One of the most essential parts of the development process is establishing the staging and production environments. These two environments allow us to ensure that the code we’ve spent weeks building is both stable and bug-free before it’s released to the end users. Even though staging and production environments are almost identical in appearance, they are actually completely different from each other. In this post, I’m going to talk you through what the staging and production environments are and how they operate.
Let’s start with the staging environment.
The staging environment is a replica of the software being built. Think of it as a test kitchen for a restaurant. It allows the chefs to practice and perfect their recipes before the restaurant opens to the public. Similarly, the staging environment allows developers to test and perfect their code before it is released to the end users in the production environment. Staging environments are used to showcase new features, identify and fix bugs, and allow all other changes to be made and tested before the software can deploy. When we develop new software, we also want our clients to gain access to the staging environment as soon as possible so they can test the app for themselves and give us feedback.
Some important things to know about the staging environment:
- Staging environments have the same hardware and software configurations as a live production environment
- Access to the staging environment is restricted and monitored to prevent unauthorized access
- Data in the staging environment should be backed up regularly so that any changes can be easily undone if necessary
- Staging environments should be tested thoroughly before any changes are made to the live production environment
- Software and websites should be tested in the staging environment for compatibility with other applications and operating systems
Now let’s talk about the production environment
The production environment is essentially the “hard copy” of the organization’s live applications, websites, and services. It is the environment that is used by end-users to interact with the organization’s services. It is the most reliable, secure, and up-to-date version of the software solution where the latest versions of the app are made live to its users where they can see, use, and interact with the product. Once changes are made to production, all testing and bug fixes are completed at this point. The production environment contains the final version of the product.
Some important things to know about the production environment:
- It should be kept secure and up to date
- All software and hardware should be tested prior to deployment in the production environment
- A backup should be made prior to any changes to the production environment
- The environment should be scalable and able to handle increased capacity
- The system should be monitored to ensure optimal performance
So whether you’re in the beginning stages of development or you’re nearing your launch, familiarize yourself with both your staging and production environments so that you can better understand your product and create a comprehensive onboarding experience for your users.