For most of my work projects, I was practically content with the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) setup. It’s convenient and simple. I learned most of the requirements of site building from Ubuntu and I have lived in the terminal these past few months. I rarely saw the need to go back to my Windows 8.1 personal laptop after I have learned how to navigate through Linux. I have to learn more continuously but so far, I like where I am and where I am headed, learning-wise.
One of the nice things I learned is to handle multiple Linux terminals via the TERMINATOR Linux app. At first I was faithfully using a single terminal window to everything. I realized later that I can have more than one directory open for each terminal window. The most I have used simultaneously is 5 windows open at the same time, vaguely similar to this:
I basically do everything with the terminal. My task lists, chat windows, and sometimes even my web browser is embedded on the terminal already. Nano allows me to edit text files on the fly at the terminal directory, even when I do not have the programmer odl school smarts of Vim and Emacs users.
From someone who only knew how to make blog posts and social media content in the middle of last year, I have somehow learned to tinker more in the back end for more absorbing pursuits. The shift has been a welcome and self-improving change. I will forever be grateful for the direction my life has taken.
I kept remembering what my web development mentor, Sir Ranel, advised me right from the beginning of this journey– never get too attached with any platform or tool, and to appreciate both open source and proprietary software equally. You never know when you will need to make switches. Part of being a good web developer is being flexible to accept where your needs assessment will take you.
I figured that if I just kept using Linux, I will never have that flexibility of working with a greater spectrum of tools in my new journey as web GIS developer. Linux is decidedly more hardcore; it teaches you how to earn your way into navigating the world of operations and development with savoir faire. But to just feast on Linux is tantamount to eating just one flavor of cake day in and day out. The diet needs to diversify, somehow. After I have gotten comfortable with Linux, I ventured to approach again my old OS of choice, Windows, using my new lens with which I see the computer world.
When I took the Drupal Apprentice course last month to advance my Drupal fu for personal and professional development, we were awarded with free Windows Azure hosting and a great array of nice Microsoft resources for web development. Prior to this, I was deploying projects on the cloud. I had some experience using Amazon Web Services and Digital Ocean. This was my first time to approach Windows from a web dev perspective, and it was quite a nice learning experience.
For our group project, which I had the privilege of managing/working on remotely despite my chickenpox, we created a minimalist news site with a map containing the locations of the news being published. You can still find it hosted live at binarynews.azurewebsites.net/. Git happened to be a very useful tool, although Azure also provided an option to deploy the code using FTP. I think I needed additional training which I will have to find in books, for mapping in this CMS is a highly specialized niche. But at least I managed to find myself ensconced in Drupal basics like drush, site administration, and some basic customization techniques.
I only had a bit of an issue since MySQL database creation inside of remote Azure did not allow the use of underscores or other special characters. Our local database name had an underscore. Fortunately, there was a nice guide on how to do a simple MySQL dump from my local machine to the Azure port safely.
I had a nice time with the user-friendly interface of Azure. I needed minimal assistance, and a useful guide from Microsoft website on how to deploy my local LAMP dev setup seamlessly via Git.
I think I will have to write a more detailed post in the coming days about my recent web development adventures. I currently have some work deadlines which keep me from doing so immediately. Besides, I might have to run some test on using a single bunch of code and deploying it in all three platforms to test for factors like speed, ease of use, and compatibility to skill levels of beginners. I will always treat myself like a beginner, because the developments in the web do not stop and are always changing. It’s the one job that requires so much constant upgrades from a person mentally. It’s the perfect job for people like me who never get tired of learning.
The only caveat to this new life is the trade-off in terms of time for reading fiction and other things that matter to me just as much. I might have to learn how to manage my time more or at least manage my expectations on what I want to achieve this year. I tried reading GTD but it bored me to tears. I might have to give it another go before I thoroughly give up on it and look at another technique. Meanwhile, at work, reading ebooks by the dozen continue to consume my time:
Suffice it to say, I genuinely enjoy what I am doing. I was initially developing last year using Windows and later proceeded to using Linux. And now I revisited Windows to try to make use of the free resources awarded to me and the rest of the participants. And I realized that while I am absolutely in love with Linux, Windows still manages to provide me with a unique charm in web development apart from the nostalgia of how lazy I was as a computer consumer in the years past.
These days, I am perfectly cool with working on two laptops with different operating systems.During this time of quarantine, I alternated between using Ubuntu and Windows 8.1. I think that in time, I can also accommodate exploring a third OS for web development, the one with the famous fruit logo.
And in exploring all three, I think I will have reached some fulfilling semblance of a basic state of web development nirvana.
That, plus a weekly computer downtime so that I can still curl up with an engaging physical book in hand, as I have always done since I was a little girl. This bookworm just got, to borrow from a Drupal teacher’s words,”devopsified”.