My Local Web Development Environment Overhaul Pt. 6 – Version Control System

If you’ve been doing development very long, chances are you have had at least one “OH CRAP” or maybe even it’s big brother “OH S…” moments when you realized that you’d just deleted something you can’t get back, overwrote some bit of very complex code or done some similar bone-headed thing that wound up causing you a lot of pain. Had you had a good version control system in place and operating, you’d not have needed to uttered either of those phrases.

At their most basic, version control systems are nothing more than a historical record of every change made to the files that are contained in them. Now, most modern systems have many more functions that just that, but at the core, that’s what they are designed to do–make it possible to recover historical versions of various assets.

Read More

My Local Web Development Environment Overhaul Pt. 5 – IDE

I realize it’s been just over a month since the last post in this series and for that I offer my apologies. Several things, both work-related and personal have kept me very busy over the last month–hence the couple of short posts in the interim. However, I didn’t want to let this series die before it was finished so I’m going to attempt to wrap up the last two parts in the next few days.

This entry in the series is going to focus on my editor-of-choice–features, a gotcha or two, and why I chose to standardize on it.

Read More

My Local Web Development Environment Overhaul Pt. 4 – Database Server

This entry in my series detailing how I have my development environment set up will deal with databases. This is going to be a somewhat shorter post than the others simply because there isn’t as much customization to be done in this area as some of the others.

For any client that I have a voice in selecting the database back end for, I generally choose MySQL. There is a myriad of places around the Internet that detail the advantages and disadvantages of MySQL when compared to the other popular database systems, so I won’t go into that here. However, the two main reasons I choose it are price (hard to beat free for the community edition) and its ability to run on nearly any platform. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it scales very well and has several options for graphically managing the schemas and data it contains.

Read More

My Local Web Development Environment Overhaul Pt. 2 – Web Server

As web developers, one of the most under-appreciated pieces of software in our arsenal is the web server software that answers the calls from the masses of visitors that want nothing more than to pour over every word and image that we put on our sites. Ok, “masses” and “pour over” may be a bit of an over characterization, but you get my point. Without that critical piece of the developer’s toolbox, getting to all the sweet, whiz-bang stuff that we develop on a daily basis wouldn’t be nearly as simple as it is today. Yet, many developers don’t understand how to make their web server software go from an afterthought to an integral part of making your development process more efficient.

Read More