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Best practices - updating/syncing staging & production blogs RRS feed

  • Question

  • Background:
    Here's my situation. I'm working on a cookbook blog for my daughters. While there are no commercial aspirations (although I did place a paypal donate button for the heck of it), the effort is just something fun to do for the family. It's still very much a work in progress but for now, as long as my girls have access to a computer with Internet connection, thought it would be nice for them to pull stuff up as needed so I hosted the "production" blog on one of my available domains.

    My challenge is three-fold:
    * As time permits, I'm working on a new cookbook WP Theme while testing out quite a few Wordpress plug-ins. Ergo, I've created a local version of the cookbook on my laptop to develop/test everything out. I'm using WinXP, XAMPP, and Wordpress for my local server/blog environment. The production server is hosted on GoDaddy. When ready, I'm thinking I'll just do a backup/clean production install of my local version.
    * In the meantime, I'm trying out new recipes and/or preparing/tinkering with existing ones. I use my local version to add or make updates to recipe content.  Until I'm ready to do the "clean" production install, I do want to periodically publish the local updates to the existing production blog.
    * On an ongoing basis, even after the "clean" production install, I'd still like to do local content updates and will likely make template/plug-in changes from time to time. In short, the traditional "development/staging" AND "production" environments are something I'd like to formalize as a "best practice", and not just for the cookbook but all my blogs.

    Question:
    My goal is to sync content, design & plug-in updates, additions, changes, etc. coming from my development/staging environment to my production environment when ready. Without MySQL in the equation, I'd FTP or something else. Database syncing is a different animal I'm not expert at. Perhaps when only talking about content updates, it's as easy as just creating a local WLW draft, working on it and publishing to the production server when ready (can you create a WLW local draft while still keeping the original production post visible till ready to update?). When talking about design and plug-ins, it probably a different best practice all together.

    What do others believe to be the best way to do what I'm asking, using WLW and/or 3rd party apps if necessary? Thank in advance, BIG TIME!

    P.S. If you'd like to see what I'm attempting to describe, here's the production URL: http://www.cluboffive.org
    • Edited by TotalBalance Thursday, February 5, 2009 7:33 AM clarify
    Thursday, February 5, 2009 7:27 AM

All replies

  • Without doing some kind of special system, this might be tricky.  Windows Live Writer won't be able to help you with much more then publishing content to both.  You could write the post and publish it to your local blog, then when it is ready, open the post in Windows Live Writer, switch blogs to the production one and republish it.  That would work but it is a manual process.  You might also want to look into one of the wordpress importer/exporters that might help you move more stuff, including content from your local blog to your production one.
    -Brandon Turner [MSFT]
    Thursday, February 5, 2009 5:59 PM
  • So I guess the root question is:
    When it comes to Blog technologies, the traditional development-->staging-->production web content management system does not apply? In other words it's not practical based on present blog server software design considerations. If this is a fair assessment, has anyone written a "best practices" to do what I'm asking? My own searching on the subject hasn't come up with much but find it hard to believe enterprise corporations who leverage blogs in their marketing mix don't have something in place for their technical staff.

    Thoughts?
    Thursday, February 5, 2009 7:35 PM
  • I don't think the traditional dev->staging->production applies at all in the world of blogs.  I think people always generally post their content directly to their blog.  People might develop plugins or themes for their blog in some kind of staging environment, but that can be deployed to their production site usually by copying and pasting the files through FTP, which just isnt an option for their content.
    -Brandon Turner [MSFT]
    Saturday, February 7, 2009 1:17 AM
  • OK, 
    Brandon Turner [MSFT] said:

    I don't think the traditional dev->staging->production applies at all in the world of blogs.


    -Brandon Turner [MSFT]

    OK, interesting observation. Thanks.
    Nevertheless, the reality is published content (aka posts) are rarely created on the fly, in a vacuum, especially in an enterprise environment. Reviews, edits, re-edits, approvals are a necessary evil. Heck, some of my best content creation found it's birth after quite a few martinis late into the night. However, I've found it's not wise to publish till I've reviewed after sobering up ;-).

    So, I'll handle theme/plugin development on my local development environment and migrate to production when ready. No problem.
    However, content management, in a collaborative environment, still raises questions for me without answers.

    If I'm just a single blog owner/content provider, I can use the WLW "Save as Local draft" option to both create and update existing posts. When ready, I'll publish. Dont' see any issues iwth this.
    However, in a collaborative envirnment, how would you recommend I proceed? FrontPage has rudimentary "check in/check out source management control but that's really designed for code not content. MS Office products have "content review" features. Is there some flavor of this functionality planned for WLW in future versions or a much easier/simpler way I'm just missing?

    Saturday, February 7, 2009 3:35 AM