To date, we have used the established standard procedure for TYPO3 version upgrades: A client receives a TYPO3 installation in a current LTS version (short for Long Term Support) as part of a TYPO3 upgrade or relaunch project. LTS versions have a runtime of 1.5 years until an upgrade to the next higher version becomes necessary. The sooner a website runs on the new LTS version after its release, the longer it can be operated in regular support (up to three years). After the regular period has expired, it is possible to extend the support period by up to three years with the purchase of a so-called "Extended Long Term Support" (ELTS for short) license. However, the use of ELTS is not a sustainable solution and only intended to create room in the short term to plan the ultimately unavoidable upgrade. An ELTS license for the system only maintains the status quo of the installation in terms of security and compatibility. It does not provide advanced developments.
Upgrade projects of this kind are always costly on both sides (client and Marketing Factory) – from a financial perspective, but also in terms of the resources invested. For such a project, capacities on both sides are usually blocked continuously for several weeks, which means that fewer resources are available for further requests or projects.
This inspired us to launch our Continuous Upgrading Program.
Continuous Upgrading describes the practice of regularly and continuously upgrading a website with small-scaled upgrades and thus always keeping the website at the latest state of the art, instead of performing extensive upgrades only about every three years (using TYPO3 CMS as an example) as part of an expensive upgrade project. This proceeding sidesteps major, complex TYPO3 upgrades, as the website is always up-to-date and does not accumulate any technical liabilities. These continuous upgrades focus on the TYPO3 version itself, but also on all other components involved, such as extensions, libraries and frontend code. Last but not least, the concept also involves an improvement to server systems and infrastructure on which the TYPO3 installation is operated. The project is thus always fully up-to-date.
With Continuous Upgrading, MFC can continuously upgrade the TYPO3 installation including all other components during the contract term. Pending work is carried out in a copy of the productive instance. Once the work is complete, the adaptations are taken over into productive operation.
Changes in TYPO3 and its ecosystem that will need to be taken into account in a subsequent upgrade project are detected early, reducing the workload required later in the next upgrade. This provides for long-term planning, better allocation of costs and savings in expenditure in the medium to long term.
Continuous Upgrading provides optimum planning reliability with a fixed monthly flat rate instead of irregular major upgrade projects. You buy the complete operation of the project, including all updates and release changes, and can then concentrate on your core business. As a result, internal resources are no longer tied up for major upgrade projects and can be used for innovative projects that create value.
Continuous upgrading eliminates the need for a "feature and content freeze" before a new version of the website is published. Editorial work carried out on the live instance can be imported into the upgrade instance as required through a database synchronization. Time-consuming editorial work before a live release of the new TYPO3 version is thus no longer necessary.
As part of Continuous Upgrading, we implement extensive automated tests in which all functions are checked during and after updates. Adaptations are accepted via a second development instance (upgrade instance). In addition to technical checks, the test set also includes front-end tests which check the website regularly to ensure that the output is correct. As a result, it is more quickly apparent if there are errors in the output, which can then be corrected in a timely manner. The test scenarios are expanded and reviewed accordingly as the website evolves.