This is an edited transcript. For the blog post and video see: The Sustainable Web: Exploring Drupal’s Sustainability Project, Gander's Ability to Help, and How You Can Too.

[00:00:00] Mariano Crivello: Hello and thank you for joining us on this Tag1 Team Talk, uh, the official podcast and vlog series of Tag1 Consulting. In this episode, we're excited to discuss the Drupal Sustainability Project, which addresses the environmental and economic impact on the Drupal ecosystem. Additionally, we will highlight Gander Tag1's automated performance testing framework for Drupal and how it helps drive Drupal sustainability goals.

[00:00:22] Tag1 is the number two all time contributor to Drupal. We build large scale web applications for Drupal, as well as many other technologies for global 500s and organizations in nearly every business sector, including Google, the New York Times, the European Union, the University of Michigan, and the Linux Foundation to name a few.

[00:00:41] I'm Mariano Crivello, and I'm based out of Kiloa, Hawaii. And today I'm joined by Mike Gifford. I think you're out of South France today. Normally he's based out of Ottawa, Canada. Uh, senior strategist at Civic Actions, maintainer of the Drupal sustainability initiative, uh, Drupal's core accessibility maintainer.

[00:00:57] And then we're also joined by Tim [00:01:00] Lehnen, uh, the Chief Technology of the Drupal Association, uh, who's based out of Portland, Oregon. And of course, our favorite Michael Meyers here at Tag1 is based out of New York City. Uh, welcome gentlemen. Thanks. Um, so we'll kick it off, uh, pretty quickly here. We don't want to take up too much of people's time, but I definitely want to get a lot of this great information out.

[00:01:21] Um, hey, Mike, what is sustainability?

[00:01:25] Mike Gifford: So, um, we live in a finite planet, and as part of that, we have to go off and think about what our impact is on the planet. And there are 8 billion of us, and we are living in an increasingly industrial world, and so much of our lives has an impact on the environment. We understand that.

[00:01:43] Cars and airplanes are impacting CO2. Uh, but people don't necessarily realize that, that their computers and the internet is also contributing to, to CO2. In fact, if you look at the industry, if you compare the airline industry to the, the, uh, the ICT industry, [00:02:00] uh, our digital industry, they have about a comparable CO2

[00:02:04] contribution and yet the, the, um, the ICT industry is growing exponentially and we know that there's, there's more and more people who are engaging with with digital tools, whether that's through artificial intelligence or virtual reality and and we don't. We've been going on on an exponential path and that each of those, those electrons that we're passing around has an environmental footprint, whether that's from powering the computers or cooling the data centers or storing the bits or in our hard drive.

[00:02:36] So, there's a huge impact that that happens through the, our digital, our digital lives, but people don't see it. That's true, I think.

[00:02:46] Mariano Crivello: Yeah, definitely. Um, I think, you know, we, we all on the back of our heads are thinking about, you know, Hey, this electricity is coming from somewhere and it's probably more than likely coming from a coal plant from what I understand.

[00:02:58] Um, so, uh, with [00:03:00] that being said, you know, how are other technologies and communities thinking about this? Um. In your experience.

[00:03:07] Mike Gifford: Well, there's a there's been a huge movement and awareness around, uh, around the, this, uh, thinking about sustainability. Um, I've been involved in it since the conference in 92.

[00:03:18] So, I've been thinking about these issues for quite some time. Um, but, uh, but the, but in terms uh, of legislation. Particularly looking at CO2 and that that will affect our industry. 2 pieces of legislation are worth thinking about. 1 is, is a Europeans are organizing a, a climate change, uh, act that is sort of like the GDPR, but will be focused more on, on, on the, the environmental impact of, of, of digital technologies.

[00:03:46] There's also, uh, the, the, uh, California has legislation that's, that's, uh, impacting. You know, companies that have more than a billion dollars in assets are not assets and in revenue will be asked to do additional, um, um, scope [00:04:00] 3 evaluations, which will affect a lot of people. Because if you're if you have IBM as a client, and you suddenly need to do do if IBM is doing scope 3 analysis that they need to know from all of their customers, what the environmental impact is.

[00:04:14] Um, so there's a There's been this movement around environmental, social, environmental, social government and policies around around the SEC and trying to go off and to make make efforts to push push companies to have better government structures and have better environmental policies. But this is this is, uh, this is definitely changing over time.

[00:04:35] Um, in the, the hosting space, uh, you know, Google and, and, um, Microsoft have, have really done amazingly well. Um, Amazon's pretty good, but, they're definitely, um, uh, the two leads really are Microsoft and Google in terms of the, the cloud hosting environments. Um, also I'm really happy to report that Platform SH has done a great deal of work around how to, uh, how to, to, to try and assess [00:05:00] the, their impact is as a, as a Drupal hosting provider.

[00:05:03] Uh, And as a platform that is like, they've hired a climate scientist, they brought in 3rd party auditors to go off and do evaluate their services. They're making a lot of this public and presenting their findings as a way to go off and to highlight the best practices that they are finding in hosting.

[00:05:22] So that's some of the stuff that they're doing. Also need to touch on the, the, uh, the Green Software Foundation and the Green Web foundation. Uh, they definitely work in conjunction with each other. There's definitely a lot of collaboration between the two. There's a really great podcast called Environment Variables.

