Testing and Development

It is really surprising that it took this long for me to build a test environment for my blog.

WordPress 2.1 is out now, as most of you are aware. I’ve been looking forward to it. To make sure that it’ll be safe to upgrade I’ve started my own test environment, which I intend to keep around to work on new things for the blog. Upgrading means testing and usually upgrading plugins, tweaking my themes, and tweaking my scripts for changes in the blog. With a growing number of plugins it starts being a chore.

As a system administrator I encourage my users to not test things on their production systems. “The first time you do something should never be on a production system,” I say. I try to practice this myself. Little changes often have big results, and with a growing readership people comes improved chances of someone noticing when I break things. Test and development environments also mean that I can walk away from whatever I’m working on. I can break things, walk away for a while, and then come back without worrying that a reader had trouble with something. Very liberating.

I will probably upgrade to 2.1 sometime later this week. I am faced with the additional hurdle that it requires MySQL 4.0 or higher. My current server is running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, with MySQL 3. I’ve been waiting for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 to ship before I upgrade anything. With my new system for copying and synchronizing the two environments I can move it easily. I’ll probably move it to a different machine temporarily and await Red Hat’s new OS.

I’ve already got my DNS time-to-live set to 300 seconds. 🙂