[Catalyst] Post deployment application management

Bill Moseley moseley at hank.org
Thu Sep 14 15:33:16 CEST 2006

I built an application for a non-profit.  The application is under
subversion which includes most of the layout templates, css, and
javascript.  I'm now looking for ideas to help them manage the
application and associated content.

The non-profit has about four people that maintained the site.  Their
server is "managed" by their isp, so in the past their role (and
expertise) was limited to basically using ftp to update the site's
content.  In fact, they shared an single unix account and some used
plain-text ftp (from internet cafes!) to update the site from their
Mac and Windows clients.  As you might guess, the content was a mix of
line endings and character encodings.  There was even some php!

Clearly, not a good setup.

The new application stores content in the database, but there's also
quite a bit of content that still must be managed on disk.  The
content is a mix of file types, and totals over ten gigabytes.

My current suggestion is for them (well, me) to put all their content
under subversion and bite the bullet and learn how to use the shell
(ok, the Windows users can use TortoiseSVN). [1]

That would get them off ftp, and allow for a little better user and
revision management, and also help with line endings.  File encoding
is still an issue, although maybe a post-commit hook could try and
detect and re-encode to utf-8.

Any other suggestions other than subversion?

I doubt they are ready (technically or financially) for larger cms/scm
such as Perforce.

Another "deployment" question: I have a staging server (well, it's on
the same machine) where they can view and test changes.  I'd like to
have that server get automatically updated with changes quickly after
checkins.   Any ideas other than having cron run svn update every few
minutes (e.g.  perhaps a post-commit script)?

[1] I downloaded a Mac subversion GUI client.  Seemed to take a
somewhat easy process (command line svn) and make it very complex.

Bill Moseley
moseley at hank.org

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