I would install EPiServer on target server (at least to get Deployment Center - in case of some emergencies). Mostly EPiServer resources are served from either modules/_protected (7.6) or Blob storage (appdata folder).
As of 7.5 scheduled jobs have been moved to web app domain and no need for Scheduler Windows Service.
You will of course will need to take care of SQL server "first time" run as well. Either restore some staging / testing database and make required adjustments from EPiServer UI (site host mapping for instance), or you can create empty SQL database from Deployment Center if needed.
Thanks Valdis, very helpful and useful information.
I've yet to upgrade to the latest service pack (taking me to 7.6).. as development has only just started, I'm guessing this would be a sensible thing to do..
You mentioned about resources getting moved into modules/_protected in 7.6.. I'm guessing this is an automatic remapping done via the installer, which will remove and move the files as required.
Regarding database, our plan will be to, like you suggest, deploy our staging database to the servers first time, and then update the mappings.. Future changes would then of course be taken care of by code deployments.
For 7.6 upgrade - it depends. UI and Shell resources will be served directly from .zip file there. You may need to take care manually to remove EPiServer.UI and Shell modules if upgrade process fails to do so.
We will be using Team City and MSDeploy(WebDeploy) for automated deployments..
What is the suggested way to handle the appdata folder.. As this is outside the root of the stie, how do we insure this is kept up-to-date for releases?
I have upgraded to 7.6 now, so now we have the modules/_protected folder included in our solution..
We are copying over initial version of appdata from local dev environment to testing/staging/production servers. And keep closed eye on any modifications there. If anything is done that touches Modules we are syncing them back to dev environemnts / source control. Modifications to Modules directory (install new AddOn, update existing ones) usually are executed in testing / staging environemts. So within next release we make sure that new version is synced with target server. We are not delivering appdata within each deployment.
File / media storage is not subject for releases - as it's editorial content that may change between deployemnts.
As EPiServer with 7.6 started to migrate closer to NuGet and be more developer friendly - it starts to get more easy :)
What is the best process of setting up a site for the first time on the server?
I note that on 7.5 all the applicaiton files are contained within the appdata folder.. Does this mean that you no longer need to install EPiServer on the server, or does one still need to do this?
How to scheduled tasks now work for example?