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Multi-Staging → Local to Prod in Record Time

ByDexterFeb 16, 2024

At Rubric, we are constantly pushing full stack features in parallel. We strive to get high quality code to prod as fast as possible with minimal coordination. We developed the multi-staging workflow to address problems with webhooks in staging that created bottlenecks across the CI/CD pipeline.


Instead of Development, Staging, Prod envs, we propose Local-[DEVELOPER], Staging-[DEVELOPER], and Prod.

By setting up unique pipelines for each developer, you can move faster, testing multiple full stack features simultaneously in the cloud.

Multiple branches of local-staging merging into Prod

The Problem

  • Webhooks require a static URL (breaks Vercel preview branches)
  • A single staging branch necessitates coordination across teams
  • Shared databases don't let you push schema changes fast enough (conflicts)

The common practice is to have a development (local), staging, and production env, with slight modifications to each developer's local env that they handle manually in .env.local on their IDE.

This creates conflicts: "Prisma Studio isn't working because you pushed schema"

And headaches: "It works on my machine but times out in serverless (Vercel)"

Multi-staging solves these problems by giving every developer their own local and staging env.

Tunnelling (Local)

We used ngrok to handle local environments, specifically the cloud edge domains feature.

ngrok http 3000

Using this command I can tunnel dexter.rubric.shlocalhost:3000, allowing webhooks sent to to be forwarded to my local machine. This is the bones of the Local-[DEVELOPER] env.

Bonus points (~/.zshrc):

alias l='f(){ local port="$*"; ngrok http ${port:-3000}; }; f'

We further give each developer a local DB and their own set of auth tokens, but we will dive into this in The Stack section.


Let's go further and set up a multi-lane on-ramp to prod. In addition to local, let's also give each developer their own staging env, to let them build, test and share features without coordinating.

Each developer should have their own local and staging:

  • Database
  • AuthTokens
  • URL
  • GitHub branch
  • ENV

We use this workflow for Maige - a Rubric product that brings intelligent workflows to your issues and PRs in GitHub. If you are interested in the project, check out the codebase (OS) here. There are several useful DX commands that allow you to never have to open the .env file. See package.json.

The Stack


  • Infisical is the single source of truth for environment variables for local and staging envs.
  • On Local: infisical --env=dexter-local export > .env.local
Infisical Environments


  • PlanetScale is our database. Using the safe migrations workflow, you can manage schema like GitHub - with pull requests.
  • A separate branch for local and staging (per developer) lets us push changes aggressively without coordination.
Planetscale DB branches and schema changes


  • Vercel is our deployment partner, automatically deploying on changes to main and [DEVELOPER]/staging
  • Staging branches have their own url - and pull env from Infisical automatically.
Vercel staging URLs and Infisical env sync

GitHub (Apps)

  • For Maige, we have a seperate app for each env, which allows webhooks to be handled properly.
  • Each developer's instance of the app works in the cloud without an active IDE.
Maige GitHub Apps

The Magic

Once this is all set up, we get to see the true power of the workflow. Developers demoing full stack features in the cloud simultaneously.

With local envs configured, I can easily work on Ted's local branch if we pair program:

git checkout ted/feat && infisical --env ted-local export > .env.local && ngrok http --

With staging envs configured, I can test out Arihan's new PR (which includes schema changes, new UI and modified GitHub permissions) from my phone on the subway. No need for an IDE or even a laptop (:

Arihan demoing a new feature in staging

As we hurdle forward into the future, it looks like modern engineering looks a lot less like vim and a lot more like chat. With multi-staging, we can field an aggressive pace by testing full stack changes in the cloud - on a real URL. When AI agents make the leap from copilots to engineers, we might not have the time to review code. What if we can simply open a URL and test as a user? Are we ready for this velocity?

As always, this is a work in progress. Please send feedback or questions to

Peace nerds (:

Rubric Labs

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