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Last week, Konstantin Kovshenin launched Cell, a CLI tool for deploying WordPress applications on the DigitalOcean cloud. The project is free to use and open source. However, they have plans for an enhanced premium experience down the road.
Kovshenin cited speed and efficiency as the two primary reasons developers should try out their new tools. “You don’t need to wander around the web UI to launch a new server and install WordPress. you’re just sail init. You don’t need to open your SFTP GUI client to upload changes to your application. you’re just sail deploy“
He also said that because it is a simple CLI, it will integrate well with existing developer tools and services such as Gulp, Webpack, GitHub Actions, and more.
“I’m a DIY guy when it comes to WordPress hosting, so I like to get my hands dirty with the servers, code, configuration, and everything else,” Kovshenin wrote in the announcement post. “I’ve been using the virtual servers at DigitalOcean for small WordPress projects for a very long time, and it’s great, and very affordable too.”
He was annoyed with routine maintenance and configuring servers for new projects. This made him write several scripts to handle each piece of it over the years. Over the past few months, he cleaned them up and packaged them as a CLI tool called Cell. It works on Linux, MacOS and Windows.
While he listed some of the advantages of using Sail over the competition in the announcement post, he feels the benefits come from using Sail with other developer tools.
“For example, if you already use Git and GitHub, Cell may automatically deploy your application whenever you push to your main branch.” “If your project is built with gulp and webpack, you can tell npm to deploy your application after a successful build.”
The CLI tool does not make assumptions about the development environment. Developers are free to use any setup, such as Vagrant/VirtualBox, XAMP/MAMP, Local, Docker, or accustomed to a custom setup.
“You can use it without a local development environment and just cowboy-code your way through, and Sail will help you deploy confidently and roll back to being highly confident,” he said.
Following is a short video demo:
For the short term, SAIL only works with DigitalOcean. However, Kovshenin plans to support more providers down the road as he sees “more complex architectures.” However, he said that this is not a high priority at the moment.
“DigitalOcean has the best documentation, hands down,” he said. “The simplicity of their API just blows you away. And that simplicity extends to their pricing as well, which made it a fairly obvious choice.”
While the device is free, it will offer a sale premium service. There is currently no launch date for this. Kovshenin said he was anticipating the overall interest before the dive. However, they do have an Early Access signup form. Those who use it will get a free pass during the beta period and possibly a discount at launch.
Right now, his focus is on building out the core Cell features, which he says will always be free.
“The biggest new feature I’m excited about right now is Blueprints,” Kovshenin said. “This is going to be a YAML manifest file that will describe the desired application environment and state, including installing and activating WordPress plugins, what themes and settings, as well as any additional server software and configurations, such as mail, Firewall, etc. And to get it all you’ll just need to specify the template file sail init“
The goal is to allow users to create, reuse, and even share their blueprints. SAIL itself will also provide the general configuration. A single blueprint can include WooCommerce, Stripe, Storefront, Jetpack, Redis object caching, mail relay via Mailgun, and more.
“Other features on the list include sub-projects, staging/cloning, automated and remote backups, profiling, monitoring, and malware/vulnerability scanning,” Kovshenin said.
He is hoping for more feedback on missing features that can make the project more useful to others.
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