It’s all good news, we promise! The Forge has always been the go-to spot for Puppet users to find, download, and update content and modules. On this episode, we're revealing a few of the exciting changes that are going to make the Forge even easier and more valuable for all Puppet users, like personalization, filters, and features to track module versions and updates against your Puppet file.

As of today, there are more than 7,500 modules on the Puppet Forge — some active, some deprecated, some created and supported by Puppet Labs, some by community groups like Vox Pupuli. While it’s become a hub for all Puppet users, we've heard feedback on ways it could be even better. We see a brighter future for the Forge – one built for and shaped by users like you! Join Ben Ford as he talks to Forge Product Manager Saurabh Karwa about what the Forge is today, the subtle changes that are already in the works, the near-term roadmap, and the long-term vision for the Forge.


  • Ben Ford, Community Lead at Puppet by Perforce
  • Saurabh Karwa, Product Manager at Puppet by Perforce


  • Introducing Saurabh, the Product Manager for the Puppet Forge
  • What the Forge is today and what it needs to become THE place for Puppet users
  • The role of the Puppet Community in shaping the future of the Forge
  • Adding personalization, new filters, and features to track module versions and updates
  • Why you should join our new Ecosystem Advisory Board



Ben Ford [0:20] Hello again, and welcome to today's episode of Pulling the Strings Podcast, as always, powered by Puppet. My name is Ben Ford. I am the community director here at Puppet, and pretty active in that community as @binford2k. Maybe we've talked a little bit because I've been pretty involved for a long time. I've had a long career here at Puppet, I've done several different roles. I started out doing professional services, and worked with Ryan Coleman when we built the Forge for the very first time, back in 2012, a long time. Then I moved into education and taught people a lot about Puppet. Then moved into community, and I did a stint in product management for a bit, where I was actually responsible for the Forge. One of the things about this is through this entire time after we had the Forge, it's been this constant presence in the community. It's like this is where we go to share content, this is where we go to find content, this is where you find Puppet modules. But I've always had this thought that there's an untapped resource, there's more that it could be doing. It's really good at what it does, but there's more that it could be doing. That’s why I'm really excited today to bring to you Saurabh Karwa, who's our product manager for the Forge. He's going to talk about some of the things that we're doing, some of the ways that we have engaged with community to find out what is actually really needed and what would be really useful to make this a resource so much more valuable to you. Saurabh, could you maybe introduce yourself really quick, and talk a little bit about maybe your background, what you do today, and what you're interested in?  

Saurabh Karwa [2:01] Sure. Man, thanks. Hello, everyone. This is Saurabh Karwa, as Ben mentioned. I am the new product manager at Puppet Forge. I have been with Puppet and Perforce for almost one-and-a-half years now. But unlike Ben, and sorry, Ben, I'm extremely, extremely new to Puppet so it's been three months that I have just started working on this. There's a lot to learn. Of course, talking with you and the community always helps me gain that experience. All right, coming to my background. I started out as an engineer, so I worked with a company called Symantec as their malware engineer. Did my MBA, and then I had to justify the MBA fees so I went into consulting. I did consulting for a couple of years, but then I started feeling that I need to more closer to the tech which I fell in love with at the start. I did product ownership role here, and then moved onto the product management role here at Puppet. It's been almost close to four years that I've been doing this.

Ben Ford [3:02] That’s really cool. You did make a little joke about being so brand new to this thing, but one thing that I've recognized about you, even though we're just getting to know each other, is that you've got this knack for connecting with people, for talking with people and hearing what they really need and make sure that they feel heard for that conversation. Where did you learn that skill?

Saurabh Karwa [3:23] See, I think there is a lot of credit which has to be given to the MBA program, for all its flaws. Definitely-

Ben Ford [3:34] I have to admit, I started an MBA and I didn't actually finish it.

Saurabh Karwa [3:37] Oh, wow.

Ben Ford [3:38] You’ve got a leg up on me there.

Saurabh Karwa [3:41] I wouldn't call it yet, let's wait and see. But yeah, that's the point where I think it changed a little bit for me. I was a very introverted person, basically an engineer, as I said earlier. I came out of that background, and always wanted a white and black approach to any problem, but MBA changed that for me and made me realize that there's a lot to learn. There's a lot to learn especially when you work with the people who are smart and expert, and there's old saying, "Don't be the smartest person in the room," so I always find people who know more than me and learn from them. Yeah, probably would have to assign it to MBAs. You know product, you have done product for a bit. Everyone keeps telling us that there's data, there's business aspects, and there's design, it's an intersection of all those things. But if you ask me, honestly, just talk to your customers.  

Ben Ford [4:42] Yeah.

Saurabh Karwa [4:42] Find two, three people who are users of your product, talk to them. I think that will give you more insights than anything else.

Ben Ford [4:49] Right. Data is absolutely needed, you need data in order to make good decisions, but you need to talk to people to feel, to understand what they're struggling with, right?

Saurabh Karwa [5:00] Yeah, absolutely. The qualitative insights that are generated by just having half-an-hour of conversation, that relates to the data points that you have been collecting. Then that bulb clicks where you say, "Oh yeah, now this makes a lot more sense.”

Ben Ford [5:16] I really got to get you out to some of the Devops Days or Config Management Camp or something, get you talking to some of the community members face-to-face. I think you would get so much out of this.

Saurabh Karwa [5:25] Yeah. Europe calling.

Ben Ford [5:29] Yeah. Yeah, there we go. Maybe we could start with what is the Forge really, and why is it so important to people?

Saurabh Karwa [5:37] I’ll just start with a little bit of example when I started learning Puppet. As I said, I started doing this in November and December of last year. I went through three or four online tutorials, of course company tutorials, and layman learning course, those sort of things. The first thing that struck me was everybody, everyone of that talked about, "You need to go to Forge. After you learn the basics of Puppet, you need to go to Forge to find out something that's there already." That's the big usefulness of Forge, probably, that whether you are an experienced Puppet user, whether you are a system admin with 10 years of experience, or even when you're just starting out Puppet like me, you have to visit Forge to not start off fresh. Learn on the wisdom of the ancestors and use their knowledge that have been going on for years. Probably, that's Puppet's, and maybe I'm just a little bit biased in this, but-

Ben Ford [6:44] I think you're absolutely right, because these are the building blocks of how you make a great Puppet infrastructure. It's almost like a shared language. If you use the same building blocks that other people are using, you're going to come up with something different but you're going to be able to talk about it, you're going to be able to say, "So I'm using the Apache module and this is what I'm trying to do," and somebody else is going to know exactly what you're working with. You can communicate, you can work together, you can get support when you call support or you can talk to peers in the public community, and everybody knows. It's like you're all on the same page as what you're working with.

Saurabh Karwa [7:16] Yeah, absolutely. Puppet is not a product where you see the network effects take place. Essentially, it's mostly an on-prem solution or you don't have to interact with other folks. But Forge and the community gives us that network effects, which you relate with some B2C sort of products.

Ben Ford [7:37] Absolutely.

Saurabh Karwa [7:38] We are learning together.

Ben Ford [7:39] I like that. I hadn't actually connected those dots and realized that it was what you called the network effect for a social platform, but that's a really cool way of thinking about it. It's a way to exponentially increase your value.

Saurabh Karwa [7:53] Yeah.

Ben Ford [7:54] As a typical user today, not what we're looking at in the future but today, as you go into the Forge, how would somebody interact with it? What would that user experience be like, do you think?

Saurabh Karwa [8:08] Right. Forge, it's a multitude of platforms. There's of course a front end, which probably a lot of community users and newbies would have started with. But of course, there's the serving back end of it. Let's start with how the front end experience or the UI experience of that today is. The basic use case of Forge, as we talked earlier a little bit, we touched upon earlier, is that is a repository of content or modules which is reusable Puppet code generated by community. Some of those are supported by Puppet, but the majority of those are community generated and community supported. All right. The use case is that, let's say I'm very new, I'm new to a technology that I want to Puppetize in my infrastructure. Let's say I want to do a web server, Apache web server. I go to Forge and just search for Apache in the search bar. That's probably the first interaction point that I have. I need to know what technology I want to Puppetize, I find that on Forge using the search functionality. Now because Forge is a big repository of modules, there's bound to be loads and loads of modules that will probably come up in your search. We have some filters, which will order finding the right content, the right modules. Some of the filters would be like, "This module works on these OSS or these platforms. This module works with this Puppet version." Then there's some badges that Perforce give out, which is essentially the supported badge, which talks about the modules we actively support. There's the partners badge, which we know that a lot of our partners have contributed in the past. There's these filters, which will help you trim down the list of modules that you see. Finally, even you look through all the modules, maybe you will trim down four to five modules, you go through each of those, there's pages dedicated to each of those. You have information about each of those modules, where there's documentation on how to use that, documentation on how to install and get started with those modules. Finally, based on maybe you find the perfect module, you want to get that down into infrastructure. Yeah, then there's the way to download it. Now downloading it is obviously done through multiple ways. You can choose the UI to download it in, and then use the ZIP file that came down onto your machine, and put it in your Puppet infrastructure. We really see that a lot of our users use our DK, which is our deployment tool. They use Bolt, which is again, a Puppet tool, to bring down all these modules into their infrastructures through automated pipelines, essentially. This is about modules, but then there's also a back end API bit, which also helps you interact with Puppet, interact with Forge, and download more infrastructure, basically.

Ben Ford [11:06] What do you see is the missing? What is it that we feel like we need to add, or change, or improve here? Maybe what's the value that we're missing? What do we want to bring to our users?

Saurabh Karwa [11:17] Right. I think you touched upon this earlier. Forge is extremely good at what it was built for and a lot of users have said this to me. That when I talk to them, "What is the thing you think that is missing?" The same question that you asked me just now, I talked with some of our regular Forge users. They said that there's not a lot that you could change, maybe some bits here and there, some UI changes that you can probably do. But this is probably the downside of working with a mature firm like Puppet. Forge has gone through a lot of changes in the past, there's a lot of responsive design UI changes that have happened. The premise that I'm driving at is Forge is very good at what it does. It serves modules really fast, really well and it's extremely highly available.

Ben Ford [12:08] But you have to know what you're doing in order to find the thing that you're looking for, right?

Saurabh Karwa [12:12] Yeah, absolutely. Since Forge has grew so much in the last 10, 12 years that it has been there, now it has come to a point where finding the right content is becoming actually a little difficult. For example, if I search for Apache for example, which I was talking to you about earlier, if I just search for it and I'm doing it now, yeah it's returning around 1150 results. Even if I do all the filters and all that, still there's close to 100 results coming out through that. How do you find out what is the right one from this? Do you go through all the 100 modules? I think it's a little tricky to do that. That's why we think there's a lot of potential in improving the user experience on Forge. The other thing we'll definitely talk more about as we go through is that Forge was built to serve content, so there was not a lot of personalization which was built into it.

Ben Ford [13:16] Right.

Saurabh Karwa [13:18] It’s like a major touchpoint for all of our Puppet users. I think there's some value in bringing the personalization bit to it, where the system actually knows about you so that you get more information and more value out of your Forge experience, essentially.

Ben Ford [13:37] Yeah. If I using a certain set of modules, it's like why show me modules that conflict with those? I feel like there's so many opportunities for building something that can be a little bit smarter about what we present to users when they go look for content.

Saurabh Karwa [13:53] Yeah, yeah.

Ben Ford [13:54] You said that you talked to a lot of people about that. What's the role that community members play when you ideate something like this, or when you build UX, or workflow, or change the experience of working with a service like this?

Saurabh Karwa [14:09] Oh, yeah. Probably the foremost-  

Ben Ford [14:13] I know this is a very loaded question.

Saurabh Karwa [14:15] We are building it for them. We are building for the community members, so if having their say in what they feel is the right thing is obviously the most important thing. I have tapped into community through multiple channels. There's the Slack community channel, which I think everyone hearing this should definitely be a part of. There's the Puppet Slack community channel. I use it day in and day out, to find what people are talking about. Obviously, it's not only related to Forge but everything Puppet. But of course, again, Forge is not only a separate offering, it is everything Puppet. It does help me understand what the usual patterns of the pain points the users are facing. What are they generally asking about? If there's something that has happened in Puppet, what are they happy about? That's also a good direction of what Puppet should be doing. Slack channels has been very helpful to me in starting to understand the user pain points, especially when I was just starting out. In fact, I have a list of Slack texts which relate to Forge in particular, and I keep looking at them to understand, "Okay, now I am doing this, this is how it relates to the requests that the users are making." It's very helpful. Apart from the Slack channel, there's community sync ups that we keep doing, especially with the Vox Populi group, who are our major contributors on the work with Forge. That's very helpful, where we have open-ended discussions about what's going to come, about has been working, what is not working at all. That has definitely helped me understand the direction the product should take. Even after that, I have reached out to some community members and some community members have reached out to me, to have a one-on-one interaction to understand their exact pain points and their exact workflows. Everything that we are going to be doing on Forge, then we'll talk to you about. Everything that will come out in the future, the community has shaped almost all of it, in some way or form. There's nothing that has not been discussed with the community members.

Ben Ford [16:24] Yeah. I feel like a lot of the ideas that we have have really been shaped by the things that people have, I don't know what the phrase is ... Usually when you talk to somebody, they're like, "Oh, it's fine, it's great." They've got this very low-key it's okay approach to things. But every now and then, they'll trigger something and they're like, "Oh, I hate this thing," and they get fired up about it. You're like, "Now I'm going to start writing down. What is it? Tell me about this thing.”

Saurabh Karwa [16:55] Yeah.

Ben Ford [16:56] That’s when you get the passion that comes out and people aren't trying to be nice, or whatnot. It's like their true feelings come out and the things that that they're really, really, really passionate about comes out.

Saurabh Karwa [17:08] I hope that no product manager is hearing this, but I want people to be angry at me.

Ben Ford [17:17] Yeah.

Saurabh Karwa [17:18] You know, right? Indifference is worse than being ... I hate indifference. If a user is indifferent to your product, which means they're not using it essentially. I am glad a lot of passionate users are present in the Puppet community, it's extremely useful.

Ben Ford [17:36] Do you think that you're at the state ... I know that a lot of these things are still on the drawing board and you're planning them out and everything, and maybe a couple of them have been delivered. Do you think that you're at the state that you can talk about some of the ideas that are in the works over the next, I don't know, handful of months or so?

Saurabh Karwa [17:54] Yeah, absolutely. Of course, there's some ideas, as you mentioned, that are still just ideas. They're still just text on a wall. But obviously, there's some definite order of that we have for the next two to three quarters. Let's start from the pain points that we've touched upon a little bit earlier. The first one, and as I was talking about this, that hit me the hardest was the no profile, no personalization bit. I really think that Forge has the potential to serve up not only modules, but essentially some solutions for our users. I know it's a little vague, and even for us right now it's a little vague, but there are some bits that we are doing one that. But what do you want to say is that if you have a problem with Puppet, you come to Forge and find answers for all your problems. That's the vision, that's the end goal that we have. Because of course, we have extreme, extensive documentation, and it's extremely helpful to have it multiple times to understand how things work, but there's of course a limit to the ease of how documentation can solve your solutions. But since we know users on Forge, since we know about your infrastructure a little, we can probably give you more targeted, more personalized insights based on what we know about you. That's the end vision with this pain point. Coming to the one which we did talk about, Forge is big now. It's extremely big. Finding content is getting a little tricky now. The idea is that we make finding the right modules relatively easy. There's some work around the searches that I'll talk about later. Then there's work around cleaning up Forge a little bit, to ensure that the majority of our users have the right experience.

Ben Ford [19:55] That’s a big thing right there, honestly. I remember early in our training classes, we used to really encourage people to create a Forge account, and make content, and upload it and everything. Because early in this process, we were trying to build numbers.

Saurabh Karwa [20:11] Yeah.

Ben Ford [20:11] It’s not that impressive to have a Forge with 20 modules on there, but if you can get 200 modules, or if you can get 1000 modules, or whatever. We used to be pretty focused on getting the module count up. Then we sort of over-indexed on that, I think. We started encouraging people to just upload stuff. I think that we went too far. Now we have, what is it, 8000-some modules?

Saurabh Karwa [20:34] Yeah.

Ben Ford [20:36] Yeah, I think that is probably way too many modules because they're not all even maintained anymore.

Saurabh Karwa [20:44] Yeah. A question to you, Ben, on this. When you started this out, did you have a number where you felt that this is the one we are going to reach in the next five years, this is the one we will probably get in the next 10 years, and did it match your expectations?

Ben Ford [21:00] Oh, even better. I mentioned Ryan Coleman's name earlier, and he's probably going to hear this and give me the stink eye for it. We had this poster, this really big banner size poster on the side of one of our big common rooms in the office, and it had a count number. It was like, "Forge modules now 892," or whatever like that. I had this memory in my head of Ryan with this ladder, and he'd climb up every day, and he'd go and he'd change the number. Then he'd climb back down. In my mind, there's this Laurel Hardy or something, Ryan climbs up, up, up, up, up, change the numbers, down, down, down, down, down. Up, up, up, up, up, change the numbers, down, down, down, down, down. It was that was the thing. The idea of how many was too many, I don't know that we ever thought about that. It was very much about, "That's a really big number, that's good.”

Saurabh Karwa [21:57] That’s powerful imagery right there. Your product person climbing ladders to-

Ben Ford [22:04] Yeah.

Saurabh Karwa [22:04] I’m thinking what I can do to motivate my team. I am looking for ladders somewhere here, I'll find them soon.

Ben Ford [22:14] There you go. You hinted a little bit, and I don't know how much you can talk about this, but you said something about "based on what we know about you." Are you saying that you think that we're going to give the Forge a little bit more insights about what people are doing in their infrastructures? How is that going to connect? Can you talk about that at all?

Saurabh Karwa [22:35] Yeah, absolutely. This is something that is very fully feature fleshed. In fact, it's already in the testing arenas. You should be hearing about this pretty soon. Essentially, the user profile was, right now, meant to act as a conduit for publishers, for module publishers. Of course, that will continue to remain, module publishing. Of course, Forge is nothing if not for the modules it hosts. The module publishers are going to continue with the same experience or even better experience. But coming to the user side of finding, the people who are trying to actually use the content on Forge, we do not have the profile based features for them yet. But what we are doing right now is creating the user profile. What we are asking the users to do is you come on Forge, if you don't have an account, please create an account and sign into that account. You can just start by uploading a Puppet file. Just start by uploading a Puppet file and we'll tell you-

Ben Ford [23:41] Oh, so when you upload the Puppet file, it's like that's how you tell the Forge about your infrastructure and what modules you're using.

Saurabh Karwa [23:46] Exactly. Yeah, absolutely. We don't know exactly what modules are you using from Forge, so just start by uploading your Puppet file. If you do that, that's immediate value to you and I'll tell you why. A lot of our users have, in the past, talked to us about this, there's a lot of communication and a lot of angry communication sometimes, about this. The idea is that they have downloaded modules from Forge, they used it as part of their infrastructure, but then there's no connection to what's happening on Forge. If I have to find, let's say I'm using stdlib, for example. Stdlib is a very frequently updated module. Now it might have gone through changes in version eight and in version nine, let's say version 10 coming up. I need to know what-

Ben Ford [24:35] Oh, tracking updates. That is one of my own pain points of using the Forge, is tracking updates of things that I want to use. I think what you're getting to is you're going to tell us if that's easier.

Saurabh Karwa [24:49] Yeah. It's a lot easier. It's going to be a lot easier.

Ben Ford [24:51] Oh, that's good.

Saurabh Karwa [24:53] Yeah. Yeah. Essentially, you don't know what's happening on Forge, what are the changes happening, unless you take the extreme pain of going through each of your modules in the Puppet file. Let's say there's 50 of them, you go through each of their pages and see okay, there's a new version. Okay, this is a major change, then there's something that will probably break in my infrastructure. Then you'd look at change log and identify what functions are going to change and all that. What we are saying is that, just upload your Puppet file, we'll tell you where you are, we'll tell you what exactly is the most recent on Forge in a single screen. In a single snapshot, you get the module inventories and your essentially update posture, if you want to call it that. You know where you are.

Ben Ford [25:44] I was literally talking with somebody today, even just a couple of hours ago, somebody who was complaining and trying to figure out the easiest way to figure out what modules they needed to go update in their Puppet file.

Saurabh Karwa [25:56] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. A big customer of ours came to us once and said that, "There's 4K modules that I have from the Forge." 4K, 4000.

Ben Ford [26:09] 4000 modules in a Puppet file?

Saurabh Karwa [26:12] Yeah.

Ben Ford [26:13] Oh, my.

Saurabh Karwa [26:16] Yeah. I'm sure there is a lot of modules that's not being used exactly, but of course that's technology is difficult, guys. Right. They came to us and said that, "Is there a way that I can find out what is the most updated version for this? I want to compare it with what versions I have." How do you do it for 4K modules if you have to do it manually? Of course you need some intervention. Yeah, this is definitely a big trigger for that and I think this is going to add a lot of value. You get a single view into your entire infrastructure, especially from a Forge module perspective. We'll tell you what has changed since the last time you downloaded so you don't need to go through individual change logs anymore. We'll tell you what has changed from the last time, and based on that you can take an informed decision about whether you want to update it, not update it.

Ben Ford [27:10] I really, really like that. There's a tool somebody wrote in the community, a camp to camp Puppet file updater, that basically just lets you resolve any updates so that you can go through and pull down the most recent versions of all the modules and everything, and put them in your Puppet file. But the idea of being able to look at your profile and just scroll through, and read the update notes and go, "Yes, I want that one. No, I don't think I'm ready for that one yet. Yes, I want that one," and just pull those updates in, I think that that's a game changer right there.

Saurabh Karwa [27:43] Yeah, absolutely. It's going to be helpful. At least, I think a lot of people agree with me on this. The other bit around this is that you have uploaded your Puppet files, now your infrastructure or the baseline for your infrastructure is ready. What we would expect a lot of our users to do is just generate a token from Forge. There is the section of API keys in the user profile, and just generate a token, just add it once to your R10K project or your Bolt project. Add it there so that we always know where you are, so that the next time, maybe you come to it the next month, you don't have to upload your Puppet file again. We'll know what you have done because we know what you're doing on Forge.

Ben Ford [28:32] Oh, wait. You're saying that if you generate a token on the Forge and you configure your Puppet server with that token, then we know what you're downloading so we can track basically what your Puppet file is, even if you update it yourself without using the Forge interface to do it, so we know what modules you need to update.

Saurabh Karwa [28:50] Yeah, absolutely. In fact-

Ben Ford [28:52] Okay, that's really cool.

Saurabh Karwa [28:53] Yeah. Yeah. In fact, this is not very well fleshed out yet, but I'm going to say something which is going to trigger a lot of people. Are you ready?

Ben Ford [29:06] We’re going to make everybody angry, right? That's what product managers do. Get angry, give us feedback.

Saurabh Karwa [29:12] Yeah. Yeah, it will definitely raise, I'm going to say it, dependency resolution.

Ben Ford [29:22] Oh, that is a hot button. There's going to be lots of opinions on both sides. I know which side that I come down on. I wrote a tool to let R10K resolve dependencies because I think the fact that we have to do it by hand in 2024 is ridiculous. But there are tons of community members who will fight tooth and nail against me on that idea.

Saurabh Karwa [29:44] Right. Yeah, absolutely. That's why I said this is extremely tricky. But we definitely, in this year, we definitely want to look at some of the options available to us on how we can do that. Because we know that you are on those modules, we know some of the modules that you will probably update, you will probably need to update, you'll tell us what are the modules you want to update. We will give you a potential Puppet file based on our understanding of dependencies that you can probably refer, and just add it to your-

Ben Ford [30:21] Oh, I like that.

Saurabh Karwa [30:21] Yeah.

Ben Ford [30:24] I like that. You don't have to be the human dependency resolver anymore.

Saurabh Karwa [30:32] Yeah, absolutely.

Ben Ford [30:32] Unless you want to. If you want to, you can.

Saurabh Karwa [30:35] You can. We'll not change anything that's already working. We'll not hurt our users. But of course, while some of the people who got extremely excited after hearing this now, yeah it's coming, guys.

Ben Ford [30:45] This is really exciting. I feel like what I'm hearing from you is a deeper, stronger connection to what the user really needs than we've had for a while. Maybe that's what this whole theme is. What is the bigger plan for the Forge going forward? Not details, not implementation or anything, but just what do you want the Forge to be for community members, users of Puppet?

Saurabh Karwa [31:13] Right. I answered earlier, this relates to the think that you're talking. Forge should be the place where you come to solve all your Puppet problems. Now, since Forge serves modules, at this point we are starting with that. But later down the line, we have big plans around transforming Forge into a portal where you find extreme value, especially for organizations, definitely publishers. The profile features is catered towards users for now, but definitely there's a lot coming out for publishers as well. We want to make it a lot easy to publish content on Forge and not have to rely on pipelines, or not have to rely on manual uploads. We definitely want to make it a lot easy If I have to call a single summary of what 2024 is going to be for Forge, I will say that it's extremely tuned around user experience on Forge. We want to make it easy for you to find content, we want to make it easy for you to use content, but especially we want to ensure that your Puppet infrastructure is updated, your Puppet infrastructure is reliable, and you don't have to take a lot of efforts for doing that. The big plan is to get more integrated with the entire Puppet ecosystem that you already have in place. Not expect you to create those automations or create those tools, that we should probably give it to you.

Ben Ford [32:42] I love everything that you're saying here. Somebody today, actually the same person I was talking to about dependency resolution, even suggested that the Forge have tools for authors. If you logged into the Forge to go get something, it might give you notification that said, "Hey, this module that you wrote needs updating because there's a new version of Puppet coming out, and standard lib is updated two major versions," or something. It would just be this passive reminder, rather than you having to be the person that always reached out, or you had to run PDK, or go check yourself. It would just help you.

Saurabh Karwa [33:21] Yeah,

Ben Ford [33:21] Just give you hints, give you nudges along the way so that you didn't have to put so much effort into it.

Saurabh Karwa [33:27] Yeah, absolutely. As you said, there's a lot coming for publishers as well. There's definitely one area that I would like to touch upon now, because you talked about it. I know that there's some modules which are part of my infrastructure, but all we heard from a lot of users is that, "There's some modules that I'm interested in. I want to track what the progress of those modules is." A simple feature like subscribe to module updates, essentially.

Ben Ford [33:56] Oh, yeah.

Saurabh Karwa [33:56] Yeah.

Ben Ford [33:58] That’s always asked for.

Saurabh Karwa [34:00] Yeah, right

Ben Ford [34:01] You’re going to tell me when I need to go update my SQL module.

Saurabh Karwa [34:05] Yeah.

Ben Ford [34:05] That's what you're saying, right?

Saurabh Karwa [34:08] Yeah.

Ben Ford [34:08] Wow.

Saurabh Karwa [34:09] For users, if I'm interested in following the trajectory of that module, I can just subscribe to it. For publishers, of course it's not fleshed out yet, but we can do it automatically. Let's say if I'm dependent on stdlib, for example, which a lot of our modules are. I can just watch stdlib and see okay, this is a major version upgrade, or these other things that have come up in the change log. We'll notify on your Forge profile, we'll notify you through emails. Yeah, we'll always keep you updated on the modules that you're actually really interested in.

Ben Ford [34:46] I heard a hint of something in there. Not just that the module has been updated, but summaries of what the updates were so that I know if it's important for me to go update?

Saurabh Karwa [34:58] Absolutely. Absolutely.

Ben Ford [34:59] Oh.

Saurabh Karwa [34:59] That’s the most important part. What has changed? How do I know that? We really need to make it easy to consume that information. There's multiple ways of doing this, and I'm of course unsure of how this will get implemented, but is there a potential of using some AI tool or some tool to summarize that? Sure, why not? We'll definitely give it a try.

Ben Ford [35:22] The world is our oyster as they say, right?

Saurabh Karwa [35:26] Yeah.

Ben Ford [35:28] This is really, really exciting to me. If people listening have ideas, or thoughts, or feedback, or maybe they wanted to know more about this, how would they get in touch with you? How would they help you with their ideas?

