Development Environment

What Does Development Environment Mean?

A development environment is a collection of procedures and tools for developing, testing and debugging an application or program.


The development environment normally has three server tiers, called development, staging and production. All three tiers together are usually referred to as the DSP.

  • Development Server: Here is where the developer tests code and checks whether the application runs successfully with that code. Once the application has been tested and the developer feels that the code is working fine, the application then moves to the staging server.
  • Staging Server:This environment is made to look exactly like the production server environment. The application is tested on the staging server to check for reliability and to make sure it does not fail on the actual production server. This type of testing on the staging server is the final step before the application could be deployed on a production server. The application needs to be approved in order to deploy it on the production server.
  • Production Server: Once the approval is done, the application then becomes a part of this server.

Techopedia Explains Development Environment

In software development, the development environment is a set of processes and tools that are used to develop a source code or program.

This term is sometimes used synonymously with integrated development environment (IDE), which is the software development tool used to write, build, test and debug a program. They also provide developers with a common user interface (UI) to develop and debug in different modes. Generally speaking, the term development environment would refer to the entire environment, including development, staging, and production servers, whereas the IDE just refers to the local application used to code. Of course, there is much overlap as you use an IDE for debugging just as you use a development server to test.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.