I need to build several highly customized WordPress instances beyond look and feel changes. For example, in one of the instances, any categories with children need to display in its own dropdown on the post edit page. I can not use multi-site setup as each instances may need to be highly customized.
I would also like to have these individual projects to share the same base code, i.e. standard WordPress installation with some shared logic like security patches, caching, and so on.
Currently, I have the following layout in my source control:
wordpress_base contains the wordpress source tree. project1 and project2 contains only the files that are changed for customization. During deployment, my ant script will combine wordpress_base with the custom code from a specific project.
Is this a good way to manage mutliple WordPress source code? I have no expertise in php/wordpress development. Feel free to let me know what I am doing is stupid and suggest the right approach.