[00:05:38] That's that's a co hosted, um, new podcast. So that's definitely something to look at. Um, I also want to note that, that there's, there's, uh, um, there's environment tracks that's different. Um. Conferences, particularly are a lot of conferences are starting to have an environmental track to try and think about what their impact is and to try and rally their community around that.

[00:05:59] Um, [00:06:00] and, uh, so it was at, at FOSDEM and, uh, the state of open last year, or sorry, earlier this year, um, in 2023. And and they, uh, you know, both of them had an environmental tracks was really encouraging to see this sort of focus in the open source community. Um, also wanted to highlight that Wagtail CMS is doing some work around trying to, uh, to hone in and say, what is our impact?

[00:06:23] How do we evaluate? What are our CO2 impact for our open source CMS? Um, and how do we try and provide a sustainability statement? That's got some, some teeth in it for the community that can be a rallying point behind that. So, so, again, that was was lovely to see. Um, the word. Well, staff trying to, uh, to structure the, the, um, uh, their, their community to try and think more around sustainability and, and, and, uh, they've got a lot of people engaged in that.

[00:06:50] So that's, that's, that's great. Um, and finally, just just wanted to highlight that there's, um. The web sustainability guidelines, uh, where, where there's a draft [00:07:00] document now that was, was put out by a WC3 community group. That's really trying to, um, to highlight some of the, the best practices for, uh, for digital sustainability.

[00:07:11] We basically wanted to, uh, to take the, what WCAG did for accessibility, that over to sustainability to try and hard code and document those, those best practices so that, that people who are, are caring and want to go off and to demonstrate that they are implementing best practices on digital sustainability.

[00:07:31] They know what to do and how to go off and proceed with, with the, uh, um, the points. Um, so I think that covers most of what's happening in the environment in a very smashed together kind of.

[00:07:42] Tim Lehnen: I want to jump in here and credit Mike a little bit with some, uh, Some other things here because I would have to say that probably I've been with the Drupal Association for nine growing on ten years and in the community for like 17 and I think One of the first people in the wider community that I had a conversation with was Mike [00:08:00] back in 2014, talking about these issues and these kinds of things that we should talk about.

[00:08:06] I mean, that's, I mean, that's nothing compared to talking about it back in 92. But I think, um, I think it shows it reflects a kind of level of commitment and a kind of level of passion that we see in all sorts of areas in our open source projects, right? And so we build a level of enthusiasm about a problem to solve, usually a technology problem.

[00:08:27] But oftentimes we realize ways that the technology can be used to solve wider problems, uh, environmental ones, social ones, things like that. And I think. As we talk more about what we're inspired to do here. I think that'll kind of come into play. So I think it'll be really interesting. And I think, um, Mike, you were introduced as the, uh, accessibility maintainer, but, uh.

[00:08:49] It's not impossible to think that Drupal will have a environmental sustainability maintainer eventually, and your name might come up. So we'll see how this goes.

[00:08:58] Mike Gifford: That'd be very interesting. Thank you very [00:09:00] much, Tim.

[00:09:01] Mariano Crivello: That's a great segue into let's, let's talk about the, uh, the Drupal Sustainability project, um, or initiative.

[00:09:08] Uh, I'll let you take the lead there.

[00:09:10] Mike Gifford: So I'll start this off just, just saying that they, there's been a, um. A number of different efforts to try and think about, about the, the Drupal sustainability, um, you know, the Drupal Conferences have, have had a long effort to try and be sustainable and to, to think about what their environmental impact is, that's something that's, that's being part of, of.

[00:09:31] Of Drupal, uh, Drupal, uh, DrupalCons I can remember going to them. There's certainly been an effort to care about, about the, the planet and the people who are going to these events. Um, and, uh, there's, there's also, uh, Tim and I were involved in creating a, uh, uh, sustainability, um, you know, about a sustainability page for, for Drupal.

[00:09:51] So, uh, trying to make sure that there's a, um, if you go to, uh, about, uh, under sustainability, you can find

[00:09:58] Mariano Crivello: the links in the, in the. In the [00:10:00] podcast, in the show notes here. Yeah, definitely. Thank you.

[00:10:02] Mike Gifford: Um, we've also added a sustainability tag within, uh, Drupal. So if you're in any, uh, project or, um, uh, issue, there's a, there's a, a recognized tag to go off and to, to, uh, to highlight issues that have sustainability issues that we want to focus in on.

[00:10:18] Um, and, uh, what else? We, we've also created a, a project, uh, within Drupal. org that's, that's, uh, That's looking on sustainability, and that has a number of other stubs for other other initiatives. Like, if we want to go off and it's more of a placeholder and it's been wonderful to go off and collaborate with with Gus on this, trying to go off and to to create a space for the community to think about how we might want to be more organized and structured around how we, we focus on our sustainability efforts.

[00:10:49] Mariano Crivello: Yeah, I was just going to ask you, who are some of the other stakeholders here? You mentioned Gus and I guess who else is involved?

