Preview Environments - How Can I See Changes Live Before Merging to Master?

Preview Environments - How Can I See Changes Live Before Merging to Master?

You can always create new Git branches and merge them during your development process. But do you know for sure you get healthy pull requests? Unless you review your code with the help of a preview environment, you’re simply sending your PRs to the wild and hope they’ll be safe and sound. 

Here’s an in-depth view of preview environments and how they can save the day, helping your team see live changes before merging to master.

What Are Preview Environments?

You’re well-adjusted with those moments when you look at the ‘big list’ with code changes and send it from the feature branch to the trunk. Still, reviewing your code is an important step to make sure your application runs just right. That’s why preview environments were created and have become a crucial part of CI/CD workflows. 

A preview environment, also known as an ephemeral environment, includes the code of your pull requests. This environment provides a realistic setup and helps your team test out code changes without the code reviewer having to configure everything on their own machine. 

How Preview Environments Work

 With preview environments at your disposal, you’d go over these steps: 

  • create a pull request 
  • create an environment 
  • submit changes 
  • update the environment 
  • merge the pull request 
  • remove the environment.

Preview environments are temporary; they only live for the life of a pull request. These environments give you the chance to run automated tests and obtain manual confirmations, ensuring functions look and work as expected in the deployment cycle.

Benefits of Preview Environments

During a classical code review, developers would check if functions work as planned and whether they designed the code properly and matched the proposed framework. A preview environment adds in several new benefits, like: 

Time Savings

With preview environments, you can kill two birds with one stone, meaning you can review the pull request alongside the deployed environment. This means a shorter feedback cycle and a faster delivery; you no longer have to wait for a merge or a staging environment and can make changes within the pull request from the preview environment.  

All in all, you can make changes and review all the components before any merge takes place. So you address and fix issues in a single iteration. 

Authentic Software Interaction 

The chance to review how visual elements go together is essential, but using a preview environment goes beyond the graphical part. It’s also about how all types of codes interact with each other, like the shared library or the backend service. You get hands-on experience and testing of your changes.

A Holistic Review Process 

Preview environments make room for gathering more feedback from team members with diverse roles. Code reviews from different perspectives are always valuable, as you get to cover wording, graphics, or user interaction alongside the code diff. This mixed feedback will help you create a stronger product. 

Increase Work Responsibility 

 A preview environment empowers teams with end-to-end visibility throughout the development process. It also provides an opportunity to keep teams engaged, leading to increased responsibility. Once each team member (whether it’s the designer, product manager, QA tester, etc.) sees the living proof and result of their work, they’ll have a better understanding of code review and changes. This way, they’ll each learn from their mistakes faster from a practical perspective. 

Now that you’ve learned about the benefits, why not experience preview environments firsthand?

Get Faster Releases with Preview Environments from Bunnyshell

Preview environments are the most convenient way to get a perfect replica of your production environment before merging. You’ll get rid of Git diffs for visual changes and share your changes live to have a more efficient collaboration between team members right at the end of the creation process. Developers can share their work-progress code and dependencies, switching between their teammates’ environments. 


Validate a feature or a bug fix from your original environment with Bunnyshell’s preview environments! 

Our solution allows you to clone your environment in two ways: 

1. Create an On-demand Ephemeral Environment 

Clone an existing primary or ephemeral environment and keep in mind to name it. 

2. Get an Automated Ephemeral Environment 

You can automatically create an ephemeral environment with either a pull request, a pull request comment, or via API integration with your CI/CD solution. 

Define the triggers to create ephemeral environments at a specific primary environment level. Destroy the preview environment when you no longer need it or define the triggers that will wipe out the environment. 

Take Bunnyshell for a spin and test all its features! 

Enable High Velocity Development

Breakaway from the inability to quickly deploy isolated environments of any specification.