Skip to main content

Development and test environments - on demand at the press of a button (That actually work!)

“Works on my machine!”

“Fails most epicly on my test system!”

“Oh, wait… it works on CI but fails in Test env 3.”

Sound familiar?

These sorts of conversations are thankfully a thing of the past. 

Wait, hold on - are you still having these sorts of conversations?

That's probably because you are working somewhere where the development, test, production & CI servers are being created by people, painfully, once.

Alexander the Great cutting through the Gordian knot of a particularly gnarly micro-service deployment.

You set up your laptop, you pray to the god of operating system patches and upgrades and hope that nothing ever changes (ever). You're gonna be the last person in the team to take that new Mac OS upgrade - let the rest of the team run through those mine fields first.

And the test systems? Last time you asked for a new one of those your programme manager ended up on new & stronger heart meds.

Luckily, there are tools that can help. 

Gitpod, for example, allows you to create a development environment every time you log on, or in fact whenever you want.

Gitpod has a number of useful features that together can make your lives easier. They are:

  • It provides an easy to use development IDE (it's a web version of VS Code, one of the most popular IDEs in the world).
  • A cloud based workspace with a command line terminal (Yes, Bash), and even a linux desktop if you need one.
  • Configure your whole development/test environment with standard Docker & Docker Compose commands to be built and deployed anytime.
  • Smooth integration with Github, GitLab or BitBucket. (Or you could even self host it)

Now that's a lot to digest. What it means in practice is that your team can create one template of how to set up your app.

You can then store that template in the code repository, along with the app and test code.

And when you need to fix a bug, code review a pull request or test the app you can just build the app and the whole supporting environment in the cloud and on demand (it takes seconds).

Tools like Gitpod have the potential to save teams a massive amount of time lost to misconfiguration, confusion and the laborious work of creating and keeping environments in sync. You don’t realise how much time is lost in the setup and untangling of the Gordian knot that constitutes the average development environment - until it disappears.


Popular posts from this blog

Betting in Testing

“I’ve completed my testing of this feature, and I think it's ready to ship” “Are you willing to bet on that?” No, Don't worry, I’m not going to list various ways you could test the feature better or things you might have forgotten. Instead, I recommend you to ask yourself that question next time you believe you are finished.  Why? It might cause you to analyse your belief more critically. We arrive at a decision usually by means of a mixture of emotion, convention and reason. Considering the question of whether the feature and the app are good enough as a bet is likely to make you use a more evidence-based approach. Testing is gambling with your time to find information about the app. Why do I think I am done here? Would I bet money/reputation on it? I have a checklist stuck to one of my screens, that I read and contemplate when I get to this point. When you have considered the options, you may decide to check some more things or ship the app

The gamification of Software Testing

A while back, I sat in on a planning meeting. Many planning meetings slide awkwardly into a sort of ad-hoc technical analysis discussion, and this was no exception. With a little prompting, the team started to draw up what they wanted to build on a whiteboard. The picture spoke its thousand words, and I could feel that the team now understood what needed to be done. The right questions were being asked, and initial development guesstimates were approaching common sense levels. The discussion came around to testing, skipping over how they might test the feature, the team focused immediately on how long testing would take. When probed as to how the testing would be performed? How we might find out what the team did wrong? Confused faces stared back at me. During our ensuing chat, I realised that they had been using BDD scenarios [only] as a metric of what testing needs to be done and when they are ready to ship. (Now I knew why I was hired to help) There is nothing wrong with c

DevOps and Software Testing.

Most of my recent work has been with DevOps teams. While in one sense DevOps is another evolution in software development. It also introduces some new skill requirements and responsibilities into the daily routine of a tester. These diagrams tend to confuse people, hence the video... I've created a short video to highlight some of these changes and the opportunities they bring. It's not an exhaustive view of DevOps but it gives a highlight of what you could be working with. While DevOps isn't a panacea to our software development problems, I have found that empowering teams with the ability to build and use the tools they need, can rapidly improve team morale and productivity.