January 13, 2023
min read

State of Preview Environments Report 2022

To wrap up 2022 we ran a year end Survey to gather current opinions on Preview Environments from a wide audience of experienced software engineers whose roles range from individual contributors to CTOs and whose experiences range from Open Source Projects to Enterprise. ‍The results are in, and we’re excited to share them with you!

What are Engineers' perceptions of Preview Environments?

80% say that Preview Environments are either Valuable (45%) or Extremely Valuable (35%).

Who’s Using Preview Environments Now?

40% of all respondents are currently using some form of a Preview Environment solution with another 12% indicating it’s a priority for this year.  Out of this group who currently have Previews 30% are using a Front End only Preview solution and 70% are using Preview Environments for the full-stack.

What’s the Biggest Benefit of Preview Environments?

The responses were divided among three answers - Overcoming Shared Environment Challenges (32%), Saving Time on Pull Request Reviews (21%), and Faster Feedback / Iterations (21%).

What Role on Software Teams benefits the most from Preview Environments?

53% indicated that the benefits of Preview Environments are cross-functional - the benefits are spread across Maintainers / Team Leads, Testers, and Product.  Another 26% indicated that the Developer Role benefits the most.

What Test Environment Models are Teams Using?

Of those 40% surveyed who are using Previews, the majority (87%) are using a Hybrid Test Environment Model that consists of a Preview Environment + a Persistent Staging Environment (Develop, Preview, Stage, Release).  The remainder (13%) are using a pure Preview Environment solution (Develop, Preview, Release).

What Type of Preview Environment Solution are teams most likely to adopt?

56% of respondents indicated they would seek an open source solution for implementing a Preview Environment capability for their team.

How are Teams Testing in General?

84% of respondents are using some form of automated testing.  With 26% indicating that their testing is mostly automated, 35% indicating an even mix of automated and manual testing, and 24% indicating that their testing is mostly manual with some automation.

What are the biggest Friction Points to Adopting Preview Environments?

Friction Points to Adoption - Technical Challenges (35%), Lack of Easy to Adopt Solutions (18%), and Internal Team Friction / Politics (18%).


Preview Environments have become increasingly popular with 40% of survey respondents indicating they are already using some form of Preview solution to expedite user acceptance testing.  Preview Environments are considered to primarily be a cross-functional tool - valuable for all the roles in a development effort.  

Preview Environments have become increasingly prevalent in Open Source with major projects like Spotify’s Backstage (20k stars), Dev.to’s Forem (20k stars), and NocoDB (34k stars) leading the way for adoption.  

We’ve found that there’s several indications that Preview Environments have moved beyond the “Innovator” phase and into the “Early Adoption” phase of the Technology Adoption Life-cycle.  With more and more easy to adopt solutions, growing perceived value (80% call them valuable or extremely valuable) and well-documented case studies, we predict that growth in adoption will be significant in 2023.

If you’d like to learn more on this subject please check out our Definitive Guide to Preview Environments.