I'm the team lead of a small group of developers. My background is primarily in application development and I've worked in larger groups where version control (SVN, Git, etc.) have been used and proven very useful. I'm starting to oversee our web development, which is currently one lonely php developer, however, we will be adding a second php/web developer soon. Currently our lonely php developer programs things live (ie: he makes changes to a php file, uploads the new code, and sees what happens). I'd like to change this since this is just asking for a disaster to happen. I'm also thinking of adding some sort of version control to his process. We already have a SVN server being used for application development so I'd like to leverage that somehow. I'm looking for advice on how best to approach this and what kind of changes to make.
Should we use our existing web server for development? We could make a complete copy of the existing websites and have these copies sit on subdomains. We then make changes to these copies and if everything went OK, we synchronize the subdomains with the main sites. If this is a good approach, what set of tools (ie: software) would be best to use for the synchronization? Is there any software that could also commit these changes to the SVN server while synchronize things on the web server? The less steps are involved in these changes the better.
Or would it be better to have a completely separate server for development? The downside of this is maintenance ... we're short staffed as it is.
Any and all advice is highly appreciated. Web/PHP development is a bit different than your standard application (Java, C++, etc.) development that I'm used to so I'm definitely open to idea on how best to run this department.