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Ask Slashdot: Should Developers Install Their Software Themselves? 288

Posted by samzenpus
from the hoisting-with-your-own-petard dept.
Paul Carver writes "Should developers be responsible for installing the software they develop into production environments? What about System Test environments? I'm not a developer and I'm not all that familiar with Agile or DevOps, but it seems unhealthy to me to have software installs done by developers. I think that properly developed software should come complete with installation instructions that can be followed by someone other than the person who wrote the code. I'd like to hear opinions from developers. Do you prefer a workplace where you hand off packaged software to other teams to deploy or do you prefer to personally install your software into System Test and then personally install it into production once the System Testers have certified it? For context, I'm talking about enterprise grade, Internet facing web services sold to end users as well as large companies on either credit card billing or contractual basis with service level agreements and 24x7 Operations support. I'm not talking about little one (wo)man shops and free or Google style years long beta services."
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Ask Slashdot: Should Developers Install Their Software Themselves?

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  • by AE90 (2737939) on Monday September 24, 2012 @11:10AM (#41437171)
    Developers should concentrate on creating software. There are already tons of tools that help with the install and configuration state of software. Use InstallShield and the various Visual Studio install and config helpers. Visual Studio itself has many debugger functions available, and there are tons of extra helper plugins if required.

    Developers should use those and make sure users can install their software themselves.
  • by macbeth66 (204889) on Monday September 24, 2012 @11:23AM (#41437381)

    ::Applause::

    Sorry, I just do not have the mod points at the moment.

    The exactly, correct response.

    As a developer, there is only so much I can do. And I really do not want calls in the middle of the night. If I can describe how to install my software to a production support team, then the software release isn't ready for production.

  • by punker (320575) on Monday September 24, 2012 @11:52AM (#41437897)

    I completely disagree. Developers should absolutely be involved with software installs. Rarely should they have the final say, but both operations and development staff benefit from working together on software installs.

    The best example I can give for this is database installs. Working with the operations staff on installs helps developers better understand engine performance. They learn about things like prepared queries, connection pools, what tables remain paged into memory, etc. These are things that help the developers write better code. Similarly, the operations staff can learn what the application focuses are. They can optimize performance through VM provisioning, tablespace layout, memory pool size, etc. They can also understand the usage goals better, which lets them keep developers informed of important changes.

    I've been running IT departments for over 10 years, and my experience has shown me that there is a definite benefit to having development and ops work together on installs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2012 @11:53AM (#41437915)

    It sounds like you're putting the blame/responsibility on the developer for determining what versions of what underlying software is installed. Isn't that what the dev & prod build guys are for?

    The developer should be developing. Not testing. That's QA/production.

  • by Imagix (695350) on Monday September 24, 2012 @12:09PM (#41438193)
    Getting a developer to see the installation process is not the same as having the developer do the install as a matter of course. One is a debugging process, the other is development. If Dev and Prod aren't identical, then their Configuration Management team has failed. They need to learn that Test (and to an extent Dev) are just as important as Prod.
  • by SQLGuru (980662) on Monday September 24, 2012 @01:16PM (#41439365) Journal

    One nice thing about virtualization. It's a lot easier to take a copy of a VM and spin it up somewhere so that the configuration *IS* the same and you can debug something without affecting the live systems. (Ok, technically there is a delta -- security permissions -- but that's the only thing that should be different, although it does sometimes make a difference.)

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