Development environments done right, with Vagrant, Puppet and VirtualBox

vagrant_structure

When I first started out in web development, I worked directly on the server. I had an FTP client and I’d download files, edit them, and re-upload them. If it was a “serious” project, I might even use source control. I thought this was a pretty handy way to work… Looking back on that workflow, I’m embarrassed, but the thing is, I know people who still work that way. I’m not going to go into the merits of having a dedicated development environment, automated builds and tests, etc… Just take it as a given that you need them. With that being said, however, it’s always a pain trying to set up a new development environment, and having an environment already set up on my laptop doesn’t guarantee that it’ll be the same environment that the next client has in production. If you’re on a different machine, it’s a problem. I’m going to talk about how I’ve solved this age old problem using Vagrant, Puppet and VirtualBox.

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Forcing Tmux to use 256 colors

I’ve been messing around with my terminal display, trying to church it up a little.  I tried Powerline, but didn’t have great luck with it.  So, I’m going old school and just adjusting conf files for the applications that I use all the time, mainly tmux and vim.  I’ve been banging my head against tmux all day.  I added some flashy stuff to the tmux statusline, but I just could NOT get the colors right.  I know that there are lots of settings and tweaks for getting 256 color support right, but no matter what I did, I couldn’t get tmux to display properly.

I finally ran across a random forum post from a couple of years ago.  Basically, my terminal (XFCE terminal) is set up for 256 colors, but tmux always starts with the default of 80 colors.  The answer?  Instead of starting tmux with

tmux

I just start it with

tmux -2

which forces tmux to run with 256 color support.  Problem solved, and my badass statusline is working perfectly.

Tmux without 256 color support.

Tmux started normally, displaying a limited color pallette.

 

Tmux started with 256 color support.

Tmux started with the “-2” parameter, forcing 256 color support.

Setting up Powerline for Vim and Tmux

UPDATE: As promised, I’ve added a post about how I configured my tmux to emulate some of the features of powerline.  You can read it here.

I spend almost all of my time on the command line and I use Tmux and Vim obsessively.  Like a lot of people, I want my environment to be pleasing, so I was excited when I found out about Powerline, a status line / prompt utility that works with bash prompts, Vim, Tmux and a whole slew of other tools.pl-mode-insert

My first impression is that Powerline is just really cool looking.  It’s nice to have something that lets you simply customize your tools in a simple way without having to dig deep into each individual tool.  Unfortunately, it has some big shoes to fill and it doesn’t quite make it all the way.

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Switching to Ubuntu from openSuse

suse_vs_ubuntu

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I run Linux exclusively in my shop. There are many reasons for this, but I won’t get into those right now. My distribution of choice has always been openSuse, Novell’s version of Linux. However, openSuse has always had some issues that I couldn’t seem to get past. So, this past weekend, I bit the bullet and made the switch to Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a linux distribution offered by Canonical, and is the distro offered on Dell computers. I’m still in the process of getting used to it, but so far, I’m very happy with it. I’ll post more as I dig deeper into the system.

Upgrading to openSuse 11.2 from 10.3

I run a completely Windows free shop. That has it’s good points & bad, but I’m not going to get into that question. For now, I just want to talk about my recent experience upgrading from openSuse 10.3 to 11.2. openSuse 10.3 has been my OS of choice for quite some time. Sadly, however, it has reached the dreaded “end of life” stage wherein all support, repositories, updates, etc… have disappeared completely. I have to admit that I dreaded the upgrade process, having more experience with Windows upgrades than with Linux. However, I am happy to report that this upgrade was the smoothest thing since lubricated ice. Continue Reading…

Free Crossover for Linux / Mac

OK, this is totally off topic, but for all of us super-geeks, today is a very special day. CrossOver for Linux and Mac is being offered as a free download. Today only, you can go to CodeWeavers website and download a copy of their flagship products. It’s apparently not much more than a marketing ploy wrapped in a political statement, but hey, I can’t say no to free software. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, CrossOver is software that lets you run Windows applications on a Linux machine or a Mac. There are some free alternatives, but CodeWeavers is a commercial application, and it really seems to do a better job than most of it’s competitors. Especially since Linux has gotten mainstream enough that Target is offering a $300 laptop with Linux preinstalled, interoperability has become a very serious and important issue.