WF Tools FTW
@ Pfizer

Presented by Dave Hall & Tim Holt.

Who are we?

Tim Holt
  • Acquia Technical Consultant
  • Drupalist
  • Systems Architect
  • Large Scale Migration Specialist
  • NOT Dries

Who are we?

  • IT Consultant
  • Drupalista
  • Webapp Hacker
  • Sys Admin
  • Fat opinionated [alternative to svn]

<ins cite="http://intranet/policies">disclaimer</ins>


This presentation outlines a general technology direction.  Pfizer Inc has no obligation to pursue any approaches outlined in this presentation or to develop or use any functionality mentioned in this presentation.  The technology strategy and possible future developments are subject to change and may be changed at any time for any reason without notice.

We're going to tell you a story.

Once upon a time,

a little boy called Dries lived in Belgium.

Dries with baby Drupal.

While at uni Dries had a little baby called Drupal.

Dries with baby Drupal.

Drupal started to grow.

Druplicon's first day at school

Like many kids Drupal started doing odd jobs.

While at high school Drupal got a part time job.

Eventually Drupal made it to uni.

Victoria University's Drupal powered homepage

After graduating Drupal got a job in the media.

The Onion's Drupal powered homepage

One day a big corporation rang and offered Drupal a job.

Drupal accepted.

On the first day Drupal turned up for work,

and it was clear Drupal didn't quite fit in.

Hipster Druplicon

Drupal was used to doing everything on production.

One day the boss called and told Drupal to go buy some new tools.

Drupal started searching for new tools.

Ebay enterprise tools search results

The next day Drupal's new tools arrived.


Drupal's boss was impressed.

Woman giving thumbs up

And they all deployed happily ever after.

What was in the toolbox that made Drupal's boss so happy?









Custom Entities

These tools allowed Drupal to do things very differently.

When Drupal was younger code went up and content came down.

Code goes up, Content comes down (sometimes).

Drupal realized that looking at content on staging was hard.

There was no easy to read log of all changes.

Drupal had difficulty looking at a single change on it's own.

Content and code changes couldn't be bundled together.

Deployment was an all or nothing event.

Deployments couldn't really be tested.

Different permissions and configuration per environment weren't possible.

This all made Drupal very sad.

Drupal decided to change how things were done.

Code goes up, Content goes up.

Drupal discovered that arbitrary sets of changes could be bundled together.

Drupal decided to call this a "job".

Now Drupal can group code changes with content changes so both get promoted together.

Drupal can approve the changes in the job each step of the way, and log what's happened.

Captain's Log

Drupal gave each job it's own dedicated sandbox.

Kid in a sandpit

Drupal can preview content in context.

Drupal can push several jobs to the staging server,

but only push a single job up to production when it's ready.

Pick a card, any card.

Drupal tests deployments at every step along the way!

Drupal can create, edit, preview and push content...

all without logging into production.

Drupal has a little cousin.

Drupal's cousin's name is "Job123".

Drupal makes sure job123 is safe on an epic journey.

Job123's Epic Journey

Job123 started off as nothing more than a twinkle in somebody's eye.

First, Drupal spins up a new dedicated drupal sandbox called

Next, Drupal creates a job123 git branch and checks it out on the sandbox.

Drupal then creates a job123 deployment plan to track the content changes.

Drupal makes changes to content or code (or both) on the sandbox.

Now job123 is big enough to move to the integration environment.

Drupal merges the job123 git branch into the integration git branch and pushes it to the integration server.

Then Drupal triggers the job123 deployment plan to be pushed to the integration server.

Drupal sits back and looks at the changes merged into the integration server...

...and decides job123 is ready to move to the staging environment.

From there, the same merge/approval happens on staging before being pushed to production.

All of the jobs' statuses are tracked by Drupal.

Drupal can tell at a glance which jobs are in which environments, and which are ready for approval...

…all from a central management console.

Jobs and Environments

This management console is the heart of WF Tools.

Meanwhile, Pfizer heard about what Drupal could do.

At Pfizer Drupal worked hard.

Drupal ran 300+ sites at Pfizer,

Each week brings around 3 new sites.

Pfizer needed Drupal's new toolbox.


Drupal's boss at Pfizer was impressed.

Mike Lamb, Director, Marketing Technology Strategy at Pfizer


The rolling releases model

Kids rolling down a hill

allows people to go from idea to prod in an afternoon.

And they all deployed happily ever after.



Learn more

Connect with Dave

Connect with Tim


If you liked our session go say nice things at and click the take the survey link.

I you hated it, pretend you never saw this slide.


Creative Commons License
WFTools FTW @ Pfizer by Dave Hall and Tim Holtis licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License. Based on a work at

Image Credits

Image credits continued...