The right test environment

Hi there,

We are a small developer team that are geographically spread. We are so very used to work induvidually and local where we are just uploading the local work to an ftp server. No documentation or version control.

We are now working together on a new project, where we have a lot of sites, user profiles, backend admin ect. We are all working on it continuesly, but since our old way of working is no way near efficient and creates a lot of bugs and overwriting, we now need a solution.

We want to develope on a test envriomentent that, when we are satisfied, can be pushed to the live version (remember that we are working from different geographical locations). While developing we need to make sure that we are not overwrtiting anything (two persons working on the same codes), and we need to make comments on all changes made.

So, we need a have a local environment, test environment (that only we can see) where all can see the changes made and a live version of the site.

We have been told that we can use the following tools

Coda (for developement)

Versions (for creating bookmark in repository)

Bitbucket (for repository overview)

But before we try to make our own setup we really want to some advice on this. As said, we need a test environment where we can push or local development to and we need to monitor the changes made as well as being able to push it live when we are satisfied.

We need to have the most cost effecient setup, so please have in mind that it should be a low cost setup.

Please let us know what you think is best practise. And if you have any questions, the please let me know.


1 answer

First I'm not sure that's the right place for this question but anyway I'll try to give some advice.

In general you need the following:

  1. Source code repository
    Bitbucket is ideal choise as it's free and also supports private repositories for free. To use bitbucket you have to learn Git as Bitbucket hosts Git repositories, but the bitbucket documentation is good, so this should be easy.
  2. Git client
    To be able to download(fetch) and upload(push) your changes to the source repository (Bitbucket) you'll need a desktop client - you can try Atlassian Sourcetree
  3. A "build manager" for your project like maven, ant, etc... ( I don't know details for your project here, so it's hard to advice).
  4. A Continous Integarion server (such as Bamboo or Jenkins) - as you're looking for low cost solution I would recomment Jenkins as its free unlike Bamboo. You might need to setup Jenkins on some of your local machines if they are visible to all other team members however there are some "cloud" or "ondemand" solutions you may consider - for example CloudBees offer free Jenkins instances(limited computing power and build time ~200 hours/month)
    This will automatically :
    1. build your project whenever a new change is submitted in the source repository
    2. may deploy the site to a test environment
    3. may run automated tests against the test environment
    4. and many more...
  5. IDE - integrated development environment - I can't advice here as I'm not experienced in website development, but Coda seems a good chose. It will be nice if you IDE has integration with Git (Eclipse has this for example)

There is a lot more in details but that's my general recommendations.

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