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2011/09/29

How a technical presentation Q&A session turned my head around.

Sometimes you learn something beyond what you expect.

Last night, I attended a presentation at my local LUG of Puppet by Garrett Honeycutt of Puppetlabs. Garrett had evidently been a PLUG guy when I was, but I didn't really recognize him. I did recognize his friend, so it could be my mind going.

Anyway, Puppet, in a nutshell, is a configuration manager useful for keeping hundreds of machines doing what you want, using the same kinds of tools people use to manage software, including moving from Development to Test to Production. Some people I know who ride the big iron are finding their current means to manage their hundreds of machines to be a little too hodge-podge and daunting were there, and it seems they like the taste of that Kool-Aid. I was interested, and thinking it could be useful, but a bit more than anything I need.

That's when it hit me. In our current workplace, we're not really doing that. There's one canonical instance of a thing, be it a Perl program, a Perl library, a Javascript module, a web page, a script, whatever. We have test and production databases, and for some of the modules, we're using tests like in Perl Testing, which I must confess I never really "got". So, while we might be generating decent code, we're not engineering it and maintaining it the way we should.

So, I'm spending much of today trying to wrap my head around that, hoping to establish Dev-Test-Production setup for my code. Thank you, Garrett and Mike and the rest, for kicking me the right direction without even meaning to.