Mobomo’s Drupal GovCon 2021 Training
Each year, the best and brightest in the web development community gather at Drupal GovCon to expand their expertise and share the latest insights and trends regarding Drupal, the free and open-source web content management system (CMS) that provides the back-end framework for at least 1300 of the top websites worldwide.
Mobomo, a leader in scalability who has worked with federal agencies from NASA to the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association), has been a key contributor to Drupal GovCon since its inception in 2015 and, as the sole Accessibility Sponsor for this year’s convention, our team of experts embraced the honor of hosting several shorter presentations in addition to an extensive training on Drupal infrastructure best practices.
Widely recognized for a track record building some of the most trafficked sites for government entities, the Mobomo technical team is committed to serving the 1.4 million strong Drupal community as a partner and thought leader. This year, Mobomo aces Jason Schulte, Dan Narkiewicz, and Jeff Beagley focused on Mobomo’s unique approach and philosophy regarding what doing Drupal right really looks like. An infrastructure, hosting, and web development veteran with more than 20 years experience fostering cohesive teams dedicated to innovation, Jason Schulte, Mobomo’s CTO, joined Dan Narkiewicz, a Full Stack Developer and Engineering Manager who specializes in Docker-in-the-Cloud solutions for Drupal 7, 8, and 9, and Jeff Beagley, a DevSecOps Engineer with a wide-ranging background in software development and a focus on building automated and efficient applications/architectures at scale. Together, they created a playbook for the more technically savvy Drupal GovCon attendees to hone their abilities in designing sites that strike the right balance between speed and aesthetics without sacrificing long term scalability capabilities.
The “Mobomo Way” deep dive Jason, Dan, and Jeff engaged in with the group began with Drupal on a single server using docker containers and then scaled it to a high-availability, production-ready cloud deployment utilizing AWS managed cloud services to scale the Drupal infrastructure with the capability to leverage AWS automation to its fullest extent. Taking advice from John Wooden, who famously once said, “If you don’t have the time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”, Jason, Dan, and Jeff shared the most critical elements involved in building sites that perform – and will keep performing no matter the scale; namely, memcache, docker containers, and appropriate planning of the reverse proxy caching layer and CDN.
Speeding up dynamic web applications by reducing the database load, memcache is an open source, high-performance distributed memory caching system that is widely recognized for optimizing the user experience. Mobomo believes every Drupal site should be built using memcache because, without it, sites can encounter performance issues in the long term. We have seen it too many times and the scalability issues that arise from not using memcache can become cost and performance prohibitive for you and your clients.
Packaging applications and all their dependencies together in the form of “containers”, Docker ensures that each application is independent of other applications, will not interfere with one another, and is easily replicable by QA teams. This containerization platform works seamlessly in any environment but most importantly, Docker Containers force developers to view site infrastructures in terms of separate components and separate the site components at the beginning of the development process, which allows for easy scalability of individual layers throughout all site expansion efforts today and into the future.
Reverse Proxy Caching Layer and the CDN
Maximizing site performance is critical to the user experience, but a great deal of care and planning must go into a reverse proxy caching layer and the CDN (Content Delivery Network). This can truly be one of the most difficult things to set up and configure properly, primarily because this is never a one size fits all situation. The reverse proxy and CDN is how you make the site perform really fast for the public, but whenever you publish new content to the site, you run up against the CDN – so, striking a balance between these two forces (pushing content out quickly without hitting the backend all the time) is very challenging. Mobomo’s training seminar touched on this, but in reality, reverse proxy caching and the CDN is a topic that could have its own intricate training course. In other areas, developers can be prescriptive, but in this instance, the way in which each is calibrated is entirely dependent upon the site needs and usage. For example, a news organization that publishes articles by the minute will require different planning than a government entity with static pages updated on an infrequent basis.
Jason, Dan, and Jeff made this look extremely easy through their training, but suffice it to say, practice makes perfect – and as experts in their fields, these gentlemen have seen and worked their way through many challenging site builds/rebuilds.
Have questions about performance audits or scaling your site? Interested in learning more from Jason, Dan, and Jeff? We at Mobomo pride ourselves on redefining the status quo in product design and DevSecOps engineering and are committed to sharing knowledge with our colleagues, so we’ve included a link to our Drupal GovCon training presentation. We welcome any thoughts you have on our work and or suggestions you have for future training that would be valuable to you and your organization.