Often we’re asked “can’t you change it quickly whilst I’m on the phone?” or “It’s only a quick tweak, can you do it straight away?”.
To project manage, we use Basecamp and like most of the big boys in the internet/software development world (including Google Android), our development environments use a host of version control, testing and deployment systems including Git and Capistrano to name a couple. Basecamp enables collaborative management of changes and our develpoment environment enables complete version control over all our websites/applications, branched development, more secure testing and living of projects, real world test environments and complete backup of the our code bases.
It does however mean that ‘quick tweaks’ take just a few minutes longer to be completed – small price to pay for a fully tested application that just works? An added bonus of this slight ‘delay’ means some of our partners think twice about why they are changing things, if it’s really required and if so, how it can be better organised.
We had an occurrence last year where one of our web server had a hardware failure, the quickest solution was to reinstall on a completely new server. Our partners, Rackspace, very quickly configured the new server and after a bit of configuring, we were able to ‘deploy’ four websites, a host of web applications and micro-applications, the systems which communicate to the clients data warehouse, eShot providers and fulfillment houses, complete with the VITES databases (containing all the visitor learnings/tracking data) all fully functioning in only a few hours.
Take a look at this simple Deployment Process diagram Sam knocked up to see how it works.