What is a staging environment?
The staging environment is a server environment for testing applications and websites under approximately realistic conditions. Similar components are used here as in the release version.
Staging describes a step in the workflow in most development projects. The staging environment or is a server environment that enables a comprehensive test of websites or applications under almost real conditions.
The staging environment relies on hardware similar to the production variant on which the release version is based. Staging is a process in which the database is already partially accessed. Authorized users have access to the staging environment and are responsible for checking functionality.
Ultimately, the staging environment is used to simulate the system that is ultimately published. The environment thus provides information on how the system behaves when it is tested independently of the development environment.
Overview of staging
The staging can be understood as part or step of the workflow. It is a component of the deployment process. This includes the commissioning and distribution of applications, taking the infrastructure into account. Basically, a distinction can be made between different development steps, each of which includes certain systems and environments.
Each development step usually has its own server environment, in many cases this is a virtual server for economic reasons. A physical server is not a mandatory requirement for implementing the development steps. For staging purposes, virtual servers are used that are hosted on the same server that also provides the website.
However, the staging environment is shielded by a sandbox strategy. In principle, the development system and the production system are clearly separated from each other in the development process. In this way, possible errors or conflicts, such as those that may arise during database migration, can be avoided.
Importance of the staging environment in the development process
Several development steps can be distinguished in software and web development. Certain environments or environments are associated with these. Basically, between development ( Development to distinguish), staging and production. If necessary, these environments are supplemented by a testing environment and a quality assurance environment.
In addition to the staging environment, the process is characterized by a number of other environments under development. This includes the development environment in which the software requirements are implemented. The environment, also known as the development environment, represents a working version of the application or software and is either on a local computer or on a secure server.
Software and application developers can make changes to the source code in this environment and thus develop or change features. Numerous debugging and testing tools and compilers are used in this environment . Developers also have access to part of the database so that they can test and implement certain functions. If several developers are involved, version control systems are also used so that changes made by different developers can be synchronized.
Another component is the build environment, in which the source code is compiled (but not executed) centrally. The test environment is used for the automated execution of the software test. Another important environment is the production environment in which the program is used in connection with the intended application purpose of the customer. The program functions are constantly checked using measures such as monitoring, logging and auditing.
The staging environment should generally represent the production environment. Ideally, it is a copy of the environments. In practice this is not always feasible, but both environments benefit when the components (hardware and software) are as similar as possible. This helps to avoid conflicts when working with these environments. In general, no changes are made by developers to the production environment. Source codes are already ready for publication at this point, as it has already passed a test in different environments.
The development process is supplemented by the quality assurance environment (QA), in which testers look for errors or carry out additional tests. The quality assurance environment should also be as similar as possible to the production environment. This environment is also known as QA (Quality and Assurance). It is optional and is used to identify errors or bugs in the code. This is to prevent this step from affecting the development environment.
Development and quality assurance are strictly separated from each other so that development and testing do not get in each other’s way. If one developer were testing a new feature while someone else was making changes, the system would no longer work. Whole groups of users are sometimes used for quality assurance, similar to a beta test.
Staging environment in programming and development
Staging environments are characterized by very high resource requirements. Since the hardware and infrastructure of the production environment must be as similar as possible, corresponding purchases are necessary. The system also requires careful configuration and the necessary data must also be set up.
These are just some of the requirements that must be met so that the staging environment can simulate the production environment under the required real conditions. Staging environments are therefore typically found in larger companies and projects.