Dev/test blog

It would be very helpful being able to create a test or development blog that publishes independently of the live version. This would allow one to play around with design and tweak things, without breaking anything.


Agreed! You can only get so far with draft posts (they’re fine for messing around with pages/posts in a private way, but when it comes to updating configuration and things like that, there’s no way to simulate that kind of stuff without affecting your entire weblog).

One approach might be to enable a kind of staging and production setup, with a nice “push to production” button. Your staging environment would be accessible at some kind of generic URL (and you could also turn it on/off whenever you want). Any thoughts on that approach?

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That’s a good idea, and I’m assuming could be made available via both the web and git interface? With for example, your account has a separate test blog that can have its own separate themes/templates/posts from your main blog.

I think this could be really useful. I suppose it depends on how much infrastructure toll this might have for, if everyone spun up a dev/staging environment.

I agree that this should be a setting. Perhaps somewhere near the bottom of the main weblog page, below the config/export area. Or even more hidden, as I could see this being a point of confusion for folks not familiar with this type of setup. You know, even seasoned web developers end up confusing dev/staging/prod and wondering why changes aren’t showing lol.

Some considerations I can think of:

  • if this is enabled via whatever method (UI toggle, config setting, etc), where would the interface for interacting with dev/test be? would there be an identical interface to the current web UI for dev/test?
  • what type of workflow process would there be for changes and how would they be “diffed” in the UI or would they be? I ask this as “Workflow” is a pretty hefty module in Drupal that has this type of interface in the front-end.
  • would there be a way to roll-back changes? this may be dependent on there being a Github repo associated with the weblog
  • and that brings me to: will there be a required Github repo to be associated with the weblog in order to achieve this? as that will surely leave a lot of people out

I can understand the desire to wanting this, but I can also foresee some headaches and lost folks. I have wanted a local dev version of weblog since I first started working on it, and at one time mph shared something with me that had him running one locally (I think…it has been a while) but I do like to tinker in the web UI often and I think there may still be the issue of keeping the Github workflow + the web UI stuff in sync, perhaps I’m wrong and that has been resolved…either way, I back up weblog via manual export.

I eventually came to terms with “developing in the open” since it is just a personal site and I do a lot of experimenting, I am not opposed to things breaking or being found out, it is the nature of blogging, having a “digital garden” (if I can call it that), and being a tinkerer. If I was more worried about this being a “stable” portfolio or something maybe I’d have a different idea about it. It is also helpful to have more than one address to tinker, I have found!

Since I am still writing my weblog publishing workflow post, I talk a bit about this in it, but I’ve found a way to get some stability in styling by using Firefox + Stylus. Javascript development is a little more tricky, but I am really not using much JS on weblog at all. In fact, after disabling my theme toggle until I refactor it, there is really only third-party JS now.

I am not sure if these thoughts are helpful, but I thought I should contribute.

I am also a subscriber and I don’t currently use a test blog, so I can’t comment on how that one works. I assume it does require a Github repo to be associated with it since it seems geared towards developers who are developing for, either themes or plugins.

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