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Many pro­to­cols are avail­able at always­da­ta for access­ing your accounts remote­ly: SSH, FTP, WebDAV, etc. However, it seems that deploy­ing an app in pro­duc­tion suf­fers from a lack of flex­i­bil­i­ty. So, we decid­ed to take care of that.

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Please, alwaysdata, tell us about deployment again!

Some things are sim­pler than oth­ers for a devel­op­er. Unfortunately, deploy­ment isn’t one of those sim­ple things, being stuck between lega­cy FTP deliv­ery, file copy over SFTP, patch release remote­ly, etc. Each project has its con­straints and choices.

Solutions like Heroku learned ear­ly on that the one who pro­duces the code should­n’t have to take care of the deploy­ment process­es. The one pro­duc­ing the code just has to stay focused on their job: pro­duc­ing good code. However, not every­body has a DevOp avail­able to release the last pro­duc­tion build. In this sit­u­a­tion, you only have the option of doing it yourself.

Because always­da­ta is designed by devel­op­ers, we took some time to brain­storm about the best way to deploy in pro­duc­tion. We’ve got some ideas for an inte­grat­ed tool that will allow you to deploy auto­mat­i­cal­ly, but our pri­or­i­ty goes to oth­er tech­nolo­gies like HTTP/2.

So, we want to give you a solu­tion that makes your life eas­i­er. Like you, we pre­fer to deliv­er our code in one sin­gle com­mand in our ter­mi­nal. So, we took a look at how to deploy using Git.

Git push. Period.

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Here is our pro­pos­al, which is based on anoth­er solu­tion that uses con­tain­ers: Simply git push your pro­duc­tion branch, and it’s done.

TL;DR: If you want to under­stand how it works (because you’re curi­ous), con­tin­ue read­ing. If you just want to use it, you can go to our GitHub repos­i­to­ry always­data/au­tode­ploy-git-hook where a short README will guide you through the con­fig­u­ra­tion process.

Let’s dive in. You will need:

  • a SSH access to set it
  • your code­base ver­sioned using Git
  • known git-hooks prin­ci­ples (but we will explain them later)
  • eggs, flour, milk

On the Server-side

Let’s begin by cre­at­ing a repos­i­to­ry in your always­da­ta account (feel free to adapt paths; noth­ing here is mandatory):

We cre­ate it bare fla­vor. This means it will con­tain only the con­fig and ver­sion­ing parts. We don’t need more here for deployment.

Then, we will cre­ate a script for the post-receive hook. Like its name sug­gests, it will han­dle the push action to the repos­i­to­ry and will be exe­cut­ed right after by tak­ing a ref­er­ence to the pushed branch. We will use it to test the branch (name­ly a production branch) and deploy its con­tent to a direc­to­ry that con­tains the code­base served by our Apache instance. On your serv­er, cre­ate a file named ~/my-project.git/hooks/post-receive with the fol­low­ing content:

We need to test whether the pushed branch is the production one and then check­out its con­tent to the ~/www/my-project direc­to­ry (the path you defined in your cock­pit’s web­site set­tings sec­tion), which con­tains the code­base served by your HTTP server.

Don’t for­get to make the script exe­cutable with chmod +x ~/my-project.git/hooks/post-receive.

On the Local-side

Back to your local repos­i­to­ry in your devel­op­ment device. Go to your project direc­to­ry, and add the always­da­ta deploy repository:

It’s done! You now just need to push your production branch to the deploy remote, and deploy­ment will be finished:

On your production branch, you just have to merge the ver­sion that you want to deploy, and push it to the deploy remote. That’s all.

Cool, but I don’t only deploy static files

You’re right. We just take a sim­ple use-case, and we know that you often need to do more things when deploying.

You prob­a­bly want to restart your Apache instance to take changes into account. For this use-case, sim­ply add this instruc­tion to the post-receive script, just after the git checkout branch:

It per­forms a cURL request that will call the always­da­ta API, using your API key, your account name, and the site ID you want to per­form an action on; it also restarts the instance transparently.

Here again, noth­ing more to do than push­ing your production branch.


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Want more? Alright!

You prob­a­bly need more things to auto­mate your whole release process. So we open-sourced the code for this hook to the always­data/au­tode­ploy-git-hook GitHub repos­i­to­ry. The script is con­fig­urable using shell vari­ables at the top of the file. You just have to make small changes to adapt it to your workflow.

We are aware that this script is far from being com­plete. You prob­a­bly have some migra­tions to do on your data­bas­es or some sta­t­ic files gen­er­a­tion to per­form when you update your app. Give us some feed­back at issues or sub­mit pull-requests so we can improve it together.

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