I’m working on many projects where we have a process that will make sure that every change we introduce in the cookbooks enters as a new version and where we use extensively environments to select what versions of cookbooks we want to use in each environment. This sounds like a great idea, and a workflow that I would highly recommend to anyone for sure. Still, after a while, the result is that you will end up with hundreds maybe even thousands of cookbook versions and most of them are unused (besides the few ones that you are referencing in each environment and maybe the latest ones). Normally I would not care about this and as long as it is not causing performance issues you should not care about it either. Still you must admit that when debugging any problems, it will make it more complex with all those versions everywhere; see bellow an example.
It’s been a little more than a year since I stepped up and became one of the organizers of the Bay Area Chef user group, trying to help my good friend Rob Berger as he was getting swamped with work and could not dedicate as much time to this, as he used to in the past. This post is meant to be a quick review on what happened during this time, what worked well and of course some ideas on how we can improve this in the future. I’m also hoping to get feedback from our members on what we can do differently in the future to better serve them and make this an even better group.
One of the first things we’ve done last year was to introduce the Chef Cafes. These are small events (we have a max limit of 10 people set for them) done consistently at the same time (1st and 3rd Thursday of the month) at the best coffee in Mountain View (Red Rock Coffee) with the intent to facilitate the interaction between people, give them a place where they can regularly meet and discuss about chef, ask questions and also try to help other members in the spirit of the open source community. The first Chef Cafe was on March 1st 2012 and it was just me and Rob (we had a good time preparing the future events and just catching up). But after that, we had 16 Chef Cafe’s all year long and many of them had 10 or even more people, and each one of them was unique and special in its own way. We had some, where we had new chef users that had various questions on how to use chef and we tried to help them and resolve their blocks in understanding and getting up to speed with chef. On the other hand we had other cafes where we had really advanced uses that brainstormed about various unresolved problems and what was their take on things like cookbook testing, workflow or orchestration. Overall, I think it was a great success and allowed us to be more connected with members, and also more open and helpful to new chef users.
In 2013 we look forward to your suggestions on how we can improve the Chef Cafes and we will try to keep these going. We hope to be able to move one in San Francisco and keep the other one in the South Bay as we had various requests for that. So if you are in the City and you want to get involved with this please ping me.