The more I was digging into rails, the more I fell in love with SASS, Coffeescript, HAML and rails routing. Wordless by weLaika is a great attempt at bringing these technologies to the Wordpress workflow. I recommend checking it out.
Also check out his Wordmove gem for Capistrano style site publishing, including database copy.
I use a modified version to do database only transfers and deploy theme files and site assets via git.