We have a live site that has a fairly good amount of updates every day, mostly the business users make these changes.
Our development team is also underway making big changes to the code (including some refactoring, which may require re-adding webparts and we have several webparts in site pages), upgrading to proper 2010 styling, master pages, page layouts etc in our dev servers.
Pretty soon the dev and prod content database are going to be completely different. What is the best practice to merge these?
One way I could think of is that dev should work on a baseline prod database; make code changes; freeze prod; merge the content changes from prod to dev; replace prod with the one in dev. (I'm simplifying with only two servers, but of course we have staging servers too).
Looks very round about, but is there any other way?