[00:10:55] Mike Gifford: I mean, there's definitely people who are [00:11:00] involved in the Slack channel, but it's, it's, uh, but it had, we haven't really formalized a, um, a cohesive group at this point. And, and so, um,

[00:11:08] Tim Lehnen: For example, there isn't a, there isn't a formal working group with a charter yet, even though there is that sustainability statement.

[00:11:15] And I think that would be a good next step. But, um, There's kind of institutional stakeholders as well, right? So the Drupal Association to a degree is a stakeholder, the DrupalCon organizers underneath the DA. Um, but one of the things that I think we want to talk about is this notion like with a number of our other open source initiatives of bringing in more stakeholders, recruiting people, creating a little bit of a more formal process.

[00:11:41] And in particular, finding a way that It's hard to make an initiative successful if it is a afterthought or a follow along or a thing you do if you have extra time as opposed to an initiative that's built in sort of to the foundation of the way you operate on [00:12:00] a regular basis.

[00:12:01] Mike Gifford: And the culture too, right?

[00:12:02] Like so, so much of what's, what has made accessibility successful in, in Drupal is being that, that there's been support from the leadership on down around accessibility and, and people understand that as part of our conferences, as part of our code, it is a bug, it is not a feature. And that this is something that we we've embraced as a community.

[00:12:22] Um, and the same kind of thing needs to happen with sustainability.

[00:12:25] Tim Lehnen: Yeah. I'd say that's very true. And I'll dwell for a second on sort of the DrupalCon announcement, because one of the things that's. Uh, it's just a good example, uh, is that to, and this has happened across the events industry eventually, but the, the Drupal Association and DrupalCon was fairly early in this, starting to require environmental sustainability clauses in contract negotiations with hotels and conference centers.

[00:12:52] Uh, is something that takes some effort to spin up at first to learn some best practices, and then it's built into an ongoing process becomes a part of just [00:13:00] what you do with every contract negotiation and every renewal and actually becomes much easier once you sort of establish that for the first time.

[00:13:07] And that's a, that's a physical world meet space example. Um, but that same sort of integration into process is something that will be successful on the technology side as well. So.

[00:13:21] Mariano Crivello: Yeah, I, um, I definitely have, uh, appreciated the more environmentally conscious, uh, Drupal camps that I've attended over the years.

[00:13:27] I still, I think I have some, uh, reusable dinnerware, uh, from a Bad Camp a number of years back that sits in my backpack and traveled around with me. And, you know, it's those little small wins that I think go a long way. So yeah, happy to see that we're really thinking about this for the events in the Drupal community, because obviously that.

[00:13:44] Uh, has a pretty big impact. Um, so I kind of wanted to go quickly back to, uh, sounds kind of funny, but there's a, there's an actual issue tag for sustainability in Drupal. Like, uh, what triggers a sustainability issue tag in your opinion? Both of you gentlemen.

[00:13:58] Mike Gifford: Well, I mean, [00:14:00] Ultimately, it should be something that's not just a performance issue.

[00:14:02] There's also a performance tag. Um, it would be nice if there was something that was, um, tied to either if we can, um, yeah, there, there's a, there's a close tie between performance and sustainability. Um, but, but I think that ultimately comes down to how do you, how do you try and maximize the. The overall running of the process, if you're thinking about about the not necessarily optimization of the server, but the optimization of the, the broader holistic puzzle.

[00:14:28] So, you know, what is the runtime on the client as well as on the server? That's, I think, something that will be much more of an issue around sustainability because, because our servers are probably fairly optimized for, for energy efficiency. Where our desktops are not. And if we just sort of throw a whole bunch of JavaScript out there, it doesn't cause any real problem on the server to go off and to have massive JavaScript files, but, um, but it does on the client.

[00:14:52] And so if you have an eight megabyte JavaScript file, which some, some organizations have had, um, that will have a terrible load time and a huge [00:15:00] carbon impact because of the hundreds and thousands of machines that are running that.

[00:15:04] Mariano Crivello: Yeah. Or even millions, right? So for some of some of the larger websites that, that the, uh, uh, a factor of, um, uh, impact

[00:15:11] Tim Lehnen: And there's a, there's a, um, almost a mindset component as well in terms of if you're doing sort of an analysis of, of a process, you might say, oh, this is an extremely efficient process.

[00:15:23] It happens in less than a millisecond. It's done. You know, maybe it's done when a node is loaded or whatever, whatever it might be. You're, you're, you're super satisfied with how you've diagrammed this out. Uh, and then the sustainability question might be, does that even need to happen at all? Right. Is there a way we could not even do it in the first place instead of doing it and making it very fast?

[00:15:43] Um, right. There's a little bit of just a difference in the way that you think about it. Um, so, um, I, I would also say that that tag is, is in use right now for larger brainstorming about like sort of policy questions almost, or sort of this initial community [00:16:00] rallying effort to be like, um, you know, uh, should we be talking about, you know, that tag might come up in a, in a Drupal Camp project and a DrupalCon project.

[00:16:10] It might come up in the governance issue queue when we're talking about, Hey, should we have any governance related, um, uh, to sustainability, all, all sorts of things, so, um, it can be as much for policy issues as for code issues. So.

[00:16:25] Mariano Crivello: I like it. Yeah, definitely. I can already start to imagine this being used almost immediately knowing the Drupal community.

