There are some Linux and Windows purists out there that won’t agree with my methods, but that’s okay. One of the reasons I’m on a break from programming anything is to set up a new programming environment. I’m going to be doing web development on my Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Desktop from now on, but not only using Ubuntu.
No Servers on Ubuntu Desktop
About a year and a half ago, I wrote about an easy to use personal web server on desktop Ubuntu Linux on my other blog. That was version Ubuntu 9.04 or 9.10 if I remember correctly.
I just finished setting up 12.04 and after examining every way to set up everything I need to do web development natively, I decided to take a different route. I have everything else set up to work perfectly and I really need to isolate my web development efforts anyway.
EasyPHP on Windows XP on VirtualBox
My initial plan was to run Windows XP in a virtual machine for only one reason. To prepare and file my tax returns every year. It’s already set up that way using VirtualBox.
While I was examining the different ways to set it all up on Ubuntu, it dawned on me that it would be way easier to set up EasyPHP on the virtual machine. It what I was using before I set up Ubuntu and I’m familiar with it anyway. It already includes all of the development software I work with all the time: Apache, MySQL and PHP. Although it would be nice to use NginX instead of Apache, it’s not a show stopper.
Since I have a lifetime upgrade license for UltraEdit, I’ll be using it as my text editor, but only for development purposes. Geany on Ubuntu serves me well for other purposes.
The alternatives are to either install XAMPP for Linux (which I don’t even like the looks of right now) or to do it the Ubuntu way and installing it just like I would if I was running a production server.
I just don’t like either idea. I prefer to keep my development areas isolated as much as possible. I think doing it on a virtual machine is a much better idea. Once a project is complete, I can move the necessary web pages, database backup and anything else into folders I’m sharing between Windows XP and Ubuntu. From there I can SFTP them to my real web server using FileZilla on Ubuntu.
Basically, what I have now is an Ubuntu desktop installion with VirtualBox installed, which has Windows XP on it. Windows XP only has my tax software, EasyPHP and UltraEdit on it. Oh, there is one more advantage to running Windows in the virtual machine. I can clone my pristine Windows installation to another virtual machine and use the clone to do everything. If anything goes wrong, I can delete the clone and re-clone it again. Microsoft probably wouldn’t like that idea one bit but what the hey, I’ve bought Windows XP more times than I care to remember.