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November 23, 2016

Announcing Docksal, a Docker-Based Development Environment

Thought by David Hernandez, Manager of Learning and Contributions
Black and white image of Docksal site on a laptop

At FFW, 90% of our staff spends all day, every day, working with code. We’re site builders and developers, and we’ve created a number of tools to help make our jobs easier. Today, we’re excited to share our Docksal development environment with you in the hopes that it will make your team’s life easier, too.

Docksal is an open-source tool created by FFW for defining and managing development environments. It brings together common development tools, minimizes time spent on configuration, and ensures the consistency of local development environments throughout a team’s continuous integration workflow.

Docksal automatically configures each project's environment to ensure team members are using the same tools, and versions, regardless of the individual requirements of each project. Most importantly, it makes the entire process easy. Docksal offers fully containerized environments with Docker, provides cross-platform support (MacOS, Windows, and Linux,) and has built-in tools that include:

  • drush
  • Drupal Console
  • WP-CLI
  • composer
  • PHP Code Sniffer
  • Apache Solr
  • Varnish
  • Memcache
  • Built-in testing support with Behat and Selenium.

Docksal will even automatically configure virtual hosts for you, so no more editing host files and server configurations.

How can Docksal help your organization?

Docksal has a threefold value proposition. It improves time-to-market and quality on development projects through:

  1. Bringing together common development tools on a unified platform
  2. Minimizing time spent configuring development environments
  3. Assuring quality by ensuring that local environments are consistent across a team’s continuous integration and development workflow.

Docksal makes it easy to bring new team members onto projects in no time flat: the software allows them to get set up and running easily and quickly. We built Docksal to streamline the process of adding team members to our projects: previously, they’d have to go find the code for the project, get it set up on their laptop, get it to work with everything on their laptop, perform a database dump, get the site running. We wanted to simplify this process.

Docksal reduces the work of several hours to several minutes. Our developers don’t have to waste time figuring out why the code isn’t working with the configurations they have on their computers, and our teammates who aren’t code-oriented don’t spend frustrating hours trying to simply access the project. With Docksal, anyone can get a specific Drupal environment set up and running on their machine in two minutes -- and everyone is running the same environment, which acts as an important check on quality and consistency.

Our suite of development tools

Docksal’s features may sound familiar to those of you who previously used our Drude tool. That’s because Docksal is Drude renamed and expanded. Docksal doesn’t just work with Drupal: it works with WordPress, stand-alone HTML files, or any other PHP project— because even though we all love Drupal, sometimes we have to work with other technologies, too.

In addition to Docksal, we’ve also created another development tool called CIBox. CIBox (Continuous Integration toolbox) is a development workflow tool that simplifies the process of checking changes to each project’s codebase. CIBox uses continuous integration -- the process of immediately testing new code when it’s contributed to a project -- to support a truly Agile development process.

CIBox allows developers to have an unlimited number of testing environments, deployment plans, and additional automations. It supports a continuous integration server dedicated to running site builds and tests, as well as a toolbox of scripts for Code Driven Development with Drupal, Wordpress, Symfony, Sylex support. It offers deployment plans and skeletons, and an improved QA workflow from most CI tools. Stay tuned for an upcoming blogpost that speaks to CI Box in more detail.

Try the software for yourself

Docksal and CIBox are both great tools for building projects and managing development environments. Both have saved us a lot of time and ensured that we have streamlined, quality-focused processes.. To get Docksal for yourself, visit docksal.io for downloads and more information, or to try CIBox, check here.  We hope that you give them a try — we think they’ll make your life better, too.

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