[00:16:31] Um, great. You know, Tim, how is the Drupal Association supporting this effort?

[00:16:38] Tim Lehnen: Um, that's a really good question. And, um, it has multiple facets to the answer. So we already talked about DrupalCon, for example, where we're trying to do our part within a program that we already operate to try and make it.

[00:16:50] Environmentally sustainable as much as we can. Um, but then there's the, how can we support the efforts that aren't off the ground yet, right? [00:17:00] So what is the Drupal Association's role and what do we do, right? We're a 501c3 nonprofit, strictly speaking, an educational nonprofit. We're not an environmental nonprofit, strictly speaking, but that doesn't mean that we can't have a huge impact on this space because Um, we have, uh, first and foremost, a huge, um, spotlight to shine on issues of importance to the Drupal Community, right?

[00:17:24] If the Drupal Association says, Hey, this is something that is important to us. We can be part of making sure it's on the keynote stage at DrupalCon and that the developer audience hears that message. We can be part of making sure that there are case studies and blog posts publicly made. We can do all sorts of things along those lines.

[00:17:43] Secondly. One of our primary functions is to provide infrastructure for the Drupal Community and for the actual development of Drupal, right? We host a lot of servers. We pay a big bill every month for all the CI testing for all of the different things that people do. So our community can collaborate together.

[00:17:59] [00:18:00] And so, the things that we do with those systems, uh, and ways we can improve their sustainability, um, is, is an important question. Um, and, you know, we can also figure out how to collaborate with, uh, energized folks within the community, folks like Mike and others, who say, hey, wait a minute, there is, we could make something like a sustainability commitment, or we could in this pledge, or we could do X, Y, and Z, and Not exactly sort of give permission.

[00:18:29] It's open source. People can come in and do these things, but we can kind of, uh, boost and encourage and endorse, uh, efforts like that to, to give them that little bit of extra energy. Um, so that's definitely a big thing and a big conversation. And we're going to talk a little bit later about some of the, um, technical things that we're bringing that can impact all the Drupal sites out there.

[00:18:51] And the way we develop code, that'll be in our sort of gander conversation. Um, but we can actually talk about the protocols.

[00:18:57] Mariano Crivello: Yeah, I was just actually you kind of brought up a good point. [00:19:00] Like, I didn't really think about this till right now that, you know, um, sustainability and economic impact kind of go hand in hand or they correlate really well in the digital space, right?

[00:19:10] If we are doing something that is more sustainable, it naturally, I would think it has a better, uh, economic profile for those that are deploying applications, building applications, et cetera, whereas it might not be the case in other industries where they, you know, going green costs them more money.

[00:19:25] Initially, I think in our space, we have a kind of a quick reward of like, if we focus on sustainability, we're actually, it's

[00:19:31] going to be better.

[00:19:32] Tim Lehnen: In most cases, again, you know, in most cases, partly because of the tightly coupling, tight coupling of. Improved performance and sustainability issues. But in, in several other areas, yeah, there, there's actually a, uh, hopefully a reduction in your costs to start doing this, as long as you're thinking about vendor selection, as long as you're thinking about who you're talking to.

[00:19:51] Um, speaking of that, let's, uh, I can talk a little bit about how Drupal. org itself is hosted and our tools. Um, and so [00:20:00] the, um. We basically have two major hosting providers that we use right now. One is the first host for the Drupal project that was outside of Dries' dorm room, which was when we moved into the Oregon State University Open Source Lab.

[00:20:16] Um, and so we actually still have server infrastructure there. Um, it's, it's now maybe 30 percent of the total infrastructure we run is what lives over there. Um, and we're in physical rack space next to some other open source projects that you've definitely heard of, um, that are all in the same place and all, um, got, uh, hosted by this wonderful organization, um, and, you know, student run data center, educational opportunities, all these things, um, uh, in terms of understanding our carbon footpoint.

[00:20:49] There and with them, it's really based on that university's overall carbon commitment. So unfortunately, we don't have numbers to measure what the particular [00:21:00] carbon ratio of that data center is the university does publish some overall numbers about their carbon reduction and carbon action plan. Um, so, uh, if you're interested, the sustainability at OSU page talks about this and they're, they're working on, um.

[00:21:15] A 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions, uh, in the next couple of years is that is their current goal and they have a publication about what they've been doing there.

[00:21:24] Mike Gifford: It's also worth noting that it's in Oregon. Um, I imagine which has one of the greenest energy supplies in in the United States.

[00:21:31] Tim Lehnen: So we have a lot of hydroelectric, a lot of wind power, um, where there's not too much energy coming from non green sources.

[00:21:39] So that certainly helps quite a bit. Um, and that actually relates to the other now bulk of our hosting, which is on AWS. Uh, which you'll note was not on Mike's list of the best of the big three, uh, of the hosting providers. And that's completely fair. I think we were not, we're not here for, um, you know, at the time we made this [00:22:00] decision, we made it a technical one years ago, but, um, what we do have is, uh, data center selection.

[00:22:06] And so similar to, uh, What Mike just said, where these data centers live can often affect the ratio of green energy being used. And you may not know this, but a lot of people out there probably do deploy things on AWS and the U. S. U. S. West region that you see a lot of things deployed in is actually also primarily Oregon and primarily hydropowered data centers.

