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I think in practice most people have a single dev environment and production environment and effectively only have like one person actively doing things at a given time, so I will agree that in practice, the environment/publishing process is a little bit overkill for a lot of people. But I do have clients with a lot of non-prod enviroments and various dev/qa teams working independently and I can see this helping out (somewhat..) with the "too many cooks in the kitchen" scenario, and I think ultimately that's what Adobe was going for. I'm kind of hoping in the future Adobe might make an "E-Z Mode" version of it for the average Joe who doesn't actually need this layer of flexibility, but.. I'm happier that it's there if needed, than not at all.
But as far as updating environments. Yes, you can do that, though to be fair, I think maybe Adobe can make this a little bit easier to find. Namely, add navigation to it somewhere on the Environments tab. Currently you can just add delete an environment on this tab, and clicking on an existing environment only lets you update top level stuff like the name or adapter, not assets within it. I think Adobe definitely needs to add functionality for editing the assets themselves here. Or at least a link to where you edit it (see below).
But as for actually editing assets within an environment. Go to the Publishing tab. Then under the Development column, you should see the list of libraries (environments) you already have. You can click on their name or the down arrow on the top right of the an individual box, and you should see an Edit option.
Now.. gotta be 100%, this page could use some love. It isn't immediately and easily made clear / intuitive what is currently in the library vs. what is not. But there is an Add a Resource button where you can select from a menu of Rules, Data Elements, and Extensions, individual assets. And there is an Add All Changed Resources button that is generally all you really care about most of the time.
Note that you can click on the library (environment) when it is in the other columns (Submitted, Approved, Published) and view what is in it, but you cannot edit it. If you want to edit it, you have to reject/demote it back to the Development column.
Thank you joshd7227840 for your comprehensive answer! I'm totally with you that it might be useful for some clients but not for all, hence a nice way of customizing the workflow would be brilliant. Your sentence "this page could use some love" made me smile a lot...
Everything you described I have (unfortunately) already tried out, for me there is no way how I can demote something back from Published to Development because this is exactly the feature I was looking for.
I think for now I just have to come up with always new and creative names for the 1000 of libraries I'm going to create, or I start including the date+time, since it is not possible to have two libraries with the same name.
Oh, right. I suppose you cannot demote Published back to dev. I'm not really sure why you'd want/need to do this anyways? Offhand I can't really think of a use-case for it that wouldn't already be covered by just pushing a different build to production. But in general, I'm a big fan of the philosophy that devs should make a tool as flexible as possible and let the user decide how to use it, vs. devs trying to decide for the user what may or may not be useful for them!
But on a sidenote, it looks like you can use the same name for different builds, but you get a overlay warning confirming if you really want to do it since that might make for confusion. I think in practice I probably wouldn't use the same name for something, except maybe a new build sharing the same name as what is currently in production. But I personally haven't had to deal with a ton of builds yet, so I haven't really found for myself yet what would work best for me (but I think that is about to change.. one of my clients with a million dev/qa environments just got access to Launch.. fun).
You are right I can just click on "create anyway" and it works