Deployment hell

deployment hell

It was again Wednesday, the first day after our bi-weekly release day. Everything was tested. Some of the new features even were automatically tested this time. All regression tests passed on the first run. And even our beta tester sent positive signals. Summarized: we were positive, that the new version will be a great success and we can concentrate on the next version. Our customer service made the new version yesterday afternoon public and sent shortly after notifications to our clients.

But this time all went wrong. On early afternoon one of our customers who was hard waiting for a new feature, upgraded our application but on his test environment, the browsers only showed the yellow screen of death. The next day other clients had same or similar issues. Some other upgrades run without problems. What happened? An overlooked bug? An incompatibility?

Nothing. The new version simply required a manual modification in our configuration file. Some of our clients added invalid values, resulting in error logs and the new feature not starting. Some of our clients added invalid values, corrupting the XML file format, resulting in a crash of our application.

The situation was demotivating. It happened not the first time and also when we tried in the past to document the setup process, the problems did not disappear.

So, it was clear to me, that I must either write a small UI to allow our clients to configure the settings in a more secure way or buy a tool for this. Solution 1 was not possible, because the project was already behind schedule and too expensive and believe it or not, I did not find any good tool.

That’s why, I decided to solve this problem myself. And that’s how GeCo Configuration Builder was born. A UI tool that allows the configuration of software files, makes the step for clients comfortable and failure prove. And makes the setup for developers easy. Today we proudly present version 1. Download GeCo Configurator and use it; tell us what features are missing; and recommend it, when you like it.