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The unexpected discontinuation of Mountee (as of EE 2.8) has caught many ExpressionEngine users on the wrong foot, and left them holding back with updates or struggling to adapt to new workflows.

Instantly, various commenters came forward, calling Mountee's approach broken and touting that Using Git and Saving templates as files were superior. Albeit, there are valid reasons to believe that the Mountee wasn't all bad.

So,

  1. What simple and efficient workflow – or which set of tools – are fit to replace Mountee in building, deploying and maintaining EECMS-powered websites?
  2. Are there step-by-step tutorials to support users coming from Mountee that convey the herefore required knowledge?
  3. What is the role of Git in said solution, and what are its advantages and drawbacks?

(Git may well be part of the ideal solution, but for an unexperienced user, it involves a steep learning curve; and it might be overkill for non-distributed developer environments.)

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3 Answers 3

I don't think it's left that many short to be honest.

Most developers I'm aware of save their templates as files.

Whilst I'd always recommend having version control in place, you don't need it, you can still save templates as files without Git.

As for tutorials, the Ellislab docs are pretty explicit about how it's done.

The learning curve for Git isn't that steep in my humble opinion. There are a number of Git GUI apps out there that install Git for you and make committing changes very simple.

Granted if you wanted to take the workflow a little further, there's some additional setup involved.

Mountee assumes that you're also working on the live site and I don't know why any developer would ever do that - it's a recipe for disaster.

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1  
The only thing I would add here is using a hosted Git service like Beanstalk with deployment built-in makes the deployment side of things a lot easier. One click FTPs everything up, so you don't need to become familiar with SSHing into servers to clone and pull repositories. Combine that with a desktop tool like Tower, and it's really not that much different than the MountEE experience. –  Jeremy Gimbel Jul 16 at 3:15
    
I'd add a vote for Bitbucket (free private repos) and DeployHQ (free for 1 project, pretty cheap thereafter). –  foamcow Jul 16 at 8:25
    
Definitely, we use DeployHQ but we also have some projects where we have Git on the production server with a repo mirrored there and we can push directly to prod ghijk.co.uk/blog/article/git-deployments –  Steven Grant Jul 16 at 19:21

Mountee shutting down forced me to change my workflow as well. Here's what's working for me:

  1. Save templates as files.
  2. Buy Coda 2 (panic.com)
  3. Setup a site in Coda with a local git repository, and the web server as the remote location.

When I start implementing a new feature, I edit templates on the remote server. When it's all working, I sync everything back to local, and do a Git Commit. Then I sync templates on the server.

The Git repository on my local machine is in Dropbox, so that stuff is backed up as well, and is available on my other machines as well.

The only thing this doesn't work for (that Mountee did) is Global Variables and Snippets, but I've been using "In" from Causing Effect more in place of snippets anyway.

I hope that makes sense.

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Run a local dev server on your machine. To make life easy use MAMP, XAMPP, or similar. Maybe try Virtual Box/Vagrant if you're feeling saucy. I'm on a Mac so I use MAMP Pro and SequelPro to manage server and database.

Install Git on your local machine.

Set up a remote private Git repo at Bitbucket/Github. Bitbucket is free, even for private repos.

Set up your EE project with Focus Labs Config. Save templates as files (at least for dev).

Work on your project in your favourite editor/IDE (I like Sublime Text). Push your work to the remote Git Repo.

Use DeployHQ to deploy to a remote staging server or client preview server.

Use DeployHQ to deploy to the production server.

Because you're using Focus Labs Config, you can have different settings based on the environment so, for instance, you might opt to have templates served from the database on production.

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