Artsy practices a sort of continuous delivery. We keep release cycles short and the process of reviewing, testing, and deploying our software as reliable, fast, and automated as possible. (This blog has touched on these practices multiple times.)

Usually, commits that have been reviewed and merged are immediately built and tested. Successfully built versions of the codebase are often automatically deployed to a staging environment. On an automated or frequent-but-manual basis, that version is deployed to a production environment. Thus, commits form a pipeline:

  • From developers’ working branches
  • To the master branch
  • Through a hopefully-successful build
  • To a staging environment
  • To production

The number of apps and services we deploy has grown to dozens per team, so sometimes things fall through the cracks. We’ve been using Releasecop for the last few months to get gentle email reminders when an environment could use a deploy.

gem install releasecop
releasecop edit

This opens a manifest file where you can describe the sequence of git remotes and branches that make up your own release pipeline. For example:

  "projects": {
    "charge": [
      { "name": "master", "git": "" },
      { "name": "staging", "git": "" },
      { "name": "production", "git": "" }
    "gravity": [
      { "name": "master", "git": "" },
      { "name": "master-succeeded", "git": "", "branch": "master-succeeded" },
      { "name": "staging", "git": "", "branch": "staging" },
      { "name": "production", "git": "", "branch": "production" }

The charge app is a typical deployment to Heroku. Work progresses from the master branch to a charge-staging app to a charge-production app. The gravity app is a more complicated, non-Heroku deployment. It updates git branches to reflect what has been merged (master), tested (master-succeeded), deployed to staging, and deployed to production.

Run the releasecop check [app] command to report the status of your apps’ releases:

$ releasecop check --all
  staging is up-to-date with master
  production is up-to-date with staging
  master-succeeded is up-to-date with master
  staging is up-to-date with master-succeeded
  production is behind staging by:
    06ca969 2015-09-04 [config] Replace Apple Push Notification certificates that expire today. (Eloy Durán)
    171121f 2015-09-03 Admin-only API for cancelling a bid (Matthew Zikherman)
    4c5feea 2015-09-02 install mongodb client in Docker so that import rake tasks can run (Barry Hoggard)
    95347d1 2015-08-31 Update to delayed_job cookbook that works with Chef 11.10 (Joey Aghion)
2 project(s) checked. 1 environment(s) out-of-date.

A nightly Jenkins job emails us the results, but a cron job could work equally well.

Releasecop reminds us to deploy ready commits and close the loop on in-progress work. We hope you find it useful. (Pull requests are welcome!)

Categories: Continuous Deployment, Continuous Integration, OSS, Ruby, devops, open source, testing, tools