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The Benefits of Having a Development Environment for Your Website

Posted: Oct 2, 2020
Content Management Development
You’re familiar with a production environment, which is the live public-facing version of your website, and the website that you typically update daily. When you embark on a project with Vanguard, your Project Manager or Client Service Manager will provide a development environment, so that all required work is completed in an environment that is isolated from production and is approved before deploying to production.

Once the project is approved and launched, Vanguard will archive the development environment, and it won’t be accessible until your next project. This is done to save on active server resources. However, some clients elect to have a dedicated development environment that is utilized for various internal initiatives.

Here are three reasons why you should consider having Vanguard configure and create a dedicated environment that you can access whenever you need to.

Reason 1: Allows you to Review Existing Features of the CMS

Sitefinity CMS includes powerful tools that allow you to create content through the usage of modules, as well as manipulate content based on the information associated with a logged-in user. However, you may not be able to thoroughly test a feature without affecting additional components of your production website. An example of such a feature is Sitefinity’s personalization module, which allows you to deliver different variations of page and widget-based content through user segmentation. You may be inclined to test such features directly in your production environment but should consider this approach because it could affect your Single-Sign-On. To expound on this, you may be inclined to create a version of a page, that displays content based on the “role” of a logged-in user. Although Sitefinity’s personalization tool has built-in features to view a page as a specific user, it cannot mimic and an exact and real-world example of viewing a page, as a logged-in user with such roles.

If you conducted a similar exercise in a development environment, you can test personalization and the SSO in an environment that has zero implications on your production website, content, and users. You may find yourself fine-tuning and tweaking your personalized content once you run through a testing phase, and this can only be done once you are content with your configuration in a development environment.

Reason 2: Allows you to test Against Third-Party Integrations

There may be instances where one of your third-party vendors that oversee your Learning Management System (LMS), or Association Management System (AMS) may need to upgrade their corresponding application. If you have a dedicated development environment, and it is connected to each of your other application’s development environments, it will allow you to quickly identify if your integrations continue to work after your vendor performs their upgrade or change.

You may also find yourself working on a new web initiative that will require you to create new user roles in your AMS. By creating and configuring these roles directly in the test AMS environment, you can quickly identify if these roles will import correctly on your production website once you are ready to launch your internal initiative.

Reason 3: Allows you to Make Mistakes

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That’s right! Mistakes will be made, and what better place to make mistakes than an environment that only you and Vanguard can access. The core benefit of a development environment is that it allows you to test every component of your website and its features. You may even find a feature that isn’t working as expected, and as a result of that, require that it be fixed before you can leverage and use it in your production environment.

Next Steps:

We cannot stress the importance of having a dedicated environment that our clients can quickly access to test features and work on internal initiatives before they are made live to their production website. If you’re interested in learning more about Vanguard’s dedicated development environment, and costs, please reach out to your Client Service Manager, or submit a ticket to our support team at support@vtcus.com.

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Author:

Marco Roman