Learn why space environments are great for managing and maintaining content structure for your Contentful projects

Space environments
May 22, 2018


Content management has long been an outdated part of the modern software development process — our mission is to change that. Since our humble beginnings, we’ve offered an API-first content architecture giving engineers a scalable, automation-friendly approach to content creation. We’re now taking content management one step further — say hello to space environments.

The introduction of space environments makes it easier for you to manage and maintain content structure once your content has been published. You can think of space environments like code branches: great for testing, development and pre-production environments. In short, space environments ensure quick turnaround times and flexibility for developers — without interupting the editorial workflow.

Why we decided to create space environments

Traditional CMSs treat content as a one-off effort. This has negative consequences like the fact that content management is difficult to fit into existing development life cycles. And, content structure can’t be reused across channels.

But starting today, you can use space environments to overcome such issues. This new feature will make life easier for the whole organization now that content creation and management can be streamlined into your development workflow.

Introducing space environments

Space environments are entities within a space that allow you to create and maintain multiple versions of space-specific data, and make changes to them in isolation.

Space environments

By default, every space has one environment, called master. Additionally, multiple sandbox environments can be created. Sandbox environments start out as copies of the master environment.

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 11.53.58🌅

The ability to iterate over your content model without putting your live website or app at risk has its benefits. Engineering teams can now work faster since environments make setup less time-consuming. Product managers highlighted how much more freedom they now have to respond to changing tastes and business requirements by being able to evolve the content model more frequently and conveniently.

Another benefit is that editors no longer have to stick to a certain content schema. Until the launch of space environments, making content model changes was hard once you had gone live. Now, editors can be creative again and continuously evolve their content strategy without fear of creating more work for the engineers.

We’ve developed space environments for modern engineering teams: space environments support rapid iterative development, and make it easy to integrate content management with your continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. And in case you're wondering, space environments are also supported by our SDKs.

Furthermore, one of the biggest benefits is that environments play nicely with the Contentful CLI tool. It then becomes possible to delete or change a field by using a script — instead of manually managing entries.

Thorough testing of new features is one of our top priorities. So before we rolled out space environments, we invited a few customers to a round of testing — giving us the chance to consider their feedback. This is what they had to say about space environments:

Now space environments make it a breeze to rapidly test content model changes with ease. Hey, that rhymes!
— SumUp

SumUp was happy with the ways space environment let them text content model changes quickly and easily, while Spartan Race had the following to say:

Using the environments has made my workflow much simpler.
— Spartan Race

Nordic Choice Hotels also wrote in with:

Continuous deployment is very important to us and as a consequence we have to have automated testing in our production pipeline. For the automated testing in the production pipeline to be reliable, we have to have as production-like test data as possible when the automated tests run. The space environment feature enables us to continually and automatically do just that: create production-like spaces from our production space that can be used for our automated tests.
— Nordic Choice Hotels

Let’s get you started

The projects you create are unique — and the number of environments varies depending on your space type. To find out what space environments setup is best for your next project, head to our pricing page.

Ready to get started? Then head over to our documentation on managing multiple environments. You should also check out our FAQ on space environments.

Prefer a quick video introduction?

Our developer evangelist Stefan also recorded a quick intro.

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