For most developers, setting up a production environment for a web application is not a pleasant experience. Morfik believes that deployment is an integral part of application development and as such it should be made easy so that it can be handled by developers without the need to involve IT support staff. To this end, Morfik has developed a new deployment platform that integrates the process of deployment into the general process of software development.
How to run your application on the Morfik deployment platform
There are 3 simple steps involved in launching an application on Morfik’s deployment platform:
- Installing Morfik Auto Deployment Software on your server.
- Registering/Activating your server.
- Launching your applications using the auto-deployment wizard
Once launched, an application will run under the following system domain name until a permanent domain name is supplied.
[application sub-domain].[developer unique space name].morfikspace.com Upon first deployment, every developer is asked to choose a ‘developer unique space name’. This only happens once and once set cannot be changed. Every application has its own sub-domain which needs to be supplied at the time of deployment.
Getting Space Allocation
The Morfik deployment platform is available to anyone who would like to experience it firsthand. Using Morfik’s demo version (or the full version) one can launch an application without the need to first subscribe or purchase space. The only requirement is to hold a valid Morfik account which can easily be created by visiting this page. The registration is very brief and only requires a valid email address.
Morfik DAS (Deployment Automation Service/Software) require subscription to MDA (Morfik Developer Assist).
Types of Deployment
Demonstration Mode – The purpose of this type of deployment is to provide quick access to the Morfik deployment platform for evaluation purposes. The deployment spaces that are used for this purpose are temporary in nature and are frequently recycled. No provision for backup or security is provided for this type of deployment.
Development Mode – This type of deployment mode is designed to assist developers during the development cycle. This deployment mode offers a permanent space without backup or assignment of a secondary domain name (your own domain name).
Production Mode – This mode is suitable for running business-quality sites and benefit from all available features of the Morfik deployment platform including backup and secondary domain name.
Launching your application using the auto-deployment wizard
Morfik IDE provides a special wizard that makes the process of launching and updating an application on the Morfik deployment platform an easy and pleasant experience. While a project is open in Morfik the auto-deployment wizard can be invoked by clicking on the “Deploy” command located on the Ribbon Home tab. (See Figure 1 Deployment Wizard)
|Figure 1: Deployment Wizard|
Wizard Login Page - The first page of the wizard asks for the developer’s Morfik account username and password (See Figure 2 Deployment Wizard Login Page). This is the same username and password that is used when accessing various services on the Morfik website. The username is usually the email address provided during registration. If a password is forgotten, it can be retrieved by visiting the Morfik site and attempting to login. Then choosing “forgotten password” will result in a new password being sent to the user’s email address.
|Figure 2: Deployment Wizard Login Page|
After entering a valid username and password and then clicking the Next button, the user is authenticated and various deployment options are retrieved for that user account. Please note that ticking the “Remember password” check box will cause the wizard to save the supplied username and password in a Morfik local configuration file. Although encrypted, anyone with access to the machine will be able to run Morfik software and use the same credentials for gaining access to the deployed applications or using available spaces.
Deployment Action Page - This page of the wizard is used to indicate the required deployment action. The possible actions that can be selected are:
|Figure 3: Deployment Wizard Action Page|
Launch a New Site – this action compiles your application first and then attempts to allocate space. If successful, it then uploads a copy of the application’s image to the server for installation and subsequent launch. Depending on the size of the project this option might take a few minutes to complete.
Update an Existing Site – If a project is already deployed, choosing this option will update the live site. The update process is fast as only the changes since last deployment are transferred to the server and applied. It is important to note that while the database metadata changes are applied to the live site through this process, at this stage the data in the local project is not uploaded or synchronised with the live data. Should this be required one needs to make a local backup of the live site (See Make Local Backup later in this section) then merge the data locally, close down the site and finally re-launch the project.
Close Down a Site – If a site is no longer required to be available online, choosing this option will close down the site.
View Log File – All log files associated with a site can be viewed and selectively downloaded.
Make Local Backup – A backup of the site is created and downloaded to the local machine. (Only available in production deployment mode)
Add/Remove Domain Names – provides a way for a developer to define additional domain names.
Share with another developer – This option will provide the ability to share access to a launched site with another Morfik developer (must have a Morfik account). The only information required is the username of the Morfik developer with whom the site access is to be shared. Anyone with shared access can perform most operations described in this section, except for closing down a site.
Select Target Server Page – this page provides available options for a new deployment
Target Server – describes the target server for deployment. Normally MorfikSpace Servers is the only option that appears in this combobox. However, there will be additional entries for every dedicated server that is assigned to the account that is currently being used.
|Figure 4: Select Target Server Page|
Server Location - the target region for the server that will be used for deployment. This option is only available for MorfikSpace Servers. Currently the only operational region that will appear in this combo-box is North American. However, this service will be available in Europe and Asia regions sometime soon and as soon as they become available they will automatically appear in this combobox.
Deployment mode –the required deployment mode as described earlier in this section.
Server Grades – the required quality of space that will be allocated for running this application. This option is only available when the “production” deployment mode is selected.
MorfikSpace Domain Name Page – this page will prompt for a MorfikSpace sub-domain name for the application, and, additionally for the developer, a unique space name (if not previously set). Usually the name of the project will appear as a suggestion for “Application Sub-domain” choice. This can be changed to any valid sub-domain name; however it is recommended that the project name is used for the application sub-domain name.
|Figure 5: Choose Morfik Space Sub-domain Name Page|
If this is the first time the deployment wizard is used for a given account, the developer must enter a sub-domain name in the “Your Unique Morfikspace Name” edit box. This name has to be unique amongst all sub-domains immediately below the MorfikSpace domain. If the name already exists, the system will notify the user and ask for a different name to be entered.
It is highly recommended to choose a unique “Description” for every new deployment as it will be used as a reference for this site. A good description will help with identifying the Target Sites, particularly when a large number of sites are deployed.
Select Target Site Page - this page will list all available sites that have been previously deployed with the same project name. If the “Show All Site” option is checked all sites previously deployed, regardless of whether they are associated with the current project or not, will be displayed in the combo-box.
|Figure 6: Select Target Site Page|
View Log Files Page - this page will allow a developer to select a target site and then view its associated log files (See Figure 7 Access Log Files Page). XApp logs are particularly useful for
debugging purposes as all LogFile.Add(‘debug info’); calls are recorded in this file. Another very useful feature is the stack dump of any crash that might occur when the application is deployed. If a crash has occurred, provided that the debug info is available in the local project folder, the log file will be processed and the stack dumps will be converted to display original function identifiers used in the code.
|Figure 7: Access Log Files Page|
Make Local Backup Page – this page provides the ability to create a complete backup of the running site and then downloads it to the local machine. The downloaded file can be unzipped using a standard zip utility. This option is only available in the production deployment mode.
|Figure 8: Local Backup Page|
Add/Remove Domain Names Page – this page provides the option to add or remove additional domain names for the selected site. The new domain names must already be delegated to a DNS server before they can take effect. Adding the same domain name to more than one site can cause the sites with the same domain name to malfunction.
|Figure 9: Site Domain Names Page|
Share With Another Developer - This page shows the list of Morfik developers that currently have access to this site.
|Figure 10: Wizard Share Page|
Wizard’s last Page - On the last page of the wizard, the user is presented with a summary of the information obtained by the deployment-wizard and a “Start” button to begin the actual process of deployment. After clicking on the Start button, the user can see the steps that are involved, with live feedback being provided as the wizard performs various tasks.
|Figure 11: Finish Page|
- Morfik applications deployment overview
- Windows deployment
- Linux deployment
- Deployment Automation Services