[development] [Fwd: [support] Staging]

Christopher M. Jones cjones at partialflow.com
Tue Aug 19 18:25:42 UTC 2008

I have been looking for a clean solution to the problem of how to stage 
a drupal site, using the common dev->QA->production development cycle. I 
originally posted to [Support], but someone there suggested that I post 
my questions here, as well. My original message follows below.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [support] Staging
Date: Thu, 07 Aug 2008 15:22:54 -0400
From: Christopher M. Jones <cjones at partialflow.com>
Reply-To: support at drupal.org
To: support at drupal.org

I'm looking for a decent approach to staging a drupal site. The
production site will be a collaborative authoring project, with forums,
blogs, and lots of media. The client will have access to this site, and
will be maintaining some of the content. Other content will be
maintained by us.

The development company that hosts this project prefers to make all of
their changes, both to content and templates, in a testing environment.
Once their client has approved the changes, they like to 'push' them to

However, while these changes are taking place, the client may be
administering forums and writing blog posts in the -production- version.

To further complicate things, my company wants a three-stage cycle. They
want a dev site, where they make changes for in-house review, which they
then push to testing for client review before everything is pushed to

I'm unsure how to approach this. The site in question has always been
static html created in Dreamweaver. At some point they started adding
other things, so now there are two wordpress blogs, and two phpbb
forums. The forums and blogs presently are excepted from the development
cycle. They simply appear to be part of the site, because their
templates have been designed so. But that means that we've got to
propagate template changes across five templates. Things are breaking
constantly, and this is why I piped up to them about drupal.

I've seen a lot of discussion about this topic, but I really need some
hard answers. What should I do?

I've seen the Staging module for 6.x. Is it safe to use? If so, then we
could use that for the database. Templates could be pushed with rsync or
svn... whatever. But would this work two ways? Could we sync the dev /
testing sites to the production site, then sync the other way? Would we
need to?

Also, I envision using a multisite environment so that all sites share
the same modules, media, etc, but use different templates.

I desperately need the detailed advice of someone with experience, here.
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