Here is a really neat idea for a WordPress plug-in. Maybe someday I will have time to build it. In the mean-time maybe this will be inspiration for somebody to beat me to it.
Problem: You redesigned your site locally (like you should) but you don’t have live data to test against and anyway in many cases the server for your live site is configured slightly differently. In my case, I have to interact with a server environment that is very different. I can emulate it most of the time, but sometimes I really need to test on the live server.
Solution: Setup a separate site on the server for testing. Nice. But, I really want to test it with real data. That means copying everything over.
Wouldn’t be nice if the test site could just have read-only access to the production database and uploads folder? Then anything it needs to write can go to temporary tables on the side.