Version Control System for WordPress
What is Version Control
Version control protects source code from human error and unintended consequences. Development teams are continually writing new source code and changing existing source code, often at the same time. Version control keeps track of every change to the code by every person that touches the code. If an error occurs, teams can turn back the clock and compare earlier versions of the code to help fix the error while minimizing disruption to all team members.
Great version control supports a developer’s preferred workflow without imposing one particular way of working. Teams that do not use version control often run into problems like not knowing which changes that have been made are available to users or the creation of incompatible changes between two unrelated pieces of work that must then be painstakingly untangled and reworked.
VersionPress and WP Migrate DB Pro together make a powerful WordPress version control solution. In other words between these two plugins you can easily manage version control on PHP files, plugins and databases.
Why is Version Control Important
Complete long-term change history.
Record every change made by many individuals over the years. Changes include the creation and deletion of files as well as edits to their contents. Having the complete history enables going back to previous versions to help in root cause analysis for bugs and it is crucial when needing to fix problems in older versions of software.
Branching and merging.
Allowing teams to work concurrently is an efficient modern best practice, but even individuals working on their own can benefit from the ability to work on independent streams of changes. Creating a “branch” keeps multiple streams of work independent from each other while also providing the facility to merge that work back together, enabling developers to verify that the changes on each branch do not conflict.
Being able to trace each change made and annotate each change with a message describing the purpose and intent of the change can help with root cause analysis and other forensics. Having the annotated history of the code at your fingertips when you are reading the code, trying to understand what it is doing and why it is so designed can enable developers to make correct and harmonious changes that are in accord with the intended long-term design of the system.
WordPress Version Control Components
Version Control for WordPress must account for PHP Files, Plugins and Databases.
The bulk of the core WordPress software is written in PHP, which makes PHP a very important language for the WordPress community.
The tens of thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins out in the WordPress plugins marketplace today are all written using PHP.
WordPress uses MySQL as its database management system. MySQL is used to create databases, store and get data when requested.
What Changes Can Happen In WordPress
Updates to PHP Code.
There will be times when it will become necessary to update the PHP code within your WordPress theme’s folder. The code being implemented could change the look of your website, how it functions with installed plugins or perhaps tracks vital traffic metrics. Whatever the case may be, having a reliable version control system in place can help make sense of it all.
Every WordPress developer knows that installing, removing or updating a plugin can have a huge impact on your website. This is especially true for websites that have a significant library of plugins installed. Some plugins may not play well with your chosen theme while other plugins may conflict with each other. Version Control can help to keep track of the plugin chaos and help lead to quicker resolutions.
Updates to Databases.
Databases play a significant role within the WordPress content management system. From pages to posts, to plugins and themes. Everything is powered off of databases. Keeping track of changes to these databases is yet another crucial component to a successful WordPress version control system.