Capistrano is a tool for remote server automation and deployment. We have to underline these two task as they will remain two different areas for a long time. Historicaly Capistrano was a deployment tool, but since then many server administration tools have been created for remote server administration. Software installation, package upgrade, data base management can be arranged using Capistrano.

Capistrano supports the idea of deployment strategies. Strictly speaking they are the way, how the source code goes to the remote machine. We can distinguish between local and remote strategies.

Local strategies have only one member, the copy strategy. Remote strategies split into export, checkout and remote_cache variants.

If you have a static site or do not want to use a SCM for deployment look at the following code snippet:

A fragment from Capfile
set :repository,  "./source_dir" # This is our directory with the content to be deployed.
set :scm, :none # Do not use any SCM.

set :deploy_to, '/var/www/mysite/htdocs' # This is a place on the remote machine.
set :deploy_via, :copy # We are going to deploy using the copy strategy.

set :copy_dir, './tmp/capistrano' # Here we create a temporary archive with our content.
set :copy_remote_dir, "#{deploy_to}/tmp/capistrano" # There the archive will be copied.

You have to ensure that both local and remote directories for archives exist.

If you need some additional readings on Capistrano, try out the following: