February 13, 2012 at 11:34 am #3650
I develop sites for several different clients. I regularly do full site redesigns and overhauls. Clients need to see the redesigns remotely over the web while as work progresses. Once everything is approved. The old site is backed up, and the new one is uploaded overwriting the old.
I’m looking for suggestions on how best to use DesktopServer for this type of scenario. (Am running all Macs.) I can think of several possibilites, and there may be others:
1) Developing and testing locally, then uploading to a second or subdomain for client review. Once approved, uploading and overwriting live site.
2) Developing on second or subdomain for testing, then downloading to local, then up to and overwriting live site.
3) Developing locally and running the Macs as web servers so the clients can view the sites directly on the development platform. Then uploading the finished site.
Would appreciate hearing recommendations on workflows that would work best with DesktopServer before I set things up.
BarryFebruary 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm #3656
Stephen CarrollKey Master
This really depends on how well you can isolate style from content. WordPress as a CMS with it’s template/theme system does this really well. However, you’ll need to adhere to the WordPress’ template documentation to have it work efficiently. For instance, see this post:
If your changes to the site overhaul are isolated to just the theme (ideal) and not database content, then you can simply synchronize the theme folder and nothing else.
There are some features in the works to do some instant temporary hosting but I can’t really comment beyond that until I work out additional details. But I welcome your feedback on this topic. It is a very important one!
StephenFebruary 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm #3658
Alas, these types of large scale changes are not restricted to customizing themes. That happens, too, of course, but tweaking themes is a fairly straightforward process, and relatively easy to manage in other ways.
These major overhauls include extensive content changes, as well as themes. In the old days, before database driven publishing, it was fairly easy to synchronize content across sites. As I’m sure you agree, that’s now easier said than done with database driven CMS systems like WordPress. The difficulty is what led me to your site, and why you’re even here, no doubt. (!)
My guess is there is no way to simply synchronize such sites anymore, that it now requires a full export of the dev version and redeployment of the entire site. Assuming that is a given, there are still probably many ways to skin that cat.
I actually would prefer not to run temporary hosting on the development platform. While that would be nice in a pinch, doing so long term would mean I’d have to leave it running all the time for the clients to see it at their convenience. Not practical when it’s also your workstation (or a laptop you need to take with you). My preferred solution would be to upload the dev version to a subdomain on the server or an alternate site install of WordPress on my own domain. Maybe one not even registered in DNS, just accessible via direct link or IP address. That would keep it off the radar and not available to the public until it was made live. (Avoids dealing with privacy settings and passwords and all that mess.)
I know this is a rather open-ended question, but also know I’m surely not the only person looking for a good solution to the same issues.
BarryFebruary 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm #3660
Stephen CarrollKey Master
I follow Barry, it basically sounds like you are following step 3, parts 1 & 2 of http://serverpress.com/news/deploying-your-website-using-cpanel/.
I gather that doing an overhaul entails updating the database (part 1) or the theme files (part2), or both. While either process is certainly easier with DesktopServer’s export feature that automates scrubbing and the database dump itself, this does introduce an issue that currently goes beyond the scope of DesktopServer. Part 1 overwrites the database. Focusing on just content that needs to be updated, one can use phpMyAdmin to drop all existing tables and just run the database.sql export file to refresh the website content.
However, any comments, posts, pages, (and on sites with eCommerce) sales, purchases and any third party data, settings and configurations will be lost on the live site between the time that you copied it, made changes and re-uploaded it. You can overcome this by simply putting the site into maintenance mode via a plugin to prevent comments/sales/updates to the live site with something like http://bueltge.de/wp-wartungsmodus-plugin/101/. But then this means you won’t have a functional live site and your overhaul would need to be expedited at your own pace. Or if you simply don’t mind losing any live site data, Part 1 can be repeated indefinitely.
Merging data and all the unforeseen issues with thirdparty plugin generated tables would take some sophisticated code wrangling above and beyond what DesktopServer can handle at the moment, if ever. Merging just isn’t practical at this time.
I’ve made a few notes though with regards to this subject however and thank you for your feedback!
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