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How to Leverage Version Control Management in WordPress

I have never thought that reverting to the previous version could be so arduous, until some coding issue has left me with no other choice but to revert to the previous version. It made me realized that how imperative the version control systems are and how they can help us in managing source code and distributed versions.

From quite some time, version control has been playing an internal part for the core development of WordPress, hence, it is very difficult to incorporate a proper version control in the platform. Though, with the increasing complexities of web development has made version control ubiquitous on the front end as well as on the back end, but it is still very challenging to manage stuff like plugin settings, databases and themes across the distributed teams. To solve this issue, developers are creating a WordPress plugin, which is named as VersionPress.

VersionPress will use the Git repository for storing all the files and databases by combining Git with the WordPress interface. It thus, allows users to update changes or undo them when required.

What is Git?

As you know, with WordPress changes are irreversible. It thus, makes it really hard to switch to previous version, if once you have moved to another version. But Git, a version control management system, records the revisions that can be used in situations when code goes haywire, and allows one to restore their files.

How does VersionPress works?

Activates with a click

initialize-buttonSince, VersionPress will come to you in the form of a plugin, you can easily activate or deactivate it with a click like any other plugin. Once it is activated, a new menu will prompt in front of you, where it will store a list of all the activities that have occurred on the website.

Tracks each move

After following certain easy step, you will be able to connect your file system and database to a Git repository. The moment you are done with the initial step, your VersionPress will be ready for tracking all the changes. It runs smoothly and noiselessly at the back end, and tracks each and every activity that happened in the website. It could be installation of a new plugin, deactivation of a plugin, updating post or page, comments post and much more.

It will epitomize all the tracked information in a well organized fashion using a table with columns holding date of occurrence, Git ID number of the record, and descriptive message about the occurred event.

Super cool feature

Multiple users can access a website. Once users visit a page their each and every activity is recorded in the database of VersionPress. Since, it will record all the events and is connected to the Git, it facilitates user to undo any change that has been made.

In its table, there are two options corresponding to each activity. These options are “Undo this” or “Revert to this”.

    • Undo this: As mentioned before, VersionPress allows the user to undo any activity. Each activity features an option “Undo this”. Clicking on which, that particular activity or change would be removed from the website. Unlike Microsoft Word, it can undo the required changes without affecting the other changes.

feature-revert-300x114For instance you have edited a new post to your website, and now you want to undo it. You can easily do this by clicking on “Undo this”.

  • Revert to this: This feature facilitates the user to switch to any historical activity or change. Each recorded change/activity, except the latest change made, has an option “Revert to this”. By clicking on this option for a particular activity, it will bring the site back to a required state.

feature-revert-300x114For example- in case, if you revert to a change that has been made just before installing a plugin, then it will uninstall that plugin without leaving a proof of its existence in the database and the file system.

Better from traditional backups

Though, VersionPress has not been designed to be used for taking backups, but indeed, it offers a great way of taking backups of all the files.

  • Since, traditional method will take backup of everything after a fixed interval, it will add duplicate data that has been already backed up in previous run. Whereas, VersionPress works with Git, which creates file backup whenever a logical event has occurred. Thus, VersionPress makes an efficient use of VersionPress.
  • Unlike traditional backup methods, VersionPress takes backup in smaller file size. Hence, consumes little disk space.

Did I hear testing

With this functionality, VersionPress may sound like an all-rounder to you. Along with amazing features like undo, it also offers great help in testing. Testing of websites that are made in WordPress is not an easy task. Only advance users or developers can accomplish it successfully.

Following the testing in a tradition way can consume hours or even days. There is a probability of loosing all changes that have been made during the testing phase; it may include some new registered users, posts, or comments. In order to retain all such changes, we have to merge them back to the running website. And it is again a very hard job.

Thanks to VersionPress. It offer a convenient and effective alternative. Since, it stores the data in Git repository and follows the Internet format, it facilitates the merging of two websites with ease.

Wrapping Up

VersionPress is still running in its Alpha stage and its promising professional features has already gathered many eyes. Its goal is to further reduce the complexities of WordPress with usable and useful means that can be processed by everyone (developer or layman). It uses Git in an innovative manner and is an upcoming handy tool is versatile enough to attract users.


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Maria Mincey

I really love WordPress - it is indeed the best CMS on the web. It is no wonder why so many people use it to build websites. I hope my articles will help you to understand it better. LinkedIn

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