Naming Conventions Stage vs Staging in Software Development

Naming conventions play a crucial role in software development, providing clarity and consistency in various aspects of the development lifecycle. When it comes to naming environments, such as staging, development, and production, there can be variations and debates around the usage of “stage” and “staging.” In this article, we’ll explore the differences and common practices surrounding these terms.

Defining Staging and Development Environments

Naming Common Convention
GitLab CI/CD Convention stage
GitHub Actions Convention staging
Domain Names
Branch Names staging
Docker Compose Files docker-compose.staging.yml
Dockerfile Names Dockerfile.staging

Staging environments are integral to the software development process, serving as a dedicated space for testing and validation before deploying to production. In most cases, “staging” is commonly used as a noun to represent this environment. It refers to a stable and controlled testing area where developers can ensure their applications are functioning correctly and meet the required standards.

On the other hand, “development” is typically used as a noun to denote the environment where active coding and building of applications occur. It is the primary workspace for developers to create, modify, and test their code before it reaches the staging or production stages.

GitLab CI/CD Convention

GitLab CI/CD, a popular continuous integration and continuous deployment platform, follows its own convention for naming pipeline stages. Instead of “staging,” GitLab CI/CD uses “stage” as the keyword to define pipeline stages. This convention differs from other industry practices but is specific to the GitLab CI/CD ecosystem. It’s important to align with this convention when using GitLab CI/CD to ensure smooth integration and compatibility with their pipeline system.

GitHub Actions Convention

In contrast to GitLab CI/CD, GitHub Actions, another widely used CI/CD platform, does not have a specific convention for naming pipeline stages. You have the flexibility to choose either “stage” or “staging” based on your preference or team conventions. However, it’s important to note that consistency within your GitHub Actions workflows is crucial for clarity and understanding. However, it’s worth noting that “stage” is more commonly used in GitHub Actions workflows.

Domain and Branch Naming

Naming conventions for staging environments also extend to domain names and branch names. When it comes to domain names, it is common to use subdomains such as “” or “” to represent the staging environment. Both variations are widely used, but “staging” is slightly more prevalent in practice.

For branch names, both “stage” and “staging” can be used to indicate the branch’s purpose or association with the staging environment. However, “staging” is more commonly preferred in the industry. It clearly conveys that the branch is specifically for staging-related work and aligns with the standard naming conventions.

Docker Compose and Dockerfile Naming

When using Docker for containerization, naming conventions for Docker Compose files and Dockerfiles can also come into play. For Docker Compose files specific to staging environments, “docker-compose.staging.yml” is a common naming convention. It clearly denotes that the file is intended for the staging environment and helps maintain organization and clarity.

Similarly, for Dockerfiles targeting the staging environment, the naming convention often follows the pattern of “Dockerfile.staging.” This naming convention aligns with the purpose of the Dockerfile and ensures that developers understand its intended use.


Naming conventions play an essential role in software development environments. While “staging” is commonly used as a noun to represent the testing and validation environment, “stage” is specifically utilized within GitLab CI/CD for pipeline stages.