At Category 4, we’ve always used separate servers for development work and web hosting. Though the specifics of how that’s implemented are set to change in the near future, our basic model will remain the same. Development sites get a “dev” url while live sites get (naturally) a real, live url. If you’re like me and you’ve been following ExpressionEngine’s Knowledge Base article on porting an EE site from one server to another, let me share a secret.
You’ve been doing it the hard way.
I ran across the “Find and Replace” utility months ago when I was updating a client’s posts with some revised verbage, sitewide. This handy little tool does exactly what it says – that is, lets you search various resources in your EE database and replace specified bits within. You can find the Find and Replace utility by going to the Admin tab, choosing Utilities, and clicking Find and Replace.
What I’d missed initially is that you can actually select “Site Preferences” as a find-and-replace target for one or (if you’re using the multi-site manager) multiple sites. The reason this is important is that many site preferences aren’t easily accessible any other way than, as the Knowledge Base article linked above implies, clicking through tabs and tabs of control panel options. Where before I needed to find every instance of “http://devserver.com” and change it to “http://liveserver.com” through the admin interface, now I just use the included utility.
With Category 4’s WordPress sites, we’ll typically dump the database and do a search and replace on the dump to get at all the possible locations where the address may need to be changed. For some reason (I think because EE tends to serialize data when it really doesn’t need to) that approach never worked perfectly with EE.
But that’s fine. I like this new trick.