[00:22:29] Um, and so they do provide as a tool. A carbon calculator for what you're hosting on AWS, um, and, uh, so they have some portion of renewables. And according to this, as of, uh, actually as of next month, this is January 2024. I can't believe it's that close. We should be at or near like 98 to a hundred percent renewable on our, um, instances with them.

[00:22:53] So that's great. Yeah, it's good news. So, um, and, uh, and we that that's an estimated [00:23:00] usage of something like, uh, what I these these carbon metrics are so hard to remember. I won't get too scientific. It's like the 30 million ton carbon offsets, whatever measure, um, in a year is about what the DA uses about 30 of those carbon units.

[00:23:19] Um, and we have about two left this year that were not on their renewables. So doing pretty good getting there.

[00:23:26] Mariano Crivello: So you're telling me there's going to be a dashboard in the future that tells us how, what the carbon footprint of the Drupal project would be.

[00:23:32] Tim Lehnen: I think it would actually be a really interesting idea.

[00:23:34] Um, you know, Mike mentioned the Wagtail example. They're a community that actually tries to do this. They try and publish the carbon impact of all the sites out there. We don't have enough access to the end user data, but there is a proposed telemetry initiative to start sending back some more information to Drupal. org so that we could know a little bit more. And perhaps when that initiative gets, um, [00:24:00] uh, more attention and more steam, one of the metrics we could consider are metrics that would let us measure that sustainability. That would be pretty cool. Um, and then we'd be able to gather some more of that information, but, um.

[00:24:11] Yeah,

[00:24:12] Mike Gifford: Yeah, it's also worth noting that Drupal is more than just the software that in the sites that we, we run, the Drupal community has a huge impact on the, the, the web sphere in general, and on the, certainly in the PHP community, uh, contributing a lot of stuff back to, to that environment. So if we're able to take a focus in on this and start writing material and make it a priority for our community.

[00:24:35] It will, it will radiate out into to other smaller, um, open source communities and the proprietary communities as well.

[00:24:45] Mariano Crivello: Yeah, that's a good point. It helps. It helps template it for them when they're looking to adopt some of these best practices. Well, I'm definitely excited to learn more about this. I'm learning a lot on this podcast.

[00:24:55] So thank you. I appreciate it. The, Tim, you talked about kind of like the actual [00:25:00] infrastructure that's used to run all of this. How can the Drupal community help support sustainability initiative? Like how do we, as Drupal community members jump in? Is it just throwing a hashtag on anything that we see that's poorly performing?

[00:25:10] Or, uh,

[00:25:12] Tim Lehnen: Well, I mean, that's. It's better than nothing, but no, I mean, I think there's a, there's a few things that we need to do. I think we need to, we're at a place right now where we do need to find and recruit folks who's not just they themselves have an interest in this topic, but whose employers are willing to fund some of that time, um, to let them work on this.

[00:25:33] Right. I think, um, across the Drupal community, something like 70 percent of contributions are sponsored and a lot of that. Sponsored time is spent on bug fixing and features and things like that. But we could, we could absolutely use someone to sponsor a sustainability maintainer, uh, and things like that.

[00:25:51] Right. That would be amazing. Um, but also, so I think we need some, some people to just provide some more time to think about these issues, but also I think we could use a [00:26:00] group coming together to create a little bit of a roadmap. Of what we want to do, because like I said, you can do a lot of smaller one off sustainability initiatives, kind of follow after initiatives.

[00:26:12] But if we could come up with a way of like our top targets of things that, um, would create something that That is integrated into ongoing development of Drupal and becomes a fundamental part of the process. I think that would be really good. Um, and that's, that, um, gets us into, I think this performance conversation that I think we wanted to just,

[00:26:32] Mike Gifford: Before we jump to that, there's also on, on, uh, Drupal. org. Um, sorry, on the Drupal Slack channel, rather we have the, the, uh, the, the sustainability-team, um, channel, which is, is worth calling out. Please join that, that Slack channel. That's the main place where you're going to engage with other people who are interested in sustainability and you'll get updates there more than anywhere else.

[00:26:54] Um, and, and, uh, also take, take a look at the Web Sustainability Guidelines and the, [00:27:00] the website, uh, sustainable design, sorry, uh, sustainable web design. org, which is a more user friendly version of the, uh, the, the, the sustainable web guidelines. Both of those things are quite useful.

[00:27:13] The more you can educate yourself about the issues and what, what to look for and what the problems are and what the best practices are. The better you're going to be there. There's just so much work being done on this right now. But the, but the web is, um, digital sustainability is basically where web accessibility was 20 years ago.

[00:27:30] And we don't have the, you don't have 20 years. We're going to have two, two decades to sort of get to the point where, where web accessibility is now we need to go off and to quickly accelerate this to a conversation that isn't happening around in, in tech communities to something that, that people understand and are acting on.

[00:27:49] Mariano Crivello: Do I, uh, do I see a new sustainability badge in Drupal. org's future? We can put these on our profiles, on our projects.

[00:27:56] Tim Lehnen: Yeah. Uh, on our hosting companies. I mean, that's [00:28:00] my great companies. Yeah.

