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Easily develop and deploy web applications from subversion

by Sander Marechal

Updated 2008-28-10. Proper version control is a must for everyone who programs more than a few lines of code. Even if you develop your applications all by yourself it is very handy to be able to branch and merge your code, be able to roll back to previous versions or undo changes you made in the past. It works great for regular applications, but managing web applications or websites is a tad harder for two reason: You need a webserver to get your application going and you usually have to manage database revisions as well.

Keeping database revisions in sync with your code revisions is a complex subject that I will leave until another time. In this article I will show you how you can configure your own computer or development server in such a way that checking out or deploying a web application is just as easy as any other piece of code.

First I will show you how to configure Apache on your development server so that it picks up your checked out working copies as separate subdomains. Using this, you can simply make a checkout of your project and it will automagically be up and running. No need to touch the Apache configuration. After that I will show you how to use dnsmasq so you can achieve the same effect on your own development machine. That way you can develop your web applications locally and you won't need a central development server. In my examples I will be assuming you use subversion for your version control, but it works virtually the same with other version control packages, such as git or bazaar.

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