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March 28, 2013

Code Sprint March 2013 Report

Category: Server Admin Team

Last weekend three members of the TYPO3 Server Team gathered at the TYPO3 Code Sprint to push infrastructure tasks forward.

Christian and Bastian feeling happy with many DONE tasks.

The participants of the combined / Server Team code sprint (photo: Ben van't Ende)

The three members of the TYPO3 Server Admin Team Bastian Bringenberg, Christian Trabold, and Steffen Gebert met during the last weekend for a code sprint. They were joining the Codesprint at AOEmedia, where they had the possibility to meet and hack together on long planned task like cleaning up the chef-repo, discussing new ideas and finalizing the concept for our centralized log server without having to care about organizational tasks or Skype connection issues too much.

Day 1 (Friday)

After a warm welcome and dinner with the Team we set up our workspace and collected our tasks for the sprint.

Once again we decided to use a kanban board to track our progress, a flipchart to visualize ideas and a big screen to easily discuss on the same code base. Within minutes the corner looked pretty nerdy and we could move on with our agenda quickly.

As Bastian Bringenberg (forge profile, web site), who has been a regular contributing to the Server Team during the last six months, was invited to be a regular team member last week, the sprint was a great opportunity to exchange more knowledge. We also focused on making the on-boarding more easy for developers that are new to Ruby and Chef.

Within two hours we set up Bastians workstation and presented him the ‘basics of chef’. This was a great opportunity for Steffen and Christian to refresh their Chef knowledge and re-discuss some basic workflow principles as well. Remember that we’ve introduced Chef only about a year ago.

As we all just arrived after a regular working day only couple of hours before, we decided to close the first day a bit earlier to catch some sleep.

Day 2 (Saturday)

On the next day we focused on cleaning up our chef-repo.

We got rid of orphaned git branches, Rubygems and Rake Tasks. The result is a much smaller code base, which is easier to understand and streamlines our development process in the future. As a nice side effect our clean up was also a good exercise for us to introduce Bastian to our lessons learned and to share some best practices.

As another big success we (finally) introduced encrypted databags, which allow us to store sensitive data securely within our chef-repo. Thanks to this Chef feature and a strong encryption we can now store more information without switching context to other sources – a big step towards a single source of truth, which is key especially for distributed teams.

After lunch, Christian presented the log server configuration and prepared the cookbooks for Elasticsearch, RabbitMQ and Graylog2 for our infrastructure. A lot of discussion went into the placement of the services in different VM, which might be split up - and in our case also distributed over multiple servers (which are located in different data centers, due to their different sponsors). 

Bastian got excited fixing our code style issues and got his hands dirty with more and Ruby magic. A clear sign that he enjoys cooking delicious chef recipes as much as we do. Steffen had to leave in the afternoon and supported us via Skype.

We enjoyed a good flow and hacked till late night.

Day 3 (Sunday)

On our last day, Bastian and Christian continued improving the code style of our cookbooks with Andrew Crump’s awesome foodcritic gem, started thinking of some more chefspec tests, to verify our good quality cookbooks and how to write more documentation and tasks to speed up on-boarding of new members - or old members that are new to chef :)


It was again a very productive and fun experience. The great hospitality of AOEmedia and the hotel nearby made it a pleasant stay.

The TYPO3 Server Team in its current form was initiated in 2010. Since then we meet in bi-weekly online meetings and during other TYPO3 events. We try to meet in person as much as possible, because it is much more fun and productive. We thank the TYPO3 Association and its members for paying travel and hotel costs.

If you'd like to follow Bastian and are interested in joining our (volunteer) work in a great team, you are welcome to contact us through admin(at)


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