When and Why You Should Use a Reproducible Development Environment

A career in programming can be demanding, with professionals expected to work long hours, meet strict deadlines and stay updated with the constantly evolving technology landscape. Additionally, they need to proficiently operate within diverse development environments.

Mastering several programming languages, like Java, JavaScript, Python and PHP, can be a time-consuming and challenging task for a team of engineers. That’s why working in an environment that’s replicable is crucial for programmers. One may wonder, “What are repeatable development environments, and how can they benefit my developers?”

Let us delve deeper into this matter.

Elaborate on the Idea of a Repeatable Development Environment.

Consider a scenario where you want to create a tailored environment to optimise the use of your tools. You may be able to achieve this using a combination of three electronic devices, such as two laptops, a desktop and a tablet. While this is an excellent solution, what if one of these devices malfunctions? Should you delete everything and reinstall the operating system if you need to start from scratch?

Achieving this objective demands a considerable amount of effort. Moreover, it is an unreliable solution that lacks quality. How can one be sure about which programs are necessary to meet the job requirements?

A much easier alternative is available.

Virtual Machines (VMs) and containerization software enable us to create tailor-made development environments with essential components, such as the operating system, applications, programming languages, frameworks, and libraries to accomplish a specific task. These environments are deployable on demand. If properly constructed, a base environment is always available to reset your system without the need for reinstalling the fundamental components.

As discussed earlier, virtual machines and containers simplify the process of creating repeatable development environments. With the former, a virtual computer is built, configured with an operating system and other software, then customized to function optimally. When a new virtual machine copy is required, it is duplicated and subsequently activated.

A quick application development framework.

The same applies to storage containers, except that your developers need to be knowledgeable about containers and how to establish an environment that is containerized, hence, could be easily set up and utilised. This challenge should be easily manageable for most programmers.

Python‘s virtualenv is a useful utility for building reusable development environments, particularly for rapidly establishing segregated Python environments. However, this capability is not supported by every programming language.

Characteristics of Repeatable Development Environments

The advantages of having well-organized development environments are not numerous, yet they are essential for enterprises to stay competitive.


The major advantage of employing virtual machines is the significant reduction in time and effort. Instead of implementing new laptops or desktops for developers to operate on, you can now easily copy and start a virtual machine, which only takes minutes (or even seconds) compared to the hours it used to take.

This process would enable your team’s programmers to devote their time and effort to developing valuable software, rather than expending their resources on the infrastructure necessary for their job.


This solution presents considerable cost reductions in comparison to traditional computers and containers. Moreover, virtual machines and containers are portable, enabling flexible deployment. This indicates that your developers can effortlessly link to a server remotely from home and establish their environment rapidly, allowing them to work deep into the night.

Reliability and Predictability

In this ever-changing landscape, reliability is crucial. Your team of developers will gain from the confidence of uniformity when they can effortlessly start a new development environment each time. This eradicates the requirement for customization and configuration, enabling them to set up a dependable environment with the full assurance that it will function as anticipated.

This reliability provides a specific level of certainty. Programmers can have faith that their work will be productive in a foreseeable environment. There is no uncertainty; they are confident that their projects will run correctly and that they will be able to avail themselves of all the relevant resources, including any possible Integrated Development Environment (IDE), programming language, library or framework.

The programming community placed huge importance on stability and predictability.

Mistakes Will Be Less Expensive

A recurrent error in the development environment can be corrected promptly by launching a new instance. This guarantees that any potential disturbance to the environment is prevented, and the necessity of making any repairs is eliminated.

Therefore, the cost of committing an error is greatly decreased.

Virtual machines show exceptional performance in this aspect. The VM allows developers to take snapshots, providing the ability to revert to a prior save point in case of any issues, thus enabling them to continue work from that point.

Instant Access to Repositories

Make certain that access to the repositories is integrated into your repetitive development environments from the beginning. If your team’s repositories are already established on GitHub, GitLab or internally, your engineers can begin downloading code and making contributions right away.

What a productive outcome!


If your programmers face regular challenges meeting deadlines due to the time-consuming process of creating and tearing down development environments, it may be advantageous to execute a system that simplifies this process. This will not only rescue time but also save money by facilitating faster iteration.

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