eZ Launchpad: Making it Easy to Get Started with eZ Platform

When it comes to developer experience, the most important factor in evaluating and learning new technologies is: time to first success. In the CMS world, the first success happens when you get your development environment working and able to create content in the back-office and view it in the front. eZ Launchpad is one of the solutions for making this time as short as possible. Installing and configuring a complete stack for eZ Platform can be challenging and time-consuming if you have not done it many times. With eZ Launchpad you can get this stack up and running, and ready for real development in just a few minutes.

Introducing eZ Launchpad

At the beginning of this year we started working to see how we could boost the process of spinning up a new complete environment for eZ Platform. And not just as a demo or a test, but as a real environment ready to be used by a development team for real projects.

The goals we wanted to solve were mainly:

  • Initialize a new development environment close to the production architecture using containers (including Solr, Varnish)
  • Clone this environment for multiple developers to join
  • Leverage Git and Github team collaboration capabilities

With eZ Launchpad, you get to work locally with an exact duplicate of a real production environment . It makes it easy to replicate this environment for all developers in your team, with the exact same libraries and dependencies. By having all required dependencies, libraries and configurations, eZ Launchpad removes much of the hassle of making the local developer environment,, which consequently allows you to focus on actual development instead.

Future goals include:

  • Deployment on IaaS services like AWS or PaaS services like Platform.sh

We teamed up with Sebastien Morel at Novactive US who has experience in using Docker and has a scripted approach to ease the entry to the world of containerized development environments.

Note on host environments: eZ Launchpad is currently tested on Mac and Linux.

Launch your own project now: it takes 5 minutes

eZ Launchpad is already available for you to play with (in beta). It is easy to install and initialize your first project, just watch the video below to get a quick introduction:

eZ Launchpad does not stop at the installation/replication process of eZ Platform. It makes it easy to work with containers and gives you simple ways to do much of the common day-to-day tasks like:

  • Start stop build up
  • Visualize logs for each service
  • Run commands in containers (proxy to app/console and composer)

Also, (and as wished by many of you) it is providing tools like Mailcatcher, Adminer, Memcache/Redis Admin Blackfire (soon), which allow you to have a comfortable development environment.

Open source

eZ Launchpad will only succeed if we start getting traction in real projects, so we have built it as a truly open source project. We would love to collaborate with you to make sure it works for your project and we would really love you to contribute to it.

We are open for pull requests!

Next steps: deployment

For now, the setup is made for development environments. But we are also looking to make it easier to deploy on Platform.sh or AWS and probably other platforms (plugins for deployment anyone?).

The concept is to use Docker locally and deploy to somewhere else. Platform.sh is a clear candidate but of course, if you want to deploy somewhere else there are no limitation.

Feedback welcomed

Is this project something that potentially can help you in your projects? Try to spin up a couple of projects and let us know your thoughts.

We have opened a new slack room specifically to discuss this project , feel free to join (here if you are not yet in)

If you are going to eZ Conference, please don’t miss a chance to ping me or to pop up at the eZ Dev Bar to discuss the topic or see it in action!

ez launchpad help screen

Bård Farstad
Chief of Strategy and Co-Founder - eZ Systems
Bård started eZ in 1999 with his brother Aleksander, and led product development and engineering during the company’s first ten years in the Web Content Management market. Bård designed eZ’s content repository and established eZ’s fast-growing business in North America. Today, he collaborates with eZ’s largest clients to understand their business needs and identify opportunities for digital success using eZ software.

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