AutoGit: free automatic deployment for Combell customers
Websites and web services are never really finished – it is always necessary to optimise them and deploy new features. Combell’s new tool AutoGit makes it much easier and safer to implement these new features. But what exactly is it?
Git allows for faster website development and updating
Before a website or web service goes live, its code is first written by developers, on their own laptops or development servers. After that, this code is uploaded online, to the hosting cluster that the customer rents from Combell. For this purpose, developers traditionally used FTP (File Transfer Protocol), an old protocol that is reliable, but cumbersome at the same time. Various Combell customers use SSH-based protocols, such as SFTP or RSYNC, which are safer, but still require that you upload the right files to the right locations.
Nowadays, however, a website is constantly evolving. New features are added and existing features are improved. This requires faster DTAP (Development, Test, Acceptance and Production) methods. And this is where Git comes in handy.
GIT is a tool developed by Linus Torvalds, the man who also developed Linux. It is a distributed version control system that helps manage software source code. The Git repository (a sort of container) contains the source code, together with a full history of the persons who made the various changes to the code.
The fact that it is distributed allows you to “push” your local code to different locations via a single command. In doing so, the most recent changes and the entire version history can be transferred simultaneously to external Git repositories.
AutoGit: a free deployment tool for Combell customers
Git’s distributed model is thus ideal for code developed by multiple team members. Therefore, lots of Combell customers use Git to locally track code changes, or push them to central code repositories in the Cloud, such as GitHub, Bitbucket or Gitlab.
And in order to deliver the “continuous integration, continuous deployment” strategy they pursue, it would be ideal for them to have the opportunity to deploy their code from Git to the hosting cluster.
Combell has a great gift for them: a free tool for the automatic deployment of their code, so that they do not have to develop this tool themselves. Instead of deploying the code via tools such as Jenkins, Gitlab, Bamboo or TeamCity, or even manually via FTP, they can publish their data online via the Git push command. So, Combell in fact provides a deployment pipeline. All the customers who already use Git in their development process can start using AutoGit, whether they are working on a small, static website or a much larger project. And those who do not use Git yet may very well consider using this very handy tool.
AutoGit makes updates more secure
AutoGit makes the updating process of a website or web service quicker, but it also reduces the risk of failure when carrying out an update. The deployment process of a new version involves different steps. If one step fails, the new version will simply not be deployed. In addition, it is also possible to pick up from any step in the process.
AutoGit: also ideal for testing features
Another benefit of AutoGit is the fact that it is easier to use feature branches, besides the master branch. When users of a website e.g. request an additional feature, developers can work on that code in a feature branch. Combell will then create a subdomain on the website, where the new code can be tested without compromising the production site’s integrity. And if the test succeeds, the feature branch can be merged into the master branch.
The benefits of AutoGit
- Combell customers who already use Git can use AutoGit for free
- Code can be deployed into production quicker – from the development environment to the Internet
- Lower risk when deploying updates, as every step is checked
- Feature branches make it easier to securely test and deploy new features
If you want to find out more about AutoGit, Combell has created two examples of projects, including comprehensive README files:
If, after reading this article, you are convinced of the benefits of Git and AutoGit and want to use them for your project, this is definitely possible. In this straightforward tutorial, you will find the necessary steps to move your existing codebase to Git and push it to Combell.