Standard LAMP stack: CentOS, Apache, PHP, MySQL plus Java (via Google Web Tools), eclipse, mercurial
Currently we have a manual integration step where a feature branch is pushed to a staging server where QA tests the feature by poking at it with the GUI. We use a shared dev database. We're running into the problem where feature branches require different database schema creating a bottleneck between feature branch development and acceptance testing.
We'd like to start having separate dev databases but do not know how to handle populating the database with test data (the web app requires some base amount of data to be present to start up i.e. users) and keep that test data in sync with the merging of feature branches, etc.
I read lots of suggestions and tools regarding database schema changes, but not managing database test data. We're only a two person shop so keeping things simple is important. We've thought of just maintaining scripts (SQL files or otherwise) to populate the test database.
Does anyone have resources, success stories, or advice to share?