testing workflow

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Hi All,

I'm still trying to get started using the shopify API to create a private app for a small business.  I'm a little confused on the best method for staging/testing.  Right now I setup the store with most of the configuration and settings I want.  I'm working on a some scripts to batch things back and forth between the store and some pre-existing custom inventory system.  What is the best way to test things at first before going live and then later how do I test after going live?  Most notably if I have to add features or update the shopify API I'm using when it becomes deprecated?

For example should I have a production store and a testing store ?  And test my app changes against the separate testing store before running it against the production store?

Furthermore what is a good strategy for testing hooks?  Just do manual testing through the testing store and setup a public staging server to receive the callbacks?