VersionPress is a Crowd-funded WordPress plugin that whilst in development, hopes to bring proper GIT-based version control to your WordPress site. The version control plugin will keep your WordPress files and Database in GIT allowing easy reversion of changes, easy reversion of updates and site staging. If the Crowd-funding of $30,000 is funded the plugin will be made available to the public for free. The plugin is being developed by Borek Bernard, a long time software developer based in the Czech Republic, and Jan Voráček, a PHP developer and colleague of Borek.
You will see shortly a little more detail on all the features of VersionPress, but if they are successful this will be “THE” most powerful version control plugin for WordPress, and has the potential to transform how people interact and develop WordPress. We cannot stress enough how much more advanced having a GIT integrated version control will be, beating even integrated systems such as SiteGround’s staging tools, or other more limited plugins such as SitePush.
What will the VersionPress WordPress Plugin do?
1. Versions the Whole Site
VersionPress doesn’t take snapshots at specific times or schedule. Versions of your site take place with every single action you take, whether it is a plugin update, theme change or some other admin action. Everything is covered.
2. Quick Undo of specific actions at any time
As we have mentioned above, because all actions are covered by versioning individually it means that each action can be undone individually. It is this functionality that will make this plugin so great. What’s more, you can easily undo each action with a simple click of a button, or revert to a specific state undoing all the changes to that point. This is very powerful, making great use of GIT functionality.
3. Roll back changes without affecting newer updates
If you thought this plugin couldn’t get any better, it has! You will have the ability to revert specific actions without affecting newer changes. One great example is that you could revert to an older theme without affecting newer content or other updates made to the site. This functionality is not common, and in fact we don’t know of any other plugin that can.
4. Easy Site Staging
Whilst not much information has been released on how the Site Staging functionality will work, just knowing it is using GIT means that it is likely to be incredibly powerful. What GIT will do is only push actual changes that have been made to the Production (live) site, making the sync fast and reliable.
5. Granular WordPress Backups
Wow, just wow… another feature we just want. Due to the way GIT works, each change you make to WordPress is automatically backed up. Because only the changes to the files or databases are saved, the backups are extremely space efficient. This is especially so when it comes to databases, as usually each time a backup of a database is taken the whole database must be exported even though 99% of the information is already in a previous backup. With VersionPress, only the changes are saved with each backup saving massive amounts of disk space.
6. Respects your development workflow
You do not need to make changes through the WordPress interface for the changes to be recorded. Whether you like to develop via the command line, or another external software or tool VersionPress has you covered.
The Crowd-funding Campaign
We really want to see this plugin developed. Getting a version control plugin such as this is like having Christmas and winning the lottery all in one. Whilst VersionPress is a prototype, we have already seen enough functionality (we were lucky enough to see an early working prototype video not for public release) and therefore have no doubt the capabilities of these developers to get this project completed. They just need your help with funding. You can contribute via versionpress.net. The Crowd-funding follows the Kickstarter model and if the total amount of funds ($30,000) are not reached by the end of June, all monies will be returned.
At the date of this article the VersionPress is only 39% funded with only 6 days left to go, and when we queried Borek with whether they anticipate being able to reach their goal they said:
As for the funding goal, we are having some interesting conversation behind the scenes and there is still a couple of days left so there’s hope (many crowd-funding projects look like this:
So whilst they are cutting it fine, we hope that with a final push and a little more publicity this will easily get funded. This plugin is just too great to let it pass us by.
There are a number of different packages you can purchase as part of the crowd-funding campaign, ranging from just being a “fan” at $5, getting a working version of the plugin with “support” for $20 or from $50 you can get early access. There are some opportunities to be a larger sponsor too:
When is VersionPress expected to be released?
VersionPress is expected to release a “Version 1” in Q4 2014 which will incorporate all the main features and will be designed to work with a relatively clean or mildly customized WordPress instance. Those with “Early Access” and above backing should see an early version at some time during the summer. After version 1 they will focus on supporting more complex WordPress plugins as well as ensuring it works in as many hosting environments as possible.
If this is as good as we believe it to be, this will easily rank on all the “top 10” or “must have” WordPress plugin lists. Hell, we are salivating in anticipation. Please help this get funded!
UPDATE: 5th July 2014
So it looks like the crowd-funding fell short by about 50%. The good news is that they have decided to make the plugin anyway, and you can still contribute (see link above) to get early access to the plugin. This is pretty dam awesome, and we cannot wait to take this plugin for a spin.