One of the most common Magento topics discussed online is around the ‘developer environment’. It’s hardly surprising since the options evolve so quickly and there is a lack of interest from Adobe to help Open Source merchants overcome the challenges around dev ops. Just in the last 2 years, Jetbrains, the company behind PHPStorm, announced Projector, then more recently Jetbrains Gateway. Both are squarely aimed to support the concept that remote development can drastically improve workflow and overall performance. Let’s not forget Microsoft VS Code. This free, lightweight IDE already comes with a host of plugins to improve development with PHP and Magento. In this article we explore the benefits of adopting RDE’s both as a merchant and an agency.

Here are some key benefits highlighted by agencies using RDE’s.

Faster Developer onboarding

For agencies working with multiple merchants, their developer team can support multiple projects much more quickly

Easily adopt ‘Infrastructure as Code’ 

A practice which facilitates alignment of development with production.

Developer multi-tasking

Far easier for a single developer to become productive on multiple projects simultaneously

Ops team enablement

With the right processes and automation, moving operational tasks away from developer responsibility, costs can be decreased and developers can enjoy more time writing code.

Better Product Owner engagement

Cloud dev instances mean you can build more effective communication streams with team members and stake-holders. Instances which are independent of a local developer mean they can pass through from Operations, development, acceptance and QA, all with frictionless iterations. This is an innovation-enabler and produces better output

Improve your ability to flex using cloud dev environments

We speak to a couple of dedicated Magento development companies about how they are adopting RDE’s and how this change will impact both their businesses and their clients. Developers coupled with their infrastructure means one track single track projects and tasks. Layering up your working day with multiple projects tasks as possible with decoupled infrastructure meaning individual staff members can become much more productive in their output because they are not waiting to move from project to project. Some of the cloud development RDE options currently available: - currently used by Adobe Commerce Cloud

So what do we mean by decouple?

It’s fair to say the Magento application stack is complex, and as those components evolve, then Magento merchants are ultimately responsible of the costs to manage this. When merchants wish to innovate with Magento, they must entrust a team to take care of this. The reduction of risk and cost ultimately comes from automation of the whole development lifecycle and this doesn’t just include a developer writing code. Local development of Magento usually has 2 key limitations. 1. Whilst local development might feel faster, a single workstation/laptop is usually geared only towards running 1 instance at a time, therefore the developer is closely ‘coupled’ to that instance. This limits the ability for a single developer to move easily to other projects, tasks, or in the case of agencies, to support other merchants. 2. When any support or development work takes place, this always involves more than 1 person from stakeholders to marketeers or quality assurance. Exacerbate this with the covid situation and the progression of teams scattered across the globe, then collaboration within the development lifecycle is hindered, as wider team cannot easily access working progress to keep a tight feedback loop. Once the concept of RDE in decoupling the development process from a single-track process to a multi-concurrent one, the extraction provides opportunities for productised workflow and automation around the mass production and replication of both development and production instances for Magento. MDOQ are one of the only companies currently focussed squarely on this. To date they have provided almost 15,000 replicated instances of Magento to facilitate both development and training with Magento. No other company has achieved this at scale for Magento Open Source.
If you have used any of the above or are interested in knowing more about how RDE’s can reduce costs and improve developer productivity please contact us for more information.