Production Doesn't Have to Be a Big Deal

Deploying to production for the first time can feel completely overwhelming.

You’re leaving behind the cozy comfort of your development environment, and are sending your little web app off into the unknown.

And then there’s that nagging feeling that you’re missing something very important.

After all, production is that special place, where everything needs to be perfect. You have to do everything the right way or else.

I don’t think that production has to be a big deal. Let’s see if it looks less scary once we shine a bright light on it.

Production isn’t magical

Production is where your app is used by users for the purpose it was built for. That’s really it.

Does your app contribute to getting business done? Congratulations, you’re in production.

Where is the mystery?

“Production” as a term is completely stuffed with unspoken assumptions and poorly defined requirements.

There is no one-size fits all.

Production is slightly different for everybody. Some people need their app to scale, other need it to be highly available. Their requirements are not necessarily yours.

Production is about serving your users well and helping them get their work done. It’s also about making life easier for the people who develop the app and those who keep it running.

You have to work out your own goals, based on what you really need.

What DO you need?

There’s a huge difference between doing the bare minimum and doing a great job. Once your users can use your app at all, you are in production. Now it’s time to see how you can make everybody’s life better, step by step.

The definition of “a great job” is entirely up to you, and not up to what other people think “production” should mean.

What risks can you live with, and what requirements are really important? What can you do to make sure:

  • Your app is secure
  • Your users can reach your app when they need it
  • Your users can rely on your app
  • Your users’ data is safe
  • You can deploy updates
  • You can investigate issues
  • You can perform routine maintenance
  • You can have peace of mind

All of those requirements aren’t fixed. There are different answers for different people and projects. It’s about your users and you.

Decide on what’s important for you right now. See what you can do to make your current setup better.

Production doesn’t need to be a big deal

It’s there to serve your users. It should not feel like an endlessly tedious chore for you. Start with the bare minimum, and improve the parts which you actually need. That’s really all there is to it.