| Modules Unraveled

051 with patrickd - Modules Unraveled Podcast

Photo of PatrickD

  • What is
    • “ is a website where you can quickly test out a project online without messing around locally.
      There are about 20.000 projects and some of them fit better to your needs than others do, and helps to find the right one.”
  • Who is behind the project? Is it just you, or a team?
    • “Most of the initial development was done by myself, but I got much support from my colleagues and also Stuart Clark helped me cleaning up some messes recently.
      The project itself is opensource and I’m generally happy about any feedback I get.
      Everyone reporting bugs or making suggestions is part of the team for me.“
  • Is this just for modules? Or can you tryout themes as well?
    • “It’s pretty much for any type of project hosted on
      It works for drupal core itself since version 6, for modules, themes, and even installation profiles, or distributions as we call them now.”
  • What’s the basic interface like? How do you test out a project?
    • “I tried to keep the interface as simple as possible. All you need to do is basically start typing the name of a project hosted on d.o, then some autocomplete suggestions will appear,
      which you can select the project from. You can alternatively directly type in the project shortname or even the number of a sandbox module.
      After you selected a project shows you the available and supported versions which you can select. Then just click on ‘Launch Sandbox’ and it mostly takes about five
      seconds and if everything worked out you will be redirected to your personal sandbox and you’ll have 30 minutes to figure out whether a project does what you need or not.”
  • What if 30 minutes are not enough, can I get more time?
    • “For most modules 30 minutes should be enough but if you need more time, for example to check out commerce kickstart, you just need to register on and your
      sandboxes will automatically last one hour. If you still need more you can contact me and I’ll see what I can do.”
  • What happens if there are dependencies?
    • “Resolving dependencies turned out to be to most annoying problem while creating
      In good cases all dependencies are described in the .info file of a project and they can be resolved recursively without problems. But things get complicated when dependencies have
      other names than the projects shortname.
      For example if a project has ‘content’ as dependency, there’s pretty much no good way for a machine to figure out that it needs to download ‘cck’”
  • What about third party libraries?
    • “Third party libraries that need to be manually downloaded are even worse than dependencies.
      I simply have to rely on the developers here to reference all necessary libraries in a proper .make file.”
  • Is there more planned for the future?
    • “Yes! The most frequently requested feature is to be able to apply patches on the selected project. I also want to add some kind of statistics page. There are many other suggestions
      too, but I still want to keep the user interface as simple as possible.”
  • Where is funding coming from?
    • “I was very happy that my companies CEO didn’t hesitate a second to sponsor some of my working time and even the first server for the project.
      After got a bit popular I soon got a mail from RealityLoop and they also wanted to sponsor a server.
      I’m really grateful for their support, especially because they really showed that they were interested in the project and it’s potential for the Drupal Community rather than getting
      customers on their website.”

Use Cases

  • What are some use cases for
    • “The intended usecase for was to be able to quickly spin up a testing site and figure out whether a module has the functionality you need.
      But it’s really cool to see that people are using it as on-demand demo sites for their modules and themes, or even for their client presentations.”
    • Demo content (maybe install devel?)
  • What kind of feedback have you received from people using the site?

Questions from Twitter

  • Blue-Bag - @ModsUnraveled interview @patrickd_drupal great service! Any plans to allow >1 module selection?
    • "Yes! That feature was also requested very often. It’s definitely planned, though it’s not very easy to implement, so it will take some time."