Hi Tom, that’s kind of an odd question to ask here, to my ear anyway. The trellis software handles all the complexities usually associated with hosting, or many of them, so the need for a platform is limited. I’ll give you my best ramble though, maybe it’ll be useful to you.
What Trellis Solves
Trellis’ primary goal (as far as I can tell, I’m not part of the core team at all), is to make sure you get exactly the same environment between your local development, staging, and finally production. It also wants the configuration required to be non-brittle and as automated as possible.
With minimal config (albeit a pretty steep learning curve if you’re new to ansible), it will install a virtual machine with your full LAMP stack and your wordpress sites for local development. It will also log into a remote server with a fresh OS (Ubuntu 16) and install the identical stack/sites. Things get even more awesome if you use Bedrock and Sage.
This is a huge advantage, because firstly it eliminates the chance of something working on your local machine (let’s say you’re using the latest version of PHP), but failing on your host (which might be running a different version). Best of all, you don’t have to think about it all (but you can hack it to the core if you want).
It also means you can have true local development, and yet easily deploy your sites remotely, all from the same toolset right out the box . All of this doesn’t require a platform, indeed a platform could/would break the ability to use Trellis!
What functionality would be even better?
A lot of what I’m about to mention has been discussed on these forums, or is already under development over on git. I’m also discussing a situation using the whole Roots ecosystem.
- Database/content migration built in, also backup tools.
- Better CLI/GUI for seeing updates to parts and dependencies of the Roots ecosystem across multiple Trellises and Sites.
- Even smoother integration with Digital Ocean (pet favourite in these parts) or other hosts.
The thing which isn’t often discussed is point 2, the clearer CLI/GUI. The issue I’m facing as I build more Trellis instances, each running at least one site, is keeping track of what needs updating where- both from the trellis repo, and in-terms of composer requirements (see bedrock). Part of the strength of Bedrock is also its weakness- the dev specifies the plugins, themes, and dependencies (and versions of them) which will be deployed, if something gets an update, you have to change the composer file and push it. You can allow users to make these changes on the remotes through the normal Wordpress GUI, but then you no longer have an authoritative version of the site to deploy (since no-one tells your repo that User Alex has updated to Wordpress X with Plugin Y).
There are Wordpress plugins allow you to build dashboards of sites, and track site usage and updates available. I feel like this behaviour as regards updates is effectively outdated by treating Wordpress (and it’s plugins/themes) as a dependency of your project (yay!). What we don’t have is the ability to easily see the updates, or track/manipulate site usage- in-fact using Roots software can make this harder.
##Wait, why would one person need to keep track of all of that?
Okay so I’m a pretty poor business person at this point- I’m a one man team trying to do maintenance and monitoring on all these sites on the side of developing new ones. A perfectly sane response is to say ‘hire help, change more dollar’. I just can’t help but feel that the Roots software gets 3/4 of the way to making managing Wordpress perfect, and has the trenches dug for that final assault. At the moment, that final functionality isn’t part of the Roots scope, so it’s not a failing, I just long for more.
I don’t need a hosting platform, Trellis exhausts the need for one, and there are excellent hosts out there who provide the servers (Digital Ocean, also GoDaddy has identically priced offerings and great customer service). I do still need to help me maintain these sites- I hadn’t thought that a host would be able to solve those issues, but please do prove me wrong