Deployment and CI/CD Process


DEV relies on GitHub and Travis to deploy continuously to Heroku. If a Pull Request is merged with a [deploy] in its title, it will be automatically deployed to production once the build steps complete successfully. The process currently takes about 20 minutes to complete and will need a few additional minutes before the change goes live.

Travis steps

The following steps can be explored in our .travis.yml and Procfile. Some of the steps will be parallelized in the future:

  1. Travis runs the test portion of Rails code.
  2. Travis runs the test portion of Preact code.
  3. CodeClimate-test-reporter combines the test result and coverage from Ruby and JavaScript code then uploads it to our CodeClimate dashboard.
  4. bundle-audit checks for any known vulnerability.
  5. Travis builds Storybook to ensure its integrity.
  6. Travis deploys code to Heroku.
    • Heroku runs the database migrations and Elasticsearch updates before deployment.
  7. Travis notifies the team that the process completed.

Deploying to Heroku

We use Heroku's Release Phase feature. Upon deploy, the app installs dependencies, bundles assets, and gets the app ready for launch. However, before it launches and releases the app Heroku runs a release script on a one-off dyno. If that release script/step succeeds the new app is released on all of the dynos. If that release script/step fails then the deploy is halted and we are notified.

The name of the script we use is and its in our root directory. During this release step we do a few checks.

  1. We first check the DEPLOYSTATUS environment variable. In the event that we want to prevent deploys, for example after a rollback, we will set DEPLOYSTATUS to "blocked". This will cause the release script to exit with a code of 1 which will halt the deploy. This ensures that we don't accidentally push out code while we are waiting for a fix or running other tasks.
  2. We run any outstanding migrations. This ensures that a migration finishes successfully before the code that uses it goes live.
  3. We run any data update scripts that need to be run. A data update script is one that allows us to update data in the background separate from a migration. For example, if we add a new field to Elasticsearch and need to reindex all of our documents we would use a data update script.
  4. We update Elasticsearch. Elasticsearch contains indexes which have mappings. Mappings are similar to database schema. The same way we run a migration to update our database we have to run a setup task to update any Elasticsearch mappings.
  5. Following updating all of our datastores we use the Rails runner to output a simple string. Executing a Rails runner command ensures that we can boot up the entire app successfully before it is deployed. We deploy asynchronously, so the website is running the new code a few minutes after deploy. A new instance of Heroku Rails console will immediately run a new code.