Tired of clients asking to “put that thing back we had 5 months ago”? Meeee too.
I wanted to share a strategy I use for my own version control" in SiteJet. Getting in the habit of doing this will help you in the long run and save you tons of time and headaches.
Clients, or you, want to reinstate content from a long time ago. For example, they may go through months of feedback after deleting an element in feedback prior. You designed a certain few elements, and they struck them and went with another. Then, their CEO gives feedback and says he wants it the first way. Without a mini-version control, you’ll have to spend all that time redesigning the component you made. Maybe it’s easy, maybe it’s hard - but it’s still wasting your time.
- At the beginning of every project, create a page called “Dev”
- Check No-index to keep it hidden from search engines
- Uncheck the menu navigation checkbox (irrelevant if you use non-autogenerated menus)
- Set a password (so if anyone accidentally lands on it, they get the password page instead)
- Use this page as a holding tank for all “scrapped” elements from the site during development.
- Simply cut/paste components/elements you would have deleted otherwise to the Dev Page
- Use containers with default width and padding to easily section off different components visually
- Just paste your component in a new, distinct container
- Alternate subtle different background colors (i.e. #fff and #eee) of the containers to help visually identify the breaks of components stored on the page
- Use headlines/text in each container, above the pasted component, to identify pages, context and reason for the element being scrapped (this makes it easier to remember later)
- If youre scrapping presets: Make sure to change the preset class of the scrapped preset component to something like …preset-[my-preset-class-scrapped] or something like that. This ensures you don’t accidentally adjust that preset whilst editing a new one, or vice versa. If you reinstate that component later, simply create a new preset class, and open the CSS to delete the old preset instance. This keeps your CSS clean from unused code.
By doing this, I have saved so many headaches of “can you put that first thing back” when the “First thing” was designed and scrapped weeks/months ago. You can keep the Dev Page during deployment if you like - I usually leave it for a while until I know the components are fully replaced and confirmed, then clean it out for posterity.
This may not be the best practice, but I hope it helps someone! Does anyone else have ideas for this topic?
-Zach, Hybrid Designer/Developer from VMD