[00:28:01] Mariano Crivello: Yeah. Cool. That's great. Um, yeah, so, you know, one of the things I definitely want to talk about, cause I think it's a, it's a, there's a direct correlation.

[00:28:08] We've alluded to it a couple of times here is performance, right? Like we've, we've heard about this web performance. What is, you know, what is performance? What is web performance? Why is it important? Um, I think for us that are developers that have been working with Drupal, especially Drupal at larger scale, typically it means, you know, reducing things like PHP runtime, reducing the number of database calls, dare I say caching, cause caching is probably the most important thing that you can do to make a website fast, right?

[00:28:32] I think even outside of caching, just making sure, like you had pointed out earlier, Mike, that like, Hey, your front end, this thing that we don't necessarily think about until it's a problem is actually creating a lot of carbon impact because all of the users that are using the website are burning resources, whether they're on green energy or not, uh, depends on where you're at.

[00:28:48] And, you know, some of us live off grid. I'm not, I'm not a hundred percent off grid yet, but hopefully by this time next year, I will be, uh, that's one of my goals. Um, So, but I think in general, you know, having that kind of thought [00:29:00] process, having the ability to even identify where those problems are, as opposed to something being reactive, being more proactive about that, I think, uh, we definitely want to talk about something that, uh, Tag1's been working on with the Google Chrome Team.

[00:29:12] And I'll let Michael introduce that here in a second. But I think, um, just in general, like what are your thoughts on performance and like, how do we, as a Drupal project get better at, uh, making Drupal more performant,

[00:29:25] Tim Lehnen: Yeah. So before Michael jumps in, what I wanted to say on this front in general is Drupal actually has a pretty strong reputation for, uh, being able to create really highly performant, really scalable sites, right?

[00:29:37] This is something we've been good at for a long time. Um, in the early days, it wasn't necessarily out of the box, but more recently things like big pipe innovations and other things, like it's gotten easier and easier to be highly performant and highly scalable, um, a fellow Tag1 person. Famously wrote one of the first books on High Performance Drupal, um, and all of these things.

[00:29:59] Um, [00:30:00] and so like this has been out there, but interestingly enough, we have for a long time, not necessarily been able to, or not in an automated way, been able to prove it. And show it and demonstrate it in everything that we do. And the Drupal Association was approached by the Google Chrome team, uh, who was really interested in performance issues, both as they relate to like the experience of the web for end users, particularly for end users and, uh, developing nations where the connections are slower and things like that, but also in the sustainability side of the equation.

[00:30:34] And they said like, okay, we're working with a variety of CMSs because. The CMS industry together is at least 50 percent of the web, um, and, uh, the open, the open source CMS industry in particular. And, um, different communities and different CMSs have different problem spaces. And okay, Drupal's really good at some of these performance things.

[00:30:55] It's maybe not so good at some of these other things. Um, but what do you think we [00:31:00] could work on together? And, um, we worked on a few projects, but ultimately, um, we started working, uh, we kind of introduced some of the Chrome team to, to you all over at the Tag1 side and came up with some, some cool ideas.

[00:31:14] So, Michael, um, I think that's kind of the original genesis of where this, this Gander idea came from and maybe you can take it from there and explain this, this cool thing that we're putting together.

[00:31:25] Michael Meyers: Yeah, definitely. Um, yeah, I mean, it's a really interesting approach, right? If we can attack the open web at a platform level and make massive improvements or even small improvements to a CMS like WordPress, it has an outsized impact on the Internet as a whole, you know, Drupal powers, something like six, seven, 8 percent of the top 10, 000 websites.

[00:31:44] It's a lot of traffic. Um, when we first collaborated with the Chrome team, we made Specific changes to Drupal core, right? We wanted to improve lazy loading. We focused more on like features and capabilities that you could just turn on and make your [00:32:00] sites faster. But what we quickly realized was that when people build on top of Drupal, they tend to, uh, decrease performance.

[00:32:09] And that includes the Drupal community. Like when we, as you know, contributors to Drupal make Drupal Core contributed modules over time, we tend to, uh, impact performance. And it's not something that we have paid as close attention to as we should, because we're short on time and resources and you know, I think whether you're a company or, you know, an open source Drupal developer, unless it's a glaring problem, it's something you just tend not to be aware of.

[00:32:34] Um, and so, you know, we thought, well, you know, what if we built an automated performance testing system that could monitor, uh, Drupal's performance as changes are introduced, we could catch them sooner, which means it's easier to fix them, right? The benefit and beauty of automation in the development cycle.

[00:32:54] Um, Uh, and it'll free up, you know, time for folks like Alex Pott and the individuals that are doing this [00:33:00] testing right now that, you know, are, you know, precious commodities in, in the community. So it gives them more time, makes Drupal faster. Um, and our hope is that over time, you know, uh, organizations using Drupal will adopt this system.

[00:33:11] It's an open source platform. Uh, currently it's integrated into the Drupal QA system. And so this is a, you know, another great example, Tim, you talked earlier about how, you know, how can the DA be a force multiplier. Well, you know, by taking this, you know, open source platform and plugging it into the QA system, you know, we can run it on every commit to Drupal core, you know, right now we're running it, you know, in, in sort of like a, an MVP capacity.

