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From DevNet Create to Ansible Contributor

September 24, 2018 - 1 Comment
Contributors: Ed Murphy

Ansible Contribution and You

Ansible is a great tool. While originally built for software provisioning and configuration management Ansible has spread into so many other technologies, for example, networking and compute hardware. Ansible’s Domain Specific Language written in YAML makes it an easy tool to grasp and get started with. Once you get going with Ansible you may start to think, “gee I wish Ansible did this…” Not to worry, Ansible has capabilities to run external scripts and your own local modules. Perhaps those modules work with your company’s hardware and software. Perhaps those modules were even written by you or your co-workers. Perhaps those modules do great things. Perhaps you should share those modules with the rest of the Ansible community! Why? Because if those modules helped you they could help someone else and helping someone else is always a good thing.  How do you help someone else? By contributing your modules to Ansible and making them part of Ansible Core. Like anything worth doing there is some effort involved, effort to learn the contribution process, effort to ensure your contributed module meets the standards for inclusion, and effort to ensure that your contributed module has been sufficiently tested and documented.

Help will always be given

“Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.” These words, spoken by Dumbledore in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” and repeated several times afterwards came to mind recently when I was referenced in a tweet. Before I show you the tweet, let me provide some background and some context to how it came about.

That’s me on the right, working with a team at
Camp Create during DevNet Create 2018.

DevNet Create incubates opportunity

April 2018 saw the second running of DevNet Create, and with it came great keynotes from Susie Wee, DevNet’s Visionary-in-Charge, and Guy Kawasaki, Visionary-at-Large. DevNet Create was loaded with great content geared to the developer community. The sessions, workshops, panels, challenges, trivia, giveaways, and the highly anticipated Camp Create @ DevNet Create provided awesome and significant opportunities for the developer community to come together and hear about, learn about, try out, and build. DevNet Create is focused on the Developer, developer technologies, relationships, and opportunities. DevNet Create 2018 sessions, workshops, panels, etc. ranged in topic from creating CI/CD pipelines to blockchain to how to deliver effective technical presentations and more. With speakers, panelists, keynoters, and work-shoppers from Cisco and so many other companies, DevNet Create is about making things happen regardless of the technologies you are making them with or for.

Ohh, Ohh, Pick Me!

You would think that since I’m with Cisco, John McDonough – Technical Leader – DevNet Developer Evangelist Advocate – SpeakerBloggerAlexa Skill MakerAnsible ContributorUCS Python SDK and UCS PowerTool Aficionado, and Master at Karaoke (sorry no video, you’ve been spared), that it would be easy for me to get a spot to speak at DevNet Create. You would think…but it wasn’t. I have to go through the selection process just like everyone else at Cisco, VMware, Meraki, Sonatype, IBM, Electric Cloud, Rundeck, Honeycomb, Docker, LaunchDarkly, Altus, PubNub, Mapwize,, SolarWinds, Presidio, Puppet, Redis Labs, and more … many, many more, that submitted abstracts. I was on the speaker selection committee. I had to, without bias, review my own submissions. I rejected two of my submissions to prove I was unbiased (just kidding). Actually, the selection process relied upon the feedback of many DevNet reviewers so the fact that my abstract was selected made me feel pretty good and I was very excited to give the selected talk.

John McDonough DevNet Create workshopMatt DeNapoli (right) and I lead a small group workshop
at DevNet Create 2018

Did I just become an influencer?

Whenever I blog, speak, or video, I honestly never think about how many people will read, listen, or watch. I think, “here’s something cool I know, or did, or experienced and others might like it as well.” Others may get just as thrilled or inspired or motivated as I am about this “thing,” whatever that “thing” may be. What I didn’t expect was someone to actually go do the “thing.” I know that sounds silly, because if I don’t expect people to do the thing I’m speaking about, then why am I speaking about it? I do it because I know there is a limitation in some form, whether it is documentation, example code, and other forms of “thing” information. So, I was literally surprised when I was notified about this tweet from Western Telematic, Inc.  The tweet was in response to @CiscoDevNet and DevNet’s social media maven @silviakspiva asking people to “tell us your story.” One response she got said:

Our story. A 50 year old small business making OOB/PDU devices incorporated APIs into their units and then recently approved four modules for inclusion into Ansible 2.7. Without the help of @ciscodevnet and @johnamcdonough never would have happened.

I was really excited that someone came to DevNet Create and attended my session on “How to Contribute to Ansible,” and then went on to be an Ansible Contributor! From both a work and tech life perspective, what a great feeling!

DevNet Create is the real influencer

Before you think I got all full of myself and stood an inch or two taller, my initial thought was, this didn’t happen if I didn’t write the talk, if I didn’t submit the abstract, if DevNet management didn’t encourage me to expand my abilities beyond my core competencies and ultimately if DevNet Create didn’t give me a forum to submit a talk to, about a topic that was developer/DevOps oriented. DevNet Create gave me the opportunity to connect with Ken Partridge at Western Telematic. DevNet Create got Ken inspired, motivated and started along the path to his creation potential. DevNet Create will always give help to those that ask for it.

AnsibleFest Austin

Come see my talk “Ansible Contributor – Step by Step” October 3rd at AnsibleFest in Austin Texas and get started along the path to your creation potential.

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  1. John, you are so generous with your time. You listen and learn graciously, but I hope you know how much we all learn from you every day. I've always appreciated you, and it makes me happy to see that others are getting to know you better, too. You are definitely an Influencer!