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Development environment

Development environment

(OP)
Hi,

Not sure I'm posting this in the right forum...

I'm working roughly on around 30 websites. Most of these are Joomla sites. At the moment I'm working on these sites myself, but in the not to distant future I will be working on these websites with another person.

To make this all go as smoothly as possible I'm looking into file version management and development environments.

After doing some research I found the following "tool" for my version control system: http://subversion.apache.org/
Which is hosted on http://www.unfuddle.com/

That's one option does anyone have any other suggestions?

For the development environment I have been struggling to find a "tool". People use a local Apache in one way or another, either by installing it or using xampp or something along those lines.

This however doesn't seem to be an option for my situation. Around 30 sites, means around 30 different hosts with 30 different setups... I simply don't have the knowledge or the time to "clone" all these different setups on a local machine. If anyone has a suggestion on how to do this, please do share!

So I looked into "developing" on the server the site is hosted but with a sub-domain. This however brings forth the issue of working with a dev.mydomain.com instead of www.mydomain.com. This is a problem because I'm always working with absolute URL's with the WWW infront of it for SEO purposes and having to make the right changes every time between development and live environment to cope with this isn't ideal. Is there a way around this?

Last but certainly not least is the fact that the development environment needs a database as well. While I'm working on the site in development environment, other people are still adding content to the live site. Is there a way to sync to development environment to the live site but not the otherway around?

I have little to no experience with this so any help/tips are greatly appreciated.

RE: Development environment

That's a lot of questions, that should have been broken down into separate posts, with appropriate subjects. But, here goes...

Look into use Virtual Machines for your dev environments. It's easy to duplicate your production environment. You create a base VM that has your dev tools, settings, etc, then copy it for each environment/customer/project. Sun VirtualBox gets good reviews. There is also VMWare and Microsoft Virtual PC.

For dealing with domain specific naming, can you use a configuration file then read it out when needed?

Database is a big issue. MySQL is one option. MongoDB could be another, but isn't relational.

Craig Berntson
MCSD, Visual FoxPro MVP, www.craigberntson.com/blog
 

RE: Development environment

I wrote a howto for the combination of PHP and subversion. I do not know the Joomla setup (you might want to keep Joomla itself out of source code control or not), but it may be useful:

http://www.howtoforge.org/set-up-a-modular-svn-repository-for-php-websites

Quote:

Database is a big issue. MySQL is one option.

Especially for MySQL, I wrote another howto about SQL for MySQL and continuous database development:

http://www.howtoforge.org/node/4833

Hope this is of any help.

+++ Despite being wrong in every important aspect, that is a very good analogy +++
   Hex (in Darwin's Watch)

RE: Development environment

(OP)
Thank you for the replies and apologies for the late responds but here goes...

For dealing with domain specific naming, can you use a configuration file then read it out when needed?
It's Joomla! so 99,99% of the time it create the URL correctly automatically. However because we are working with absolute URL's instead of relative URL's this gets more complicated and in the current setup for some of the sites there isn't one setting I can use to "force" the URL.

Thank you for the linking to How To's, I'll take a look.

RE: Development environment

(OP)
In addition to this.

Test on the same server seems a good solution.
But then I'll run into problems with the absolute URL's.

Is there a way to "trick" my pc/browser into thinking that http://www.mydomain.com is actually http://dev.mydomain.com?
Kinda like you do when you test locally and you change your host file?

RE: Development environment

There is probably such a trick. But I would not go that far, as you impose heavy restrictions on every development machine that needs to edit the code. If you really want the absolute URL (and I cannot see why you would want or need that), make it a setting.

All of my projects have a "settings.php" file that holds all machine-dependent data. I mark this file as "to ignore" in subversion and add a "settings_example.php" file to show what settings it should hold. You mark a file as "to ignore" by adding a subversion property "svn:ignore" to the directory that holds the file, with a value of the file name (without path), so in my case "settings.php"

So you can define a setting "base_url" which holds "http://www.mydomain.com/" on the live server and "http://localhost/projects/mydomain/htdocs/" in your development environment.

You did inherit the code, but if you are setting up a develop environment, I think it is better to get the site right and portable (so your colleague can help, or put it on a laptop to demonstrate to the customer, or so you can get a new machine if the current one breaks down) than to make your machine think it is another machine.

It is also good to switch all errors and warnings ON on your development system (don't do that on the live server). This may result in a "Red Screen of Incompetence", but the code quality increases drastically in such a case.
 

+++ Despite being wrong in every important aspect, that is a very good analogy +++
   Hex (in Darwin's Watch)

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