Development box on a VPS

It has been more than a month where I have my development environment on a VPS. It is a linode VPS located in Tokyo, Japan to position it closer to my country. It’s a great experience and improve my workflow but at a cost.

Today, I’ve found a post about the same setup, the development environment (PHP) on a VPS. See his post on his blog here. By the way, it also has a reddit entry.

We got reason

Having a VPS as a dev environment is costly therefore you must have a very good reason to dive in into that setup. In my case, I’m a developer of some small projects, usually multiple small projects. I do this as a part time freelancing job. My main reasons for having this setup are as follows:

  • I need to access or sometimes develop on multiple machines (several miles apart).
  • I just setup a vhost for a project, checkout the code, then I could start working on it anywhere.
  • I like to work on the terminal, doing SVN/GIT diff, commit codes, doing find, grep and many more on a real Linux environment.
  • However, I need to test on IE9, Firefox for Windows and Chrome for Windows.
  • I need to use Jing and sometimes Snagit.
  • My machine is just a low end laptop that cannot stand running VirtualBox jsut to run Windows software.
  • I sometimes need to edit something with Photoshop that I cannot do with GIMP or other Linux based tools (even those simple image editing tasks).
  • I can test my mobile website on a mobile device or iPad by just visiting its publicly accessable URL.
  • Etc.

But, another important factor why I switched into the VPS dev environment setup is that I like the Linux environment very much that it is actually a sacrifice to switch into Windows as my dev OS. However, my Linux keeps on having problem with its graphics that until now, I cannot find solution even after asking the distro guys. I lost the Linux desktop experience, but not the terminal anyway.

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