Permalinks & Test Strategies
Probably don’t appear linked from the off but I think they are.
Examining wordpress for suitability for a project in the last 24 hours, one thing is stepping out as a potential road-block to adoption.
There doesn’t appear to be a consistently presented/understood strategy/feature set for testing a site in a sandbox/test environment and then publishing it (complete or delta) to production. What I would want to be able to do is have:
– A complete test environment (domain, database, html, etc)
– Possibility of additional test legs/phases
– A complete production environment
– Inherent understanding within WordPress about test V production (etc)
– – Ability to configure the test setup inside the product
– A push button “publish” feature that can move content from one leg to the next (ie: publish all of my changes to production)
– Avoid necessity, but have the possibility, to have a local (workstation based) test environment [where desirable].
If 100% of the content is inside MySQL (rather than a mix of fs files and database content), one suspects it should be possible to have multiple databases or versioning within the database and use scripts or backup/restore to migrate the database content from one leg to the next (eg: backup production, backup test, restore rest into production, have production backup as fall back). A full database based solution could prove to be expensive/time consuming as a site grows.
I’ve seen suggestions for people to use test.mydomain.com and mydomain.com, but not clear what the ‘publish’ strategy is (some of the posts I found go back to 2006, so also unclear how current they are). If it involves ‘hacking’ then it’s not a very good solution (granted it could all be scripted if someone understands the solution and it’s internals well enough, but I think this is what wordpress strives to avoid!).
A problem with domains is that the links seem to cause problems. Is wordpress saving hard links in the database or generating them on the fly based on some configuration of what the primary domain is for a web site? The full links hierarchy should continue to work whether the site is in a test domain or a production domain.
Another thing that needs to be managed here:
– Authorisation/profile data for users accessing sites. While page content possibly needs to migrate forward, data collected during the production running of the server needs to remain in place, and, it may in fact be desirable to be able to refresh test from production before making changes.
I’d be interested in the July 2011 position on this topic and whether or not there is some reasonably simple solution for me to install WP on my web server and configure it (or instances of it) so that I can easily manage a test and prod. domain.
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