A Complete Guide to Environments in Software Development

Do you want to minimize the chances of errors in your software?

Do you want to streamline the workflows of your software development?

Do you want to ensure that users’ real-time data doesn’t get impacted during the software upgrades?

If so, then you must read this article.

Being one of the top software development companies in Canada, we have developed over 300 custom software solutions; so we know how important is to have proper environments in software development.

That’s why we decided to write a dedicated article on environments in software development. In this article, you learn about software environment meaning, types of environments in software development, and the benefits of using software development environments.

So, let’s dive into this article.

What is a Software Development Environment?

The software development environment is a collection of important tools and procedures that helps developers to test and debug the software program.

The software development environment automates and enhances the software development lifecycle routine. The environment offers hardware and software tools that can help build the workspace for developers to build, test and deploy the software.

For example,

Docker is a software development environment that allows you to build software without server access or hosting web service. You can use the software development environment that will enable you to build and debug. You can also use the system development lifecycle environments that help you with the entire software development lifecycle.

Choosing the right software development environment SDE is important to enhance the outcomes. Let’s discuss the different development environment types to make the right choice.

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Which are the Different Types of Software Development Environments?

There are four different environments that work on the server designed for them. Each server tier is designed to fulfill a particular function: development, testing, and deployment.

Four Types of Development Environment

Type of EnvironmentDescription
Development environmentThis is the first environment that helps software developers design, program, and debug software as per software development best practices.
Testing environmentTesting teams can use this environment to check and fix bugs.
Staging environmentThe fully tested software suite is committed to the staging environment. This environment is used to automate compiling of the software.
Production environmentThis is the deployment phase, where new software is launched for the end users.

As you understand the basic working of each software development environment, let’s discuss each in detail in the next section.

  1. Development Environment

    This is the primary integrated development environment to build custom software. Multiple developers use this environment to collaborate and build software for the operating system. This development environment is used by the software development team to develop, test and deploy the software development project.

    What is the Development Environment Used for?

    This environment is used to build software systems by making changes to the source code. It offers development tools that allow developers to build solutions without involving the end users.

    This is more of a local development environment, which could be individual workstations and laptops. It includes the system developer’s programming tools to translate the idea into a software solution.

    Examples:

    Development environments include – IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, and Netbeans

    Why is the Development Environment Important for Developers?

    The software building process can be long and tedious and requires collaboration at multiple levels. However, you streamline development with proper tools and processes. You will get a code editor and several cloud-based tools in this environment.

    The development environment is needed majorly to:

    • Promote efficiency by offering all tools in one place
    • Automate workflows to accelerate development
    • Implement quality assurance of the software features and functionality before launch
    • Reduce the bugs in the software during development
    • Proper project management for better outcomes
  2. Testing Environment

    The test environments help analyze the quality of all the features exhibited in a software solution. Computer programmers can use the test environment for multiple tests, including system integration testing and user acceptance testing. It allows the testing team to identify and fix the bugs to enhance usability.

    What is the Testing Environment Used for?

    The software testing environment enables development teams to ensure companies launch high-quality and fully functional software. The software developers can check the code in the live environment to see how it works. The developer team can run tests to check the software solution. This is the pre-launch environment where developers can ensure all the problems are resolved.

    Why is the Testing Environment Important for Developers?

    Testing environments can help developers in multiple ways when integrated successfully. Here is how the testing environment helps developers.

    • Run specific tests to check performance, ability, and functionality
    • Test the software on multiple devices simultaneously to review the code and improve the quality
    • Test the software in the production environment
    • Conduct multiple tests needed to check the software’s ability

    Which are the Important Elements in Testing Environment?

    You cannot use a single environment to run all the tests to build a software solution. You can access multiple test environments to complete the quality check. Here is the list of important elements that helps to set up a proper testing environment.

    • The software build which you will test
    • Operating system, database, and testing server
    • Carry out all the necessary network configurations
    • Testing frameworks to help you perform tests – Selenium and Cucumber
    • Devices on which you are going to perform testing
    • Test data to perform testing properly for software
  3. Staging Environment

    This is the pre-final stage, i.e., just before you deploy the apps to the live environment.

    What is a Staging Environment?

    The staging environment is a production environment to run more tests that check for bugs and errors. This environment has all the software, hardware, and usage settings you will see when the website or software goes live.

