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  1. Also keep an eye on VersionPress – it’s all about workflows as well, doing for WordPress what Git has done for software projects. Not production-ready yet though (facing similar challenges that Mergebot does/will).

  2. Great post! Yet another option I’m loving is push/pull via BackupBuddy’s deployment feature. You can choose what to push or pull and it’s pretty darn easy to set up.

    • Hi Jody,

      Thanks for sharing this information. When moving from staging to live site, can you update some posts and pages but not all with BackUp Buddy Deployment?

      Thanks,
      Jennifer

  3. HI Carrie,

    At the moment I’m using MAMP Pro, Transmit (FTP Client) and WP Migrate BD Pro. To be honest, I think this is an overly elaborate workflow. It would be particularly good to replace WP Migrate BD Pro, because I often find this to be a little temperamental.

    I’m probably being dense here, but are you saying that DesktopServer not only allows you to setup a local development environment, but also enables you to post that site (files and DB) directly to the remote server, and thereafter keep the two sites synced. If this is true, it’s awesome.

    I notice, however that you say “I can’t use DesktopServer’s quick deploy to push those changes because it replaces the entire live site.”

    What would be great would be if there was a single piece of software that did these things:

    1. Enabled the setting up of a local dev environment (AMP Stack).
    2. Automatically set up WP on a remote server.
    3. Transferred the DB and all files to the remote server.
    4. Had a sync button to enable yo to keep both sites synced.
    5. Allowed you to only update altered or specific files.
    6. Allow live sites to be synced in a similar way.

    Am I asking too much?

    P.S. Pokemon Go rocks 🙂

  4. Thanks so much for putting all this together. Great tips and tools mentioned. Back in January, I got really excited when I did my first “push” (local to live) with Backup Buddy, so I wrote a little about it: https://leehblue.com/backupbuddy-more-than-just-backups/

    Recently, I’ve been working with a theme that require Jetpack for social media sharing. The trouble with Jetpack is that you have to “activate” it which requires your site to be reachable online. So, unless you point a live domain to your dev site, that’s a problem. You can put Jetpack in “developer” mode (https://jetpack.com/support/development-mode/) which gives you access to some of Jetpack’s functionality without “activating” it. But then your local and live DB’s get out of sync. So when you push local to live, (replacing the live config settings) your live site’s Jetpack gets deactivated.

    A similar problem, although to a lesser degree, are plugins that lock down security. Often times you want to have a tighter security setup for your live site than your local dev site. For example, utilizing a shared black list of bad bots, spammers, etc.

    So then I was thinking well… maybe I’ll just sync a couple of the DB tables, not the whole enchilada, when I push from local to live. But then that required me to know which tables each plugin uses so I know which tables to push and which ones to leave alone. Then there’s the comments table where brand new content is created on the live site by visitors. I didn’t want to overwrite that with my local (mostly empty / out of date) comments table. It all got really messy so I cried out to Carrie for wisdom.

    Thanks so much for writing this! You’ve shared some new (to me) tools that I am excited to check out. I also feel slightly less stupid realizing that other people are having this same issue and I’m not just overlooking some obvious, easy solution.

    P.S. I really like your podcast too 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing your excellent knowledge AND humor. I’m about to embark on replacing the theme in a WordPress site, which is highly customized, antique , non responsive, had been built from scratch years ago AND the client doesn’t want the look of the site to change one speck. My head is swimming just pondering this task. Would you possibly have a recommendation for an approach?

    • Well, I have many thoughts about the client wanting it to look just the same. 🙂 As a rule of thumb, I no longer work with code from an unknown developer (as in the case of this legacy theme).

      I’d download just the database and start over redesigning the site using a base theme of your choice. Explain to the client that starting from scratch is actually LESS time-consuming (and therefore less expensive) than trying to modify legacy code of an unknown quality.

  6. Sorry, i mean, my question is:

    I have bought your Utility pro theme. And, i’ve never receive update from your theme. Since, WordPress has done many updates recently.

    • Oh! I got ya. The current version of UP is 1.3. You can always download the latest copy from your account area. You do not, however, *have* to update the theme (although here are instructions for manually updating). None of the updates in WordPress have necessitated a change/update to UP. If you get stuck or have questions, drop a line through the support forum on store.carriedils.com. 🙂

  7. Oh Carrie, thank you SO much for taking time to answer my question!! Yes, I have many thoughts too about the client wanting it to look the same, but wow do non-visual clients get married to the familiar. This is historically for me a major migraine, so I’ve learned not to wrestle against it like I used to – and it’s the main reason I switched to web design from graphic design, where this syndrome is a zillion times worse. I could talk way too long about this… but I won’t. 🙂 I will proceed as you have recommended – I know you are absolutely correct that this will be easier starting from scratch using a strong base theme. Thanks from the bottom of my heart! ! !

  8. Love reading other developers workflows. Glad you mentioned Mergebot, it could be the magic bullet that a lot are looking for.

    I’ve written an article on workflows but more from a start to finish process (that involves BackupBuddy) – http://www.developersworkflow.com… would love an opinion on it, always looking to improve.

  9. To get around the merge-bot issues, I only work with the live database and then pull it down to local. This way, there is only 1 source of truth and the staging and local servers act as backups as well. Code up / data down. : )

  10. 2 questions:

    1. Using Desktop Server, don’t you find it leaves a lot of things broken when you push – e.g. references to the development temporary domain, and beaver builder stuff broken?

    2. Isn’t there a way to develop an instance in the cloud that doesn’t require spinning up an ec2 server or something, modifying it at will in the cloud – different plugin configs, theme configs, beaver setups, and pushing it to hosting somewhere on demand to form the basis for a new client site?

    • Hey Asher,

      I haven’t run into the reference issue other than sometimes serialized data is not updated correctly (usually fixed by running Better Search and Replace plugin on whatever instances aren’t behaving). Have you contacted the Beaver Builder team about it?

      I don’t have a workflow for your second scenario, but I’m sure you could. My issue there is that I’d still want to be able to develop locally, free of any online dependencies.

      Since I’ve written this article, I’ve tried out Local by Flywheel. It’s a free alternative to DesktopServer although it’s deployment strength is specifically to Flywheel hosting versus DS which makes it easy to deploy to any host. But it does support PHP 7 which DS doesn’t offer yet. I’ve also tried Vagrant, Docker, and some other local server environment options. I’ve found that every one of them will make you want to throw your computer out of a second-story window at some time or another. 🙂

      Check out the blog at deliciousbrains.com. They’ve got some great (and highly technical) articles on workflows you might find helpful.

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