How to set up a friction free development setup

So, I keep saying in #symfony (freenode IRC) “I need to blog about my setup”. So, here it is.

Required Software

For my current setup, you’ll need to buy two pieces of software.

If you use a Mac

  1. Parallels Desktop for Mac — $79.99 (on sale for $49.99 in the iStack Mac Bundle)
  2. Your favorite linux distribution

If you use a Windows machine, I don’t have a recommended virtual machine but I bet Parallels Workstation is reasonable.

HOLD IT! I’m not going to BUY software!

Then fine, don’t. Enjoy your fiddling. Enjoy tweaking. Enjoy not working. My goal is to just get stuff done. And besides — how much money do you make a year doing this stuff anyway? If you can’t afford $80 in tools to do your job better, you’re doing it wrong. If you really can’t afford it, make the case to your boss. Download the demos and see the value. Don’t have a boss? Then you’re really in trouble.

ANYWAY

I say your favorite linux distribution because it really doesn’t matter. The more you know about it, the less time you spend fiddling. For me, that’s CentOS. For you, it could be Dumbledebian 5.4.2 XXL. It doesn’t matter.

Installation

First, install your virtual machine. Set it up so it can talk to your computer, and the internet at large.

Next, decide a name for it. I call mine ‘linux’. Fancy, eh?

Now, edit your /etc/hosts file on both your local machine and your VM. Add your VMs IP and point it to ‘linux’. This is important. Now ‘linux’ refers to the VM on both your computer and the VM. That means in your db config, you can say to use ‘linux’ as the host, and it will work locally and remotely.

Here’s my /etc/hosts addition:

10.211.55.4     linux

Now it’s time for the special sauce. The magic. The thing that makes this all worth it.

For this purpose, I will assume all of your development stuff lives within ~/Projects

On your Mac, export your home directory over your VM’s network (/etc/exports):

/Users/[username] -mapall=[username] -network=10.211.55.0 -mask=255.255.255.0

and on your linux VM (/etc/fstab):

10.211.55.2:/Users/[username]  /home/[username]   nfs          rw            0    0

Now to assist your path parity (so that things understand where they live, since OS X uses /Users and linux uses /home), what I did was simply symlink /Users to /home on my OS X and symlink /home to /Users on the VM

#desktop
ln -sf /Users /home
 
#VM
ln -sf /home /Users

Now you just configure your apache:

<Directory /home/[username]>
  Options FollowSymLinks
  AllowOverride All
</Directory>
<VirtualHost *:80>
  DocumentRoot /home/[username]/Projects
  ServerName linux
  ErrorLog /var/log/httpd/linux.error_log
  CustomLog /var/log/httpd/linux.access_log combined
  RewriteLog /var/log/httpd/linux.rewrite_log
</VirtualHost>

Restart your nfsd locally, and apache remotely, and remount /home/user on your linux vm, and you should be ready to enjoy some frictionless development. Work locally in your favorite IDE (I like PHPStorm), and via the magic of NFS, your changes are automatically running in an actual linux environment.

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