What are environments in software development?

“Environments” in software development are the different phases a piece of work moves through before it goes live to its target audience. They are used to test that all work functions as it should before it is deployed and to make sure that any changes made to a piece of software don’t break the live version. 

Environments help to keep certain aspects of work separate and allow the overall flow of development and deployment to go smoothly. As such, they are an important aspect of software development to be aware of and learn more about. In this blog, we are going to help you do just that.

The four environments 

The four commonly used environments in software development are: 


  1. Development
  2. Testing
  3. Staging 
  4. Production


The first stage, development, is the very first workspace for developers to begin work on a task. It is where they will programme, code, write, and lay down real work. The development stage is a sort of locked arena, in which any work that is done by developers does not affect anything else further than the development line. The environment often includes “local” versions of code, i.e. one that is being worked on by only one person or team and can only be seen by them. 

The development environment allows software developers to create the work they need without releasing it to users and causing any knock-on bugs and failures. It is a controlled setting for development that allows maximum productivity and effectiveness without any complications. 

The second stage, testing, does what it says on the tin. The test environment allows testing to take place. Anything that has been developed so far can be thoroughly tested to improve the quality and accuracy of the software and to fix any bugs that are occurring. Different types of testing can be carried out here, including performance testing, system integration testing, security testing, QA, user acceptance testing, and so on. Whatever makes sure the software is ready to move into staging and fits in with the current software development company’s methodology will do the job. 

The third stage, staging, is somewhat of a dress run for the software that has been created and tested. In staging, the software is soft-launched to a small group of people, often including stakeholders or internal members of staff. Here, a simulated test run of the software can occur before it is released to end users. This allows yet another layer of security and quality assurance to ensure that what is being released to users is the best possible version. 

Finally, the production stage is when the product created is being used by the desired end users. It is not a fixed state in which nothing new can be added or nothing can be tested or updated. It is a live state that is upgraded and added to when necessary. New features can be added in the production stage and faulty features can be removed. If something needs a lot of fixes to be made, it can be moved back into testing or staging environments again to make sure the changes are made without breaking anything else on the live site.

Why are environments important?

Using environments within software development keeps everything clear, cohesive, and to the best standard of quality possible. It allows software development projects to be structured and it ensures the end users of a project receive the best product with the best experience of using it.

Environments are essential within any good software development project, using them correctly can positively impact both workflow and end results.

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