion (DD&I) leadership team over the past year. The session covers some of the reasons why diversity is much lower in open-source than it is in proprietary software and articulates some basic d&i concepts (like intersectionality & structural inequality).

We just updated it to include some material on things you think would help d&i efforts, but don’t, and some practical actions people can take to make the Drupal community more welcoming. Plus lots of Q&A time, because discussion is so important. The recording of the talk is already live!

I got involved in d&i work in open-source because I saw that DD&I was actually getting stuff done! I’d always been aware of the monoculture in Drupal, but this gave me a venue to take action. The conversations were rich and informative, and I finally felt like I had a place in the Drupal community where I could be myself. That community has been a really empowering place for me, and I want to be sure that the same opportunities are afforded to others who need support.

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Lordessa, but A Quiet Year looks amazing!

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It’s so good! Just got a session in with @david.needham at BADCamp – let me know next time you’re headed to a Drupal event and we can play!

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How long for a game? How many people is best? I am sorry to pollute your AMA with game stuff…

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I mean, there’s a reason it’s called Ask Me Anything – no worries at all!

The full game (all 52 weeks) typically takes about 4 hours. I find that to be an exhausting experience, so I usually play the “Fleeting Year” variant, which takes about 3 hours.

I think 4 players is ideal. More than that and the time between turns is too long. Fewer than that and you have maybe a little too much control over what comes next. Three isn’t bad, though.

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Re: MegaCivilization - I know this game – or at least it’s precursor – and LOVE it! It’s been ages since I played, however. Must find a way…

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I had a hard time deciding if I should put Advanced or Mega. Both are so good.

p.s. We always play MegaCiv at MañanaCon! :wink: