Tugboat is a SaaS app that builds ephemeral environments for every git pull request or merge request, which we call Previews. These environments can be created automatically when a new pull request or merge request is made to GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket, or users can build them manually from branches or tags. When the PR or MR is merged, Tugboat automatically deletes the temporary environments, cleaning up after itself. Tugboat is available in cloud-hosted options, or on-premise for organizations where security is the top consideration.
Our customers use Tugboat for lots of tasks in the development process; from temporary staging environments, to QA environments, to code review environments; and for more complex DevOps tasks like interoperability testing or experimenting with infrastructure changes. The microservices model that Tugboat uses makes it ideal for replicating production infrastructure and building complex environments. Under the hood, Tugboat uses Docker images to create containers that provide working previews of your production websites and web apps.
Tugboat was developed in its current incarnation by Lullabot, a Drupal development, design, and strategy agency, in 2016, as a tool to facilitate collaboration with client development teams and stakeholders. The ability to build working staging environments where client developers and stakeholders could review work before merging it into production was a game-changer for a busy web development agency; it solved common development bottleneck problems, as well as a host of agency-related issues such as difficulties gaining access to client infrastructure.
In time, it became apparent that Tugboat was well-positioned to solve a broad range of use cases for a wide variety of stakeholders, so Lullabot decided to give it a public-facing website and share it with other developers within the Drupal community. In 2018, the Tugboat we know today was launched as a modern SaaS app, with a variety of pricing tiers, as well as cloud hosting and on-premise options, to provide a Tugboat for everyone from indie developers to large enterprise organizations.
Tugboat remains a Lullabot company, and still provides git pull request preview environments for many of Lullabot’s clients.
We’re a small (but mighty!) team of folks from different backgrounds who share a few things in common: we’ve all been working remotely for years, and most of us come from a coding background, so we’re a highly-technical team in addition to our other business responsibilities.
Part documentarian, part marketing strategist, Dachary is the content creator within the Tugboat team. It’s her job to do everything from writing clear docs to get developers started building on-demand git pull request environments, to creating articles and case studies so people can learn all about the cool things they can do with Tugboat. Working with a technical team means using a docs-as-code workflow for content creation, and she loves using Tugboat to create Tugboat’s documentation and marketing materials.
Yes, we did it — we poached one of the friendliest, most-knowledgeable guys from Lullabot to serve as Tugboat’s principal developer and systems architect. As an expert systems administrator, with years of experience working alongside developers to create and maintain Tugboat within Lullabot, Ben’s responsible for implementing many of the new features you’ve seen rolling out in Tugboat for the past couple of years. We routinely give “Pastben” karma via our Slackbot for his forward-thinking implementation details that support future growth and set the stage for even cooler stuff to come.
Jaden Johnston is a SaaS, e-learning, and digital agency veteran who’s spent the last several years building B2B businesses and leading revenue teams. She likes cats and is also a firm believer in the Oxford comma.
Years before Tugboat became its current incarnation, this git pull request builder started out as a humble build script in Jenkins, created by our very own Tugboat Technical Account Executive, James Sansbury. (Yes, when we say he knows the tech, he knows the tech!) James spent years as a technical architect for Lullabot, working directly with some of the biggest brands on the web, and joined the Tugboat team officially in early 2020.
Co-founder of Lullabot and CEO of Tugboat, Matt Westgate is the captain of our merry crew, providing leadership and building a culture of trust and open collaboration. If you’d like to read more about his leadership in action at Lullabot, check out his bio on the Lullabot website, which also features some of the writing he’s done over the years about his unique approach to leadership.