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Web Site Cookbook by Doug Addison

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9.7. Coordinating Site Updates and Testing

Problem

You need to manage the testing and publishing of site updates created by multiple people.

Solution

Set up a basic development-staging-live web server configuration that allows contributors and developers to continuously work on the site, while testers and clients preview changes set to go live on a separate, password-protected copy of the site.

Discussion

A three-web server system provides an extra layer of protection against inadvertent site updates and data loss, while improving the efficiency of your development and testing efforts. In a typical setup, site contributors make all their file changes to copies on the development server. When a site update is ready for testing, proofreading, and/or client review, the lead site builder (or webmaster) moves the changed files to the staging server (see Figure 9-6).

Site update process with a dev-staging-live server setup

Figure 9-6. Site update process with a dev-staging-live server setup

Contributors and developers can move on to other work on the development server without having to wait for the testing and review process on the previous update. Any changes needed at this point are made to files on the staging server, and then those changed files are copied back down to the development server.

Tip

Staging files also can be used to roll back unwanted changes on the development side, or provide backup for the live site.

After everyone reviews and approves ...

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