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WordPress and Git


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A talk I gave at WordCamp UK 2013 in Lancaster, about using Git with WordPress: how to structure your project, what to ignore, etc.

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WordPress and Git

  1. 1. WordPress and Git Rob Miller • @robmil
  2. 2. • I’ve been using WordPress since 0.72 • These days I’m Head of Digital at Big Fish, a branding/marketing/ design/digital/etc. consultancy based in West London • We use WordPress for all our sites • We’ve been using Git with WordPress for just over two years now
  3. 3. Background
  4. 4. • I first gave a version of this talk at WP London in November • Turns out: it’s hard to teach people Git in an hour • So I’m going to focus on WordPress • What are the things to watch out for if you’re using Git when developing WordPress sites/plugins?
  5. 5. A crash course in Git
  6. 6. Git? Huh? • A version control system (VCS) • Track changes to your files over time • Revert to any point in the past • Branch to work on different features simultaneously • Great for teams — no need to manually integrate work
  7. 7. Git’s advantages • Works offline — commit, branch, do anything, without an internet connection and without having to connect to another server • Fast, fast, fast • Branching is cheap (and amazing)
  8. 8. Distributed version control • Git is distributed • cf. centralised systems like CVS, SVN • Everyone has a fully functioning repository, with a full history • There’s not necessarily a central, authoritative repository — forks are first-class citizens
  9. 9. Getting into Git • Sign up for GitHub • Read • git init and start playing!
  10. 10. Setting up a WordPress project
  11. 11. • What to ignore • Dealing with uploads • What to do with core files
  12. 12. What to ignore?
  13. 13. Configuration files
  14. 14. • Configurations are different between development, staging, and live • How do you manage these changed configurations without having the changes show up as modifications? • How do you store configurations (so that new team members have them) while allowing them to be changed if necessary?
  15. 15. • Simplest solution: add your config files to your .gitignore • Store sample config files that people can duplicate as appropriate • Works okay, but can be better • Two better options: switch when a file exists, or switch based on hostname
  16. 16. 1. if ( file_exists( ‘local-config.php’ ) { 2. require_once ‘local-config.php’; 3. } else { 4. // Live settings 5. define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost’); 6. define(‘DB_USER’, ‘example’); 7. define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘example’); 8. define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘wordpress’); 9. } File-based switching
  17. 17. 1. if ( 2. preg_match( 3. ‘/^dev./’, 4. $_SERVER[‘HTTP_HOST’] 5. ) 6. ) { 7. require_once ‘wp-config-dev.php’; 8. } else { 9. require_once ‘wp-config-live.php’; 10. } Host-based switching
  18. 18. • Decide whether having a config file that isn’t tracked is a benefit • Do individual devs on your team want to make config changes that don’t get checked in? • You can always do both! Check for a file, then fall back to host-based switching
  19. 19. Uploads
  20. 20. • Are uploads code, or content? • If they’re code, it makes sense for them to be in version control • If they’re content, it makes sense for them not to be • But isn’t the answer… both?
  21. 21. • No easy solution • Option one: ignore them entirely • Option two: ignore them and add them manually • Option three: ignore them and try to add them automatically/periodically
  22. 22. • Ignoring them entirely is definitely the cleaner solution • But it’s untenable for us — we want people to be able to clone a repo and have a working site, not one with broken images everywhere • So we track them, and periodically add new uploads from live • Is still ugly, though
  23. 23. WordPress core files
  24. 24. • Put WordPress in its own folder • Define WP_CONTENT_DIR and WP_CONTENT_URL • Bingo: you have a wp/ directory that you can happily erase/overwrite without affecting your custom files
  25. 25. • You end up with:
  26. 26. • To submodule or not to submodule, though? • Submodules are, like SVN’s externals, a way to have a repository within a repository • Seems tempting, right? Track a tag on the WordPress GitHub, and then updating WordPress is just a git checkout away
  27. 27. • Unless you’re very aware of the caveats: don’t do it to yourself! • Synchronisation issues — it’s possible for different devs to have different WordPress versions, which is bad • Conflict resolution is nonexistent • It generally adds complexity and another point of failure in your process
  28. 28. Core and Plugins
  29. 29. • Dealing with the plugins repository • Dealing with the core SVN repository • Generally: bypassing SVN
  30. 30. • WordPress is, for better or for worse (ok, for worse) an SVN ecosystem • But we can deal with that without having to lower ourselves to using SVN • git-svn to the rescue
  31. 31. • git-svn is a built-in Git tool • Allows you to interact with (so checkout, update, commit, etc.) SVN repositories directly in Git
  32. 32. 1. # Create the repository from the remote: 2. git-svn clone -s 3. # Make some Git commits of your work 4. git commit -m “Something interesting” 5. # Get any new commits from SVN: 6. git-svn rebase 7. # Create an SVN commit for each Git commit: 8. git-svn dcommit A git-svn workflow
  33. 33. • Although you’re using SVN, you don’t actually have to use SVN • You get to use all the features of Git — use it offline, branch cheaply, etc. • You’ve got a Git repository, so you can use GitHub to collaborate with others • Nobody needs to know you’re using Git; externally, it just looks like SVN What does this mean?
  34. 34. • Another option worth mentioning: • Just using them both at the same time • Ignore .svn in Git; ignore .git in SVN • Commit to each one independently, as and when you please • So maybe use Git for actual VCS and SVN only for releases; YMMV
  35. 35. • What about when you don’t have commit access, though? (e.g. core) • You can still generate patches from Git
  36. 36. • git diff --no-prefix > ~/feature.diff • Generates an SVN-compatible diff that can be applied, as normal, with patch -p0 • To make it the default: • git config --global diff.noprefix true