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Development Processes and Technical Environments


The process of application development is critical to the success of ecommerce operations. The proper processes can not be enforced unless technical environments are properly setup. Technical environments are required for development, test and operation.

It is common that in many organizations ecommerce applications (programmed in Java) are developed on NT platform, and deployed to production on Unix. Without streamlined procedures and proper environment settings, deployment and testing is not only a frustrating experience, but also a major detriment in budget overrun.

Development and test environment may be powered by less powerful computers, but the configurations should be the same for all three environments. Development and test environments should be populated with production data periodically.

Development Environment

Role The development environment is a place where development team develops and tests the applications. If applications are developed on NT, development to Unix environment helps developers to port NT applications to Unix environment and to develop and test Unix specific tasks, such as shell scripts and cron jobs.
Security Concerns Development team should have full control of and access to the environment, though installation of new software should consult with Unix admin and DBA.

Test Environment

Role The test environment is a place where QA team (configuration management should be part of QA team) practices deployment. For large and complex applications, it may take many trials to correctly deploy the systems.
Security Concerns QA team is fully responsible for the test environment. Development team should not be aware of the existence of test environment. In reality, development team members are often involved with deployment largely because organizations trend to place staff with less technical expertise on QA team.

Production Environment

Role The production environment is a place where you serve your customers. The deployment from test to production should be automated using deployment scripts to avoid the potential human errors and to reduce the deployment cost.
Security Concerns Both development team and QA team should not be aware of the existence of production environment. It is the sole responsibility of operation team to maintain the production environment.

The procedures and technical environment settings described above have been proven to be valuable in eliminating many problems in ecommerce system implementation. The successful implementation of the procedures, however, depends on management commitment (based on understanding of technical challenges) and the technical competency of all teams involved.

Related Topics
Java Application Servers for Web Development
Software Configuration Management - Version Control, Build, Release Management and Process Control
Software Testing - Unit Testing, Integration Testing, Regression Testing, System Testing and User Testing


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