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netsperience 2.x
Drupal web development and other stuff


decibelplaces' week off with Precise Pangolin Ubuntu Linux

I'll admit I have been a Windows user since Windows for Workgroups 3.11. Currently I have my second HP laptop-desktop-replacement which arrived with Windows 7, which is a little better than Vista.

I have been stubbornly developing Drupal on Windows, even running Drush locally using Xampp and bugging moshe weitzman et. al. about supporting Windows. I don't think drush mmas works yet on Windows, perhaps it never will.

Recently I needed to use ffmpeg for media conversion, and although there are Windows binaries, Drupal modules did not know what to do with the Windows version. I ended up working on the dev server, which was not my usual process. Usually I work on a local version of the files and database, synchronize them with Git or SVN version control, and ultimately upload them to a development server before staging and production.

During a week hiatus between projects, I decided to set up a Linux workstation, to better match the LAMP web hosting environment.

My old laptop had a dual boot to Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04. I had a hard time setting up my Windows wifi driver with ndiswrapper. It was sort of a novelty.

Since then, I have installed Ubuntu as a desktop OS on a couple of cheap computers from Property Room as gifts for friends, and also when a friend's Mac had terminal kernel panic, I wiped the drive and installed Ubuntu. People who were never used to Windows found Ubuntu pretty easy to use.

Ubuntu has come a long way, and with the addition of the PHP GD image library in Ubuntu 10+, it is pretty compatible with the web hosting servers I use, in fact my last project was hosted on a server running Ubuntu.

So first thing I did was get the wubi Windows installer for Ubuntu Desktop 12.04 LTS so I could install it as a dual-boot (I'm not abandoning Windows, I'm just broadening my horizons). Why Ubuntu? Many web servers run CentOS or Red Hat Linux - I installed CentOS at - but Ubuntu is particularly well suited for a destop operating system, and hey, Linux is as Linux does. Plus I have a friend who runs Fedora on his desktop so he gets the latest updates - and he's always crashing and patching. I used the Virtual Machine in Windows to test web sites on Internet Explorer 6 running on XP (glad we mostly don't have to do that anymore) and I'm not very interested in using Virtual Box to run two operating systems at once. I also read warnings that it's easy to accidentally restart Linux in the Virtual Box, and that can destroy your Linux system.

Each release of Ubuntu has an alliterative animal name, 12.04 is called

Precise Pangolin (a Pangolin is a scaly anteater)

Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

Next I needed to set up my machine for Drupal development, which also requires a web server, and MySQL and PHP (the "MP" in LAMP). I'm not sure what the best guide is, but the first one I followed was pretty old,  and it told me Ubuntu doesn't let you create web site directories at /var/www so I had to create a symlink from /home/www to /var/www and it caused lots of problems and eventually I ditched my configuration and started over without the symlink and everything is fine. The second pass I also found an excellent post about configuring Precise Pangolin for Drupal by Laura Scott with some nice tips. I had trouble posting a thank you comment, Laura had to tweak the Mollom anti-spam settings because it was refusing everything, the shoemaker's children always go barefoot.

DrupliconIn short, I had to install the Apache web server (I briefly considered nginx server, but mostly my projects are hosted on Apache), PHP and MySQL. Set up a vhost (virtual host) for the localhost web address in the browser, and a database. I have been configuring vhosts and databases for some time in the Xampp Wampserver for Windows, so I already knew how it works.

Finally, I installed Drupal 7.

I also installed Drush (of course) and Compass for SASSY stylesheets, and - yup, ffmpeg - and Git to connect my project to my Github repository.

Then I had to think about code. On Windows I mostly use the EditPlus text editor, which has syntax colorization for HTML, PHP, CSS, Javascript - and has a really good "find in files" search. The default gedit text editor for Ubuntu is pretty good, with syntax colors and stuff - but sometimes I would use the Eclipse IDE on Windows, although it always felt like driving a bloated Hummer in a bumpercars ring. I poked around a little and found some Drupal plugins for the Netbeans IDE, so decided to try it out. So far it's great, more lightweight than Eclipse, but it did not come with PHP enabled when I installed it from the Ubuntu Software Center, so it took some research to figure out how to turn PHP projects on in Tools > Plugins. I also added Drupal Templates for Netbeans so typing in "hook_form" (for example) will display a dialog with options for pre-configured Drupal code blocks, which saves a lot of time:

Now that I could code and view the web site on the local server, I had to think about some productivity tools, and other stuff I was used to on Windows.

About Randall Goya

aka decibel.places & netsperience dba Randall Goya, LLC

I have been creating web sites since 1996.

I have been a Drupal "Gun-for-Hire" expert consultant for Enterprise clients in Business, Entertainment, Education, and Non-profit for several years.

My Drupal strengths are

  • 8 years of experience since v 4.x (2005)

  • ability to work on back end and front end (and often both integrated at the same time)

  • Architecture Design including selecting contributed modules, identifying requirements for custom modules, and planning integration of 3rd party services

  • integration of services such as Brightcove, Salesforce, oauth etc.

  • fixing/improving legacy code by colleagues and former developers

  • documentation

  • presentations for Business stakeholders

  • managing development teams onshore and offshore

  • project management using Basecamp, JIRA, Redmine, Sharepoint and Open Atrium

  • experience self-hosting and with Acquia Enterprise and Cloud, Rackspace, Pantheon, Blackmesh, GoDaddy

  • performance and caching strategies with Drupal cache, Boost, memcache, Varnish, Akamai

  • DevOps with Features and other exportables, and CI (Jenkins, etc.)

  • individual member of the Drupal Association

  • I contributed patches and documentation on

I can build/configure a web server with Linux Apache Nginx PHP MySQL NoSQL ffmpeg/avconv Git Drush Nagios nodejs crontab

My network includes experts in UX/UE/UI, graphic design and branding, and SERP (Search Engine Rank Placement), SEM (Search Engine Marketing) by SEO-savvy writers, bloggers and marketing experts.

I partner with Danny Glix at Colorfury for visual branding strategy and design.

I (ghost)wrote an article about PHP and SEO that is widely distributed online: PHP SEO, and Spiders - Oh My!

