JC Web Concepts

Dotfiles

Setting up a new computer can be a tedious and tiresome process. I am not the person that has an exact image of my machine, so when things go wrong I just load that image. I would never have something like that because when I am ready to re-install, I want to start as clean as possible.

At some point I went ahead and starting backing up my dotfiles in Github. This starting to make things easier but it was still a problem. I still had to install all the apps I needed to do things. Then the problem was, what and how do I install these things again. So then I watched a video by another developer by the name of Nick Nisi. He built a script to not only get his dotfiles but also it started moving things to where they need to be. Take a look at the video below where I talk a little more about this topic. You can view my current dotfiles here.

TextMate

As a web developer one of the things you look for is a good editor to use to code your projects. When I was using Windows I would use and app called Notepad++ which was an awesome editor. When I switched to a mac finding an editor was a little difficult. Well I believe I have found it. TextMate is the app that had what I was looking for. As I am still learning it I have fallen in love with this application. It is not free but it is well worth it. I am even writing this blog post in it and able to upload it right to my blog all from TextMate. It is not free but it is well worth it. All the plugins which are called bundles make it easy for you to customize the app to you liking.

In a future post I will have some video on how to do things in TextMate. So stay tuned and thanks.

Parallels Experience

I was asked to write my experiences when using Parallels on my Mac. So I thought I would make a blog post about this at the same time to share my thoughts on this topic. If you own a Mac, Parallels is a purchase that is a must. It makes your life easier. So let me get onto my experiences.

Windows at work
At my work most computers are running Windows XP. When I decided to use a Mac instead of a Windows computers, I came into some issues. There are tools that only have Windows applications and I thought I would be in trouble. I ended up installing XP in Parallels and I was able to install the applications I needed. I needed access to internet explorer to run my automation scripts against website in internet explorer. The company runs some web applications that will only work in internet explorer and Parallels run these applications seamlessly. No issues at all, I do not even know that I am running a virtual machine.

Linux servers
Another thing that Parallels help me with is being able to setup Linux virtual machines. I create a lot of how-to tutorials and I use these virtual machines for them. Installing Linux in Parallels is easy and I do not run into many issues. Setting up and compiling kernels are easy to do. My Gentoo and Ubuntu distros find all the parallels drivers and it makes it so much easier.

The bad
The only bad thing I can say is gaming. I do understand that this is not easy but it is getting closer.

Conclusion
I thank the Parallels team and hope you guys and gals keep improving and keep bring in new features for your product.

Bluefish IDE Editor

Well as a PHP, HTML, CSS, and jQuery designer one of the things I have been looking for is a good lightweight text editor. I have used many different types of editors and not found the right one. When I programmed in Windows I loved Notepad++, but there is no Mac/Linux equivalent. The editors that I have used in the past are as follows:

  • NVU
  • Dreamweaver
  • VIM
  • Eclipse
  • Bluefish

    The last editor I was and still will use is VIM. There is times I just want to click somewhere to move my cursor, I.E. Being lazy. I really like bluefish cause it is very lightweight and fast. Eclipse and Dreamweaver just are too slow for me. Bluefish will work in Mac, Linux, and Windows. The best thing I like about it, is it is free. So take a look at them, post some comments about what you think is the best. Maybe you have one that I just have not seen.

Hosts File

As a web developer one of the tools that I love to use is built right into the operating system. I have come across some jobs where the coder has coded everything in absolute paths. Well if you are like me and like to test stuff on a local server first, then you will run into some issues. If your page calls an file it will call it from the remote server and not the local one. There are other examples but I will spare you of them. Lets get to this hosts file. The hosts file exists in modern day operating systems. You can find it in Linux, Mac, Unix, and or Windows. Let me show you where these files exist.

On Mac or Linux

/etc/hosts

On Windows

C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

So now let me show you some magic. So now on your testing box I would add a new entry. It can be added anywhere you want. So add this line

127.0.0.1    jcwebconcepts.net

Of course you could substitute with any domain. So now when you test your files/scripts and the point to the absolute path you will pointing to your local box. Of course when you are done I like to comment that out. Just in case I forget that I have that and I want to look at the remote site. Now if you want to see the test environment on another computer the line you add to the host file will be different. First get your IP of the test box. Mine is 192.168.2.120

192.168.2.120    jcwebconcepts.net

So you can start to see the things you can do with the hosts file that can help you. Instead of recoding all those absolute paths to relative you can edit the hosts file and test it that way.

Here is a video that explains some of this

1Password

One of the things that people talk about in the computer world is password strength. They talk about how you should not use the same passwords for everything. They say you should not use your kids names, date of birth, social security number, etc… Some people I know make 2 passwords. They make a real tough one for important sites like banking and credit cards. They use the other one for sites they do not care about like forums.

I came across this nice piece of software called 1Password. What this software does is it makes an encrypted database to store all your passwords. It then will integrate itself into Safari and Firefox. When you install the software you make a master password. This password is something that you want to make pretty difficult so nobody can guess it. Now I will not go into more detailed since there are already a bunch of videos and stuff about this. Below is a video from the company that developed the software. Watch it and I think you might like the software as well.