Meet Netty, net2Community’s New Hire

Meet Netty, net2Community’s awesome new hire. How often do you get to hire the perfect fit? Someone who knows just what to do and when to get it done? That describes what we have in Netty... Actually it's Nettybot.

That's right Nettybot is a program, an automatic update program designed and developed by net2Community, primarily by John Siciliano, one of our software engineers. In true "John" fashion, he jumped into development from the frustration of having to manually do security updates on many of our client sites. Even with some great tools it's a labor intensive process and even with a keen eye can lead to issues which might need correction.

We have the manual process down pretty well, but it takes time, on average about 2 hours for each site to apply the updates and complete, and we also have another set of eyes on the site on difficult or touchy updates. Using Nettybot the process takes about 20 minutes for all our sites for the automated, backup, update and testing process and about 20 minutes each update for manual testing by one human. This allows us to do a much more effective job of keeping our client sites updated with security releases at a rate about 50 percent less for our clients.

Here are some Frequently asked questions we have had from our clients.

Q. How do I get this service?

A. Be an active net2Community,Inc. maintenance client with Drupal 7.x or 8.x sites that are hosted on Pantheon.

Q. How does it work?

A. Nettybot has two subscription levels, all and security only. Updates for all contributed modules and core are released at any time, security updates are released every week, so we run Nettybot every day. Nettybot checks each site for updates, if any are available, the site is backed up, copied to an update environment (separate from the live website) and snapshot images created for website pages. Nettybot then applies updates in the update environment and takes another round of snapshot images and compares the result (visual regression testing). If the visual regression testing passes, the updates are applied to the development and test environments.

Q. Does Nettybot make mistakes?

A. Anything that is automated can potentially make mistakes, especially when the automation relies on multiple components or services. In fact automatic processes can introduce new issues. This is why we incorporate human interaction and manual testing before moving the updates to the live website.

We also get some more technical questions. Following are some of those. 

Q. What tools does net2Community use to get Nettybot working?

A. The tools used; Pantheon Hosting:  Can work with other hosting solutions, but Pantheon’s CLI Terminus makes this much easier, Terminus:  Pantheon's CLI, allows every interaction in the UI to be done via command line, BackstopJS:  BackstopJS automates visual regression testing of your responsive web UI by comparing DOM screenshots over time, Drush:  Command line shell and Unix scripting interface for Drupal, Slack:  To notify us of Nettybot's tasks when running & when completed.

Q. What future plans do you have for Nettybot?

A. We are also working on a user interface for managing Nettybot subscriptions and configuration.

Interested in what else net2Community,Inc. can do for you?   Contact us-  just click the "Get started" button .

Nettybot Information Sheet

Prefer to TALK to a person?  331-222-7457

Mailing address:
net2Community, Inc.
P.O. Box 3916
St Charles, IL 60174-9084