    You can change the software or website without impacting the real world with this environment. At the same time, you can observe how these changes will impact the actual website environment.

    While you have tested the app in the testing environment, you can recreate the real environment to check for bugs.

    Why is the Staging Environment Important for Developers?

    Building complex software with advanced features is important to ensure an app that syncs with the pre-defined development guidelines. Moreover, you need software that can survive real-world scenarios.

    With the staging environment, developers can:

    • Check the software for bugs and errors
    • Test the app for usability, performance, and load impact in a real-world environment
    • Build a clone of the production server to check the functionality
    • Avoid user experience errors when releasing the software
  4. Production Environment

    This is the live environment where the users will access the software you build. They will experience the current version of the software. You will also get version control tools with this environment to check on the current and future versions of the software.

    What is the Production Environment?

    The software’s live or actual deployment environment is known as the production environment. The production environment interacts with the users directly.

    The apps are launched in this environment after thoroughly testing all bugs and quality issues.

    Why is the Production Environment Important for Developers?

    The production environment or the final stage of your software development environment (SDE) allows teams to deploy high-quality solutions to the web servers or systems. This environment is essential to the developers as it offers:

    • Full control of the releases so that you don’t make mistakes during the launch
    • Keep track of the different versions
    • Assess and monitor new updates and product feature releases
    • Ensure smooth experience while using the software.

Now that we have seen the different environments, let’s know the benefits of using the environment for developing and deploying the apps.

What are the Benefits of a Software Development Environment?

The environment is a program written to help you develop custom software with ease. Here are some advantages of using the development environment.

  1. Continuous Integration for Efficiency

    The build passes between the developers and testing team efficiently to ensure zero bugs at launch. The continuous integration of the development environments allows better assessment and quality checks and mitigates the risks associated with the software.

  2. Manage the Version Changes

    The development environment allows you to track and save the version changes. It ensures you have complete control and visibility into the software development life cycle. It offers all the tools needed to maintain your software.

  3. Speeds Up Developer Tasks

    As portions of software development are automated, you will notice a significant increase in developer productivity. With streamlined workflows and constant collaboration, the timelines are managed efficiently. As a result, you are ready for the launch day of the application.

  4. Improve User Experience

    As you work in a test-driven environment, you will ensure that all checks are done for the live environment without launching the application. As a result, users don’t experience delays or friction in usage when they receive the software solution. This will improve the experience tremendously.

  5. Breaking Down Complex Projects

    With the software development environment, the development team can break down complex projects into smaller milestones. Developers can test the smaller builds and merge them. This way, developers can release software applications with no bugs and better quality.

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Let’s answer a few frequently asked questions to understand the SDEs better.

FAQ About Software Development Environment

  1. What is the difference between a test and a development environment?

    The development environment comprises tools that can help you design, code and build software applications. On the other hand, the testing environment comprises hardware and software that can help assess the performance, quality and functionality of the software applications.

  2. What is the difference between development and deployment?

    During development, you are concerned with prototyping, designing or developing the software solution. In the deployment phase, the team will first launch the application on the staging server. Once it is fully assessed, the application will be launched to production server.

  3. When to use staging software development environment?

    The staging environment is used in two scenarios:

    • When you want to test new features added to an existing software before going live
    • When you want to test new software before going live in the production environment
  4. What is an integrated development environment (IDE)?

    This complete setup with hardware and software allows teams to develop, test, and review the software before launching it into the environment. It comes with all the necessary tools, simulation systems and functionality that enable development speed.

Start Using Environment to Improve Your Development Process

Software development is key to building a transformed, digitally-adept organization. However, to meet your software development goals, you need SDEs that provide the tools needed to build the software solutions.

The development environment can help you plan, develop, test, and deploy the softwares for web and mobile devices. You can choose the SDE that best supports your development process. If your goal is to complete software testing, you need an SDE complete with devices and integrated into the right servers to enhance quality checks and staging assessment. In this article, we saw the different servers and possible use cases.

However, to leverage the software development environment, you need a tech partner with a complete understanding of the tools. Space-O is a leading software development company with expertise in all leading web technologies. Connect with our team if you want to build an enterprise solution or a website for your business.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies. He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311.