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Any thoughts on web development branching methods?

From: Jack Baty
Subject: Any thoughts on web development branching methods?
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 08:55:34 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.25i

I'm using CVS almost exclusively for web development and am trying to
determine how I should handle branching.

My current method uses the typical dev/stage/production areas. Each developer
has his own sandbox. There is a single "stage" sandbox and the live site is
simply a checked out copy of the repository.

The usual chain of events is...

1. Initial development work is completed and the staging site is updated for
review by client.

2. Once approved, a copy is checked out as the "production" site.

3. I create a "release-1_0" tag on the trunk and development continues.

What I'd like to do is determine the best way to handle development,
branching and tagging from this point forward.

My first thought is to create a "release-1_0-updates" branch off the
"release-1_0" branch and move the stage and live sites onto that branch.
Developers then can either continue working on the main branch heading toward
the next major update to the site, or move their sandbox to the updates
branch for minor changes and bug fixes. When release-2_0 is ready, simply
merge the release-1_0-updates and main branches, tag and branch it as
"release-2_0-updates", rinse and repeat.

It seems similar to the normal software development cycle, with a few
differences  such as files (content) that get modified on the live site by
the client (it can happen), which is why the live site is actually a working

This sound reasonable? 

Jack Baty
Fusionary Media -

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