What you need to know about Magento DevBox Beta

January 31, 2017 by Leah Na'aman

There has been significant buzz in the Magento community about a new product that could make developers’ lives much easier. The company released a statement during January, announcing the launch of Magento DevBox Beta – a new development environment option that will speed up the developing process.

It’s still relatively new, so we’re examining the product today to help you decide whether or not it’s for you…

What is Magento DevBox Beta

As we said, at its most basic level, it’s a new development environment option. It allows developers to set up all the software they need to start developing. It also fast-tracks the diagnosis process for any emerging issues, as well as the resolution process.

The new program has been built using Docker: “an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship, and run distributed applications.” In this case, Docker automates the launch of your application inside software containers, which include everything your application needs to run.

It’s important to note that it’s suitable for use in development only and not production.

What are the benefits of the new development environment?

The big benefit is a much quicker set-up process that is also much easier for developers to manage. This will be especially welcome among Magento 2 users.

You no longer have to install an operating system, PHP, web server or other components separately. Using Magento DevBox Beta, with just one command, you can deploy and install the Magento 2 software along with all development environment components.

The use of Docker in building the program means it’s easier to install multiple development environments with different versions. It is also possible to start and stop the process for the project you’re working in, for example, if you need to reduce memory consumption.

Another interesting benefit to this new release is community consistency. While this factor may not have an immediate direct benefit to anyone that uses the new program now, it will down the line.

As it becomes the default option among developers, it creates cohesion in the Magento community. This means more troubleshooting solutions available from other developers for you to turn to when experiencing issues. It also means that both Magento and the community will be working to improve this development environment further.

Who should be using Magento DevBox Beta?

The container is available on both Windows and Mac and includes both web and MySQL database servers.

It is possible to include Varnish page cache and Redis data cache servers (both of which will improve your eCommerce store’s performance) as well as RabbitMQ message queries and Elasticsearch. It’s also a universal option, as Magento DevBox Beta can be run on both Community Edition and Enterprise Edition.

But should you use it?

Well, Magento DevBox will become Magento’s go-to recommendation moving forward, so it has official backing. This makes is a great option if you’re starting from scratch or know very little about development environments; however, if you already have a preferred option, there’s no real reason to suddenly switch to Magento DevBox.

Speaking about the motivation behind the new product, Magento guru, Alan Kent, says:

“As the sophistication of Magento has increased (compared to Magento 1), the number of technologies needed has also increased. We have not found an existing MAMP or WAMP like installation with the right set of tools to make local installation of such tools easy.”

This basically means that Magento DevBox is a straightforward option that gets anyone unfamiliar with Magento 2 where they need to go with minimum fuss.

If you’ve already worked out a system for installing and developing Magento 2 that you’re comfortable with, keep doing what you’re doing – it’s probably second nature by now. But if you’re new or haven’t found a smooth development method yet, Magento DevBox Beta could be what you’re looking for.

Are there any issues with it?

Like any new developments, there are going to be a few kinks to iron out. If you’ve been in the Magento community for more than a few years, you’ll remember the delays encountered just trying to launch Magento 2. Then, once the new platform went live, developers and retailers hit other bumps during the initial stages.

Magento DevBox Beta has experienced a couple of issues, most of which include the use of Docker. The file-sharing approach experienced some performance problems on Mac, but these have been smoothed out with the use of Unison. This allows developers to synchronize files between the web server and mounted directories.

Windows users have also had some difficulty, as Docker’s native file system isn’t supporting ‘inotify’ events. There have also been some issues with permissions for new files. In this case, Unify can be used to synchronize the container and native Windows file system and has proven the most effective option so far.

As it is still in the Beta stage, there’s a possibility you might be affected by underlying problems. If you do encounter any issues when using it, you can report them on GitHub.

How to set up Magento DevBox Beta

You can access Magento DevBox on Magento’s Tech Resources page, where you’ll also find the necessary documentation.

Conclusion

While Magento 2 has a lot of great features, there have been grumbles among developer about the set-up process. With Magento DevBox Beta, installation has been significantly simplified and is also easier for newbies to get to grips with.

We’d love to hear your firsthand experience with Magento’s new development environment, so get in touch and tell us what you think!

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