[support] Staging

Christopher M. Jones cjones at partialflow.com
Thu Aug 7 19:22:54 UTC 2008

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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