[00:33:35] We just announced it at DrupalCon Lille and it runs every couple of hours, but our goal is to get to the point where just like the QA system, it runs on every commit or every merge request. Uh, and we evaluate the performance criteria. Uh, and, uh, I didn't know this, but apparently, you know, one of the things I learned in, in doing the Gander project is that there is an existing performance contract in Drupal that we just don't enforce.

[00:33:59] Tim Lehnen: Uh, [00:34:00] that like You mean in terms of the contribution process and the, the kind of community gates for the, for new feature development and so on? Yeah.

[00:34:07] Michael Meyers: I didn't, I never knew that, that, uh, technically speaking, you know, when you introduce a new feature to Drupal, it has to meet certain performance requirements and we don't really, uh, it's not really enforced, you know, 99 percent of the time, yeah, so this, for the first time, we now have a report that can say, Hey, your change had, you know, this impact, uh, and we can make, uh, you know, uh, you know, a business decision, you know, do we want to, you know, allow this change to happen or do we want to revise the approach to

[00:34:35] increase it. And, you know, while, you know, the primary goal of the system was increasing the end user experience, and it's sort of like people contribute to open source out of self interest, right? You, you do something to make the platform better, you scratch an itch. I don't, you know, and, and earlier you talked about the, you know, the quick ROI on these kinds of things is pretty amazing, right?

[00:34:54] Um, by making sites faster. Google has proven through tons of research that [00:35:00] you improve the end user experience, which leads to more page views, which means more revenue, more time on site. Like the benefits are insane. It's amazing. It's like, why isn't performance a focus of every organization? Um, and then, you know, all the way down to the end user device, which you talked about earlier, Mike, like, it'd be great if my, you know, phone didn't have to process as much because my battery would last longer.

[00:35:20] Right? And so, you know, like, I'm making more money, my battery lasts longer, and I have a better environmental impact. I mean, it's like, you know, just win, win, win down the line. And so You know, uh, you know, performance and scalability is the goal of Gander and, and making, you know, Drupal, the, the fastest CMS out there, you know, out of the box and ensuring that you keep it fast when you develop on top of it.

[00:35:46] But, you know, the sustainability impact, um, you know, is huge. And, you know, Mariano, you're working on a blog post that might come out early next year. Um, you know, we really, we wanted to, to do a calculator, [00:36:00] right? Like if we make Drupal, you know, 200 milliseconds faster, you know, what does that impact have?

[00:36:05] And. It's, you know, we can contrive an example for context just to paint a picture. It's, you know, surprising how many, how much data and information you need that you just don't have access to right now to really calculate, understand these things. And so the idea of, you know, Amazon having, you know, renewable energy information and the DA saying, here's our footprint, like.

[00:36:29] I could totally see how, you know, in a few years, even, you know, you could programmatically determine the, you know, the environmental impact. Of your code of your application. And that's, that'd be amazing.

[00:36:42] Mariano Crivello: Even down to the request. Yeah, I think. Yeah.

[00:36:45] Mike Gifford: The one thing that they can think about is just the, the, that anytime, any process on, on a digital product, like it's the scalability, right?

[00:36:52] You've got, you're loading one webpage that like how much CO2 is involved in that. Not very much, but if you have a million websites and they're being run, [00:37:00] each one of them has, has, uh, uh, 10 million page views, you know, that's a little too much for every. But you know, like a highly trafficked website. It's, it's a, it does escalate quite quickly and so any little changes can make a huge deal.

[00:37:14] Yeah.

[00:37:15] Tim Lehnen: It's really, it's really impressive.

[00:37:17] Mariano Crivello: Yeah, I was gonna say, a single change can have, you know, many factors of impact on, on, you know, it's, it's carbon footprint ultimately. And I think that's the kind of the correlation we're trying to make here is that, you know, if we make things faster, we do reduce the overall amount of resources consumed.

[00:37:32] That's. You know, uh, more sustainable in, in our approach. And I think, you know, pointing out the fact that like, look, we're with the Gander project, it's really about creating and exposing something that. Sure, you could build something to have that type of visibility, but it wasn't standardized. And I think the idea here is that we're standardizing something that people are seeing used in the Drupal core project, and then they can actually extend it and bring it into their own project, um, has a really big impact.

[00:37:59] I think some of the [00:38:00] early wins would be some of the other, you know, Really popular distributions and themes and modules that are being used out there. They could start to implement this in their project. It starts to have a really big kind of cascade effect

[00:38:10] on it.

[00:38:11] Tim Lehnen: Yeah. And this, that your point you've just made goes to something I said really early on, which is the, um. You know, the advantage of the way that we're integrating Gander into the CI system for Drupal, into this testing system is that it is just, it's fundamental to the process. It becomes something that's always included, always checked for, not something you have to run as a manual test, not something that you need.

[00:38:36] Some particular owner, very passionate single volunteer to work a bunch of evening and weekend hours. And when they go away, the project doesn't care anymore. No, it's, it's, it's systematized. It's, it's a, it's a strong technological solution. Um, and, uh, That gives us scalability, not just in the performance sense, but scalability in the, like, community effort to, to [00:39:00] make, uh, an impact here.

