One of the biggest values of the Pantheon platform is our development cycle workflow. Once you get it, you don't want to go back. But for developers or others unfamiliar with the concept of Dev, Test, and Live, we've made this nice infographic:
The Development Cycle is our best practice way to win workflow. It makes sure you can continually innovate on live sites without bringing them down or introducing bugs.
Every site on Pantheon gets (at least) three totally distinct environment: Dev, Test, and Live. These environments are all on the Pantheon platform, and all behave the same. The big idea is that code moves in one way (from Dev to Test to Live), while content goes in the opposite direction. This helps you keeps things clear and lets every part of your web team have a place to work.
In practice there are six steps:
1) Stay in Sync: great development starts with the whole team being on the same page. Pulling content from the Live environment and syncing version control ensures the team is working against an accurate target.
2) Use a Development Environment: development should happen in a dedicated environment, ideally one for each developer, that's separated from any approval/review process, and definitely not the live site.
3) Continous Integration: the Test environment brings together the latest code work from Dev with up-to-the-minute content from Live. This creates a picture-perfect preview of what a deploy will look like.
4) QA and Review: now you can do review and QA with complete confidence, in a Test environment that's not getting changes from content editors or developers. If it's not working, go back and fix it in Dev. If it is working as expected, you can deploy to Live with no surprises.
5) Launch: just like all the previous steps, the workflow operations are all handled in software. Even if your site is scaled out to handle millions of visitors, it's a button click to release an update.
6) Run the Site: the Live environment gets another flawless update, and your content editors (or contributing users) are never interrupted by the need to freeze for a deploy, or by unexpected "surprises". They go on creating content, and the cycle begins again with developers syncing back to start work on the next set of features.
Download and Share the infographic now:: Development, Education