2023-08-28 DevEx Meetup Notes

Aug 28, 2023


Please be advised: DevExp Working Group meetings are recorded.

Link: (posted after meeting)


Meeting captain: @Rebecca Graber

Notetaker: @Kyle McCormick

Discussion topics





Start the Zoom recording!


Scheduled Topics / Demos

  • Kyle: tutor mounts populate demo

    • Technical issues

  • Jeremy: https://openedx.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/AC/pages/3845914644

    • Docker desktop starting charging recently depending on some confusing criteria, including for orgs of 2U’s size

    • Docker Desktop vs Engine

      • Engine is free - it runs on Linux

      • Docker Desktop adds a VM to run Docker Engine. This is why it’s required on macOS

      • Colima is just the VM - it runs Docker Engine in the VM itself

    • Note that Docker Engine cannot run directly on

    • 2U is looking at alternatives

      • OrbStack - also proprietary, ~$8/user/month after beta is done, seems to be ~3x as fast. Also better default settings.

      • Colima - open source, entirely CLI, comparable performance to Docker desktop. Also able to install in CI (not possible for Docker Desktop due to licensing)

      • Rancher, Podman - don’t seem to work out of the box

        • Podman is not exactly drop-in Docker, it’s more oriented around RedHat ecosystem

    • For Open edX devs

      • You can stick with Docker Desktop

      • Can try OrbStack, although it might cost money

      • Colima - also worth trying

    • For Docker, OrbStack, and Colima: All intended to be compatible implementations of docker

    • In Jeremy’s experience, they can be installed side by side with switching being pretty seamless

    • Recommandations (in docs)

      • 2U would need to go through vendor review internally

        • 2U isn’t even certain they want to stick with local development for their employees vs. a totally hosted dev environment

          • OrbStack seems to make local dev more palatable, thoug

          • 2U’s hosted env is currently a bit of a temporary thing

    • OrbStack doesn’t seem to be a big company – all their PR and all our interactions with them(?) have been with a single person

    • OrbStack has a nice volume mounting interface - works around bind-mouting slowness on macOS

    • 2U: Fully hosted vs local dev envs

      • What’s the advantage of fully hosted?

        • Folks who have worked at a place with a fully hosted env really loved it, esp when the story was “one click and I have a dev env”

        • That’s not the case currently for Open edX. More like:

          • Local devstack is ~20 minutes

          • Hosted devstack is ~5 minutes (although first time setup is a little higher)

        • Hosted devstack at 2U is just a hosted Devstack instance in an EC2 instance that you manage through AWS

        • Other devs can jump in easier just by ssh’ing


Cross Pollination

  • Tools/features/opportunities

  • Tips and tricks

  • Roadmap news

  • [Diana]

  • [Jeremy]

  • [kyle]

    • Working on faster provisioning for mounted edx-platform with tutor mounts populate command (directly copies assets, node_modules, etc. from image to host). Generalizable to other service, too, e.g. course-discovery.

    • Still testing new optimized Tutor Dockerfile with new static assets build

      • [Jeremy] I recently discovered https://earthly.dev/ , wonder if it could help with image build optimization



  • Each challenge should have a follow up action.

  • If you have an idea for follow up actions, add it.

  • Or if you aren’t sure, leave it blank.

  • We’ll discuss all actions either way.

[Becca] Haven’t had time to try Tutor again, nor really do much in the way of DevEx at all

[Emad] some contributions to different openedx repos(mostly MFEs). MRs are stuck for weeks :))


  • DevExp wins!

  • [kyle] I’ve been using Tutor + Library Authoring Plugin in order to work on Content Libraries V2, and it’s been going smoothly

  • [kyle] Starting now (in Nightly) and in Quince, Tutor will assume docker buildx is available, which is much better at parallelization, caching, & has a better interface.

Suggested Action Items

Last Time:

@Kyle McCormick review Jeremy’s doc, add details about Tutor changes in Palm
@Rebecca Graber to check Tutor on ARM again
@Kyle McCormick switch invite to Meet
@Kyle McCormick @Régis B. work on tutor dockerfile & automatic mounting of custom packages

This Time:

After the meeting…

  • Make an agenda for next time (tip: copy this page).

  • Axim: Paste in the Zoom link once it’s ready.

  • Paste these notes and next week’s agenda in #wg-developer-experience