RT Cunningham


Web Development Workstation - My Laptop Computer

web development My web development workstation is the laptop I use for everything. I also use it for videos, music, e-mail and a lot of other things I can’t think of right now.

Even though I use it for a lot of things, I spend most of my time doing some form of web development. That includes research, reading, coding, testing and writing in no particular order. That is, when I’m actually sitting at the keyboard.

Web Development Applications

I’m using Brave as my web browser now because I like it better than most other Chromium-based web browsers. Over the years, I’ve used more web browsers than I can remember. In recent years, it’s been Brave, Chromium, Chrome, Firefox and Vivaldi. Those are just the ones I can remember.

Although I don’t have to use a mail client with Gmail, I do. I use Thunderbird to download messages instead of using it as a webmail client. POP3 instead of IMAP. I also use it for downloading feeds from various websites. With unannounced and unexpected brownouts and a decent laptop battery when I’m in the Philippines (not so much when I’m in the United States), I can get certain things done before shutting down in a hurry.

I moved the profile directory for Thunderbird from “.thunderbird” to my Dropbox folder and edited the “profile.ini” file to point to it. It’s not the only thing I moved to my Dropbox folder.

I use FileZilla for FTP (using FTPES), Geany as my text editor, PuTTY as my SSH client and XnView as my image editor. I use PuTTY instead of the command line because it’s easier to set up an SSH tunnel with it. XnView works for image editing as well as Irfanview (which I no longer use), for what I use it for.

Web Development Testing

I have my web server applications set up almost like my Ubuntu server, with some not-so-obvious differences. I can’t use HTTPS on my laptop. Well, I could probably figure out how to do it but I don’t want to invest that much effort. I’m not hosting real domains, so I have to edit the “/etc/hosts” file to fake things.

I learned something new recently that I may be able to use for an online web server someday. The default user for Nginx as well as PHP-FPM is “www-data” (Debian/Ubuntu/Linux Mint). On a whim, I changed both to my laptop user name, which suddenly allowed me to edit related files from the GUI. Editing a lot of files using a terminal text editor gets painful after a while.

I remember reading about someone assigning a password and logging in as “www-data”. While that would work, it seems like my way is easier.


Like anyone who does it, I’ll get burned out from doing only web development for a long time. I have VLC installed for videos (and I’ll watch YouTube at times) and Rhythmbox installed for music. I don’t play games on my laptop. Ever. It doesn’t have the “oomph” for it anyway.

Most of the time, web development is my entertainment. That is, until I get frustrated with one thing or another. I don’t write as much as I used to either. Perhaps it has something to do with age, but I doubt it. I know guys much older than me still rocking the keyboard, so to speak.

An Update

This is an update and a rewrite of what I wrote back in 2017. Although it may not be much different from what it was before, I switched to Windows 10 last year and back to Linux Mint this year.

I can use either Windows 10 or Linux Mint to do everything but I prefer not using Windows at all if I can help it. A reinstalled version of Windows 10 resides on one partition and Linux Mint resides on another. The only time I’ll use Windows is when I can’t do something on Linux, something that will get rarer every day.

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By RT Cunningham
April 10, 2019
Web Development