Developing a WordPress site locally, on more than one computer

Let’s say you want to develop a WordPress site on your computer ( i.e., locally), but want to be able to work on that same site from a different computer. For instance, you are working on a site at work, but you have another computer at home, and want to easily work on the site from there.

To work on a site from two (or more) computers, you could constantly copy files back and forth, but the site content and configuration will not be the same. But you also don’t want to work straight off a hosted server, as the lag of FTP’ing changes would be slow you down.

Using the method I’m about to describe, you will be able to:

  • Make changes to your theme files
  • Add plugins
  • Create/modify content
  • Change site settings

And it will also seamlessly transfer from one computer to another.

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The future will look like Responsive Design

At the MobileUX Bar Camp in Washington DC, there was a lot of discussion around responsive design as an approach to mobile websites. There was a lot of discussion around whether it was a viable approach – as opposed to device-specific designs that are achieved with agent detection. Someone in the discussion even said that they feel like responsive design feels like a “temporary solution”.

Ultimately, I believe that the future of mobile design will look a lot like what we currently call “Responsive Design”. Though, we may not be using the particular nuts and bolts that we use today. For example, something could replace media queries. But I do think the general thinking that goes into a responsive design will be the way to go.

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The Northern Virginia Emergency Response System (NVERS) is a group whose aim is to coordinate the first responder community in Northern Virginia. It’s partners are police stations, fire departments, hospitals, EMS and other services across the region. NVERS’s mission is to provide resources across all of these partners, such as training and other information. Sometimes it helps if the fire department in one city is aware of what the police in the next city over are doing.

They were seeking to revitalize their web presence. They had an initial website that was not fully functional. Along with another designer, I brought together wireframes and a visual design very quickly, and was able to get client sign off to proceed building the actual site.

I was solely responsible for the construction of the site – both the back end and the Drupal theme for the front end. I picked contributed modules that allowed the site to get stood up quickly, and made functionality adjustments when requested by the client. I managed to get a large set of data imported as well – the complete listing of all of the NVERS partners across disciplines and jurisdictions.

One particular piece of functionality that the client was after was a tie in with social media. I was able to get the site to automatically post to Twitter when either a new blog post was published, or a new calendar event was added.

At the time of the launch, the client was very pleased with the new site. The site contained an easy to access list of partner information, a new blog, and a set of resource documents, among other features.

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