Summary: Web applications packages lack currently a framework to support multi-site and a decent upgrading path. It should be possible to selectively upgrade multiple copies (with shared parts) of a web application and possibly upgrading templates without removing admin changes and customizations. The tools should support apache and php as well as other httpd server and dynamic content generating languages (perl, tcl, python, etc.). Basically it would be some kind of advancement of ucf. A prototype package exists can be a very good start, it's called "webapps-common" and is hosted on Alioth : http://alioth.debian.org/projects/webapps-common/
- basic programming in shell and/or perl
Description: Most of web applications are installed as a bounce of scripts, templates, images and other stuff in a single tree. Generally the administrator needs to install a different copy of the tree for each site (s)he supports. Every tree has its own customization, in terms of code/template changes, additional stuff and so on. The goal of this project is creating both a packaging tool and an administration tool (also for non-packaged web app) in order to support multi-site installations and upgrades by comparing web-app distribution stuff to all customized trees and installing just updates of non custom files, as well as showing diffs for all . This is not intended for major upgrades, but is specifically useful for simplifying security support and minor fixes.
References : There is already a Subversion repository hosted by the Debian Project for webapps purposes. That SVN repository hosts packages maintained by the team as well as the source of the webapps-common prototype package : http://svn.debian.org/wsvn/webapps-common