Saurabh Karwa [35:44] As I said earlier, Slack community channels. This is not just for me, guys. If you're not part of the channels, please do join those. Every day, I really learn new things about Puppet, after I've joined those channels and see that, "Okay, this can be done this way as well. Right." Definitely join the Slack channels. There's also a GitHub repo for Forge, where you can definitely log issues and give us your feedback. We'll provide that link as well at the end. But please mail me if you have some thoughts, ideas, and we'll showcase the mail as well at the end. Please send me emails. I am Saurabh Karwa on the Slack channel as well, just directly DM me and I'll be happy to get in touch with you, even one-on-one. If you have very strong opinions or something, I'm happy to listen and talk to you. As I said earlier, talking to you is probably my biggest asset here. We have just started talking to a few folks, and we are planning on doing an ecosystem advisory board where we talk to everyone whose involved with Puppet in any way. If you are a system admin, if you are an IT team who is dependent on Puppet, if you are using Bolt, if you are using PDK, if there's some integration idea that you have, please reach out to me, please reach out to David Sandilands, please reach out to Ben Ford here. Let us know if you have intentions joining something, as advisory board. The idea is that it will just a free-flowing conversation. It will be along with all the other members who have also expressed interest. We'll learn from you, you'll learn from us hopefully, and then you'll learn from each other as well. There's a lot to be done with the community that we have here. It's immense and there's a lot of experience that we have to gain from just interacting with each other.

Ben Ford [37:33] That is really exciting. You had a survey that was running for a little bit about feedback. Is that still running or should be post summary or information about how to join the advisory board?

Saurabh Karwa [37:46] We’ll definitely send the summary of how to join the advisory board. The survey's still running, so we'll share the link at the end as well so that you can just type in your thoughts as well. Yeah, we'll get in touch with you when we are ready to get started on that.

Ben Ford [38:02] We’re running out of time here, so let's go ahead and close up. I think maybe that the summary here is that you are taking the Forge to a place where it becomes a source for solutions and it becomes laser focused on improving workflows and user experience. So that, instead of just being a shelf of tools that you're expected to have some kind of expertise, and know how to shuffle through and figure out exactly what you need, and what connects with what, it sort of gives you a little bit of help along with that, a little bit of guide and reduces a lot of friction to getting you, as the user, to a powerful, and successful and complete Puppet infrastructure with as little as your brain power as required. Is that kind of what you're getting at, is making the Forge this tool that helps you improve your own ability as a system administrator?

Saurabh Karwa [39:05] Yeah, absolutely. Forge was built for something, but we think that there's a lot more potential to it, there's a lot more value that we can add to your integrated Puppet experience. We want Forge to be the channel for doing that.

Ben Ford [39:21] This is really, really cool. The timeline that you're talking about, it sounds like we're going to be seeing things coming out real soon. We already saw that thing about saved search, the search has been improved. Profile things, you said are coming real soon. It sounds like the pace is really fast and people are going to start seeing stuff almost immediately.

Saurabh Karwa [39:44] Yeah. Probably do try this out, maybe it will be already there for you to try it out so it's right there. Especially the profile bit, and the ability to improve searches, it's already out there. The profile bit, we are going to be releasing pretty soon and you might see it already. Yeah, it's out there. The other initiatives that I talked about, some of them will probably come out at the end of June, but definitely all of those will be on our minds throughout this year so do look for changes on Forge, guys.

Ben Ford [40:22] Cool, right on. We'll include all the links to everything at the bottom of this. We're always available to talk on Slack and everything. Well, that is a wrap for today. Thank you so much for being here, thank you for listening. Saurabh, thank you for talking about taking us through this journey and getting us all excited about what we can do with the Forge. There's so much ahead of us that I think that this is a very exciting time to be. Thank you for being here, thanks for showing up, and I hope we get you on here again because this was a real fun experience.  

Saurabh Karwa [40:56] Yeah, same. Same for me. Thanks, Ben.

Ben Ford [40:57] We hope to see you all again very soon, on the Pulling the Strings Podcast, powered by Puppet.