Dev/Test environments?

Hi.

Does anyone have a development and/or test environment for their sites? If so, can you describe the setup?

I am wondering if can publish to a folder within the production environment that simply does not have a link access to the branch. Sort of security by ignorance.

While Preview mode is a good quick 'n dirty way to dev/test, it does not truly mimic the Production environment.

Thanks in advance for the insight.

@DaverD, The majority of native Sparkle websites are html/CSS/javascript so on this end the Preview mode is a fairly accurate representation to what you will get on your hosting platform minus all the hosting platform’s idiosyncrasies.

I do though, and it is more for my client’s needs, have a “dev” subfolder where I upload to and get client feedback plus it gives me a “show” of the Sparkle project in the wild.

@greenskin way is also my way how I do things.

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My Development/test environment is a separate domain that runs on my existing web host. I buy a promo priced/on-sale domain (1USD for example). This low price is usually good for a year. When the promo pricing ends I don’t renew the domain, I buy another one that is on promo pricing.

I do this to keep my dev/test environment completely separate (privacy/security) from my existing production environment and subject to the real world production environment of the web. It’s too easy to make a mistake in a subfolder that takes down your production environment and/or opens a security hole.

From a web hosting perspective, having a separate test domain allows me to test new web host technology and software updates. If something were to happen to my production domain, such as a hack, stolen domain, or rogue nation takedown attempt for example (I’ve seen everyone of these happen), I can redirect/upload my site to another domain. I’ve seen web developers make mistakes when testing that blocked them from their own domain.

Preview does not give an accurate representation of the push/pull of data across the web. As a content creator I have to see how my content is affected by bandwidth and link integrity. PHP functions such as forms and search cannot be tested in preview.

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Yep, that is why I mentioned the “majority of native Sparkle website’s…”.

I agree with what you have mentioned @thetravelhikelife, some points haven’t even occurred to me. But knowing that only search, forms, and thank you pages use PHP, Preview does a great job in reviewing what we are creating beforehand.

I know this goes against the norm of what is called web design out there with sever side script (aka CMS) and all but being able to develop on my secure and reliable localhost is very reassuring. But of course testing the website in the wild, including bandwidth, is a must before launch and handover.

Very interesting approach, makes sense. Thanks for your insight.

Good stuff here.

I must say that as a new Sparkle user, I am most impressed with the community that @duncan has created/nurtured. It was one of the reasons why I bought the product.

I’m hoping my questions invoke discussion that is value to others (like this one) and I am able to pay forward if/when I get up the Sparkle knowledge curve.