[00:39:01] So, um, I think that's, it's a really great example of that, and, um, I'm really looking forward to seeing it, um, you know, be extended to that every merge request, and then adopted by these other things, um, and I, I think it's, it's really, Um, you know, we shouldn't underestimate the impact it would have in end user adoption as well.

[00:39:20] I think it would be a really cool thing to see a part of the standard best practice. We'd like, we've all seen these. You have, you define a deployment, your, your sort of CI dev stage prod pipeline for, uh, for a client project, right? Not for us as developers. And seeing the standard best practice diagram of that that's presented all over the web, including a, here's your performance and sustainability check.

[00:39:44] Step in your pipeline that all these pipelines should have, like, that would be a huge win for the web and for the planet, so

[00:39:53] Mariano Crivello: Yeah, I think we, uh, just just playing critical thinker here. We've also got to be careful that we won't we don't want to turn this on on every single commit, right? We want [00:40:00] to, uh, just use it when, uh, you know, we're ready for a release candidate or something along those lines.

[00:40:04] It's one of those things that we we pull together and say, okay, this is one of those those checks that we pass before we make a release and if If we're seeing a regression or a negative trend, uh, that we're aware of it. And I think that's the big takeaway here is that we're creating visibility that really didn't exist there before, or we could, we could create that visibility, but it required a lot of resources and technical know how.

[00:40:26] This is allowing this to be a little bit more turnkey, a little bit more accessible for the community to start implementing their projects. And I think that's, that's huge. I'm really excited to see this move forward. Um, Well, I don't want to take up too much time here. I know we've been talking, we've had, we've covered a lot of great topics.

[00:40:41] There's been a lot of links that we will definitely make sure that we put down in the, um, the show notes, if you will. We talked a little bit about participation, but I want to rehash this again. Like how do, how do we participate? How do we get involved in, in the sustainability project one more time? And then, um, anything closing that you all want to mention before we.[00:41:00]

[00:41:01] Tim Lehnen: Yeah,I'll jump real, real quick, which is just that, um, you know, I encourage you to, um, do what people in Drupal and in the open source community do best, which is begin to coalesce and self organize with the other interested people to move this forward. Um, as Mike said, the sustainability-team channel Drupal Slack is a great place for the regular meetings, the real time communication.

[00:41:27] The way to, um, introduce yourself to some of these other folks. Um, the page also has really great information about our commitments, uh, as a project that we've made so far and future things that we want to do. And also if you are another organization and you have an idea similar to this one, you know, developed by the Tag1 team about how, Hey, Drupal as a whole could be improved by three percentage points, 20 percentage points, whatever, if we did X and the DA would just put it [00:42:00] in, in their infrastructure, let me know, reach out to me directly, uh, at the Drupal Association. Um, you can find me on the association staff page and, uh, let me know that idea and we'll see if we can empower you to, to bring that to the community.

[00:42:13] So, um, those would be my suggestions, but I'll pass it to Mike for his comments as well.

[00:42:19] Mike Gifford: I would definitely encourage people to check out Gander, because it is a really interesting project and ways to try and how do you incorporate the work that's being done by the Tag1 Team into into your project.

[00:42:30] There's also a group called ClimateAction.Tech that has another great Slack channel. There's also a A magazine called The Branch. It's really quite good that there's a lot of useful resources in that as well. But, I mean, learning more about this is such a huge part of it because people are not familiar with it and particularly not just looking at the environmental impact of the system when you're running it.

[00:42:53] We don't think about the embedded carbon of the systems and so much more of so many [00:43:00] more people are thinking about how do we try and extend the lives of our machines so that they can serve us better without having to cost the planet in terms of the production and disposal of their devices. So there's, a lot to learn in this space, um, and, you know, ask questions, keep an eye on the sustainability tag and, uh, and, and find ways to, uh, to get involved, because I think there's, there's so much more to be done.

[00:43:26] This is, this is something that is very quickly, you know, evolving community, and there's lots of room for people to, to innovate.

[00:43:34] Mariano Crivello: Michael, any closing words here?

[00:43:37] Michael Meyers: Yeah. Check out the, uh, you know, the Sustainability group on Slack. Um, you know, nothing like the power of the Drupal Community. So it's probably the best place to get started.

[00:43:47] Um, you know, issue queues for the items, marked sustainability. I promise we won't mark every Gander.

[00:43:53] tag, you know, I you first said, it's like, Oh, we're going to mark everything, sustainability. This is great. Uh, we won't do that. [00:44:00] Uh, but yeah, I'm sure there's some opportunities on some existing issues, tagged sustainability that you can take advantage of.

[00:44:06] Um, and, uh, you know, it's been fascinating. I, you know, I really encourage people to, to dig into this more because it's, you know, as I've learned more about it and had these conversations, um, I found it really fascinating.

[00:44:18] Mariano Crivello: So. Well, I expect, uh, you all to join our, uh, sustainability birds of a feather session that, uh, sounds like we need at the DrupalCon Portland coming up.

[00:44:27] And, um, uh, look forward to having you all back on another future Tag1 Team Talk. Thank you again, Gentlemen, for joining us today, tonight in some, uh, areas. And, uh, see you again. Thank you very much. Thank you.