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Capistrano vs Deployer: What are the differences?

Introduction Capistrano and Deployer are both popular deployment tools used in web development. While they serve a similar purpose, there are key differences between the two.

  1. Methodology and Focus: Capistrano follows a task-based deployment methodology and is designed primarily for Ruby applications. It uses Ruby DSL to define deployment tasks and dependencies. On the other hand, Deployer follows a recipe-based approach and is language-agnostic, making it suitable for a wider range of applications. It uses a simple recipe file written in PHP to define deployment tasks.

  2. Platform Compatibility: Capistrano is primarily designed for Unix-based systems, although it can also run on Windows with some additional setup. Deployer, on the other hand, can be used on any operating system as long as PHP is installed. This platform compatibility makes Deployer a more versatile choice for multi-platform development environments.

  3. Concurrency and Parallelism: Capistrano is known for its ability to execute tasks concurrently, allowing for faster deployments by leveraging multiple servers. Deployer, on the other hand, focuses on a single server at a time and doesn't natively support parallel execution of tasks. However, Deployer provides plugins and configurations that enable parallelism if required.

  4. Extensibility and Community: Capistrano has a larger community and a wider range of available plugins and extensions. It has been around for a longer time and has a robust ecosystem supported by its active user base. Deployer, although newer, has a growing community and offers many essential built-in tasks for common deployment scenarios. However, it may have a smaller selection of specialized plugins compared to Capistrano.

  5. Configuration and Ease of Use: Capistrano's configuration can be more complex and requires a steeper learning curve due to its DSL-based approach. In comparison, Deployer uses a simple and intuitive configuration file, making it easier to set up and use for both beginners and experienced developers.

  6. Documentation and Learning Resources: Capistrano has extensive documentation, tutorials, and learning resources due to its popularity and maturity. It is well-documented with examples and has a larger user community, making it easier to find help and troubleshoot issues. Deployer, although actively maintained, may have comparatively fewer learning resources available.

In summary, Capistrano and Deployer differ in their methodology, platform compatibility, concurrency, extensibility, ease of use, and available resources. Capistrano is task-based and primarily for Ruby applications, while Deployer is recipe-based and language-agnostic. Deployer is more platform-compatible and offers simpler configuration, while Capistrano has a larger community and more extensive documentation.

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Pros of Capistrano
Pros of Deployer
  • 121
    Automated deployment with several custom recipes
  • 63
  • 23
  • 11
    Release-folders with symlinks
  • 9
    Multistage deployment
  • 2
    Cryptic syntax
  • 2
    Integrated rollback
  • 1
    Supports aws
  • 8
    Simply to use
  • 7
    Easy to customize
  • 6
    Easy setup

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What is Capistrano?

Capistrano is a remote server automation tool. It supports the scripting and execution of arbitrary tasks, and includes a set of sane-default deployment workflows.

What is Deployer?

A deployment tool written in PHP with support for popular frameworks out of the box

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What companies use Capistrano?
What companies use Deployer?
See which teams inside your own company are using Capistrano or Deployer.
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What tools integrate with Capistrano?
What tools integrate with Deployer?

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What are some alternatives to Capistrano and Deployer?
Fabric is a Python (2.5-2.7) library and command-line tool for streamlining the use of SSH for application deployment or systems administration tasks. It provides a basic suite of operations for executing local or remote shell commands (normally or via sudo) and uploading/downloading files, as well as auxiliary functionality such as prompting the running user for input, or aborting execution.
Shipit is an automation engine and a deployment tool written for node / iojs. Shipit was built to be a Capistrano alternative for people who don't know ruby, or who experienced some issues with it. If you want to write tasks in JavaScript and enjoy the node ecosystem, Shipit is also for you.
The Docker Platform is the industry-leading container platform for continuous, high-velocity innovation, enabling organizations to seamlessly build and share any application — from legacy to what comes next — and securely run them anywhere
Ansible is an IT automation tool. It can configure systems, deploy software, and orchestrate more advanced IT tasks such as continuous deployments or zero downtime rolling updates. Ansible’s goals are foremost those of simplicity and maximum ease of use.
Chef enables you to manage and scale cloud infrastructure with no downtime or interruptions. Freely move applications and configurations from one cloud to another. Chef is integrated with all major cloud providers including Amazon EC2, VMWare, IBM Smartcloud, Rackspace, OpenStack, Windows Azure, HP Cloud, Google Compute Engine, Joyent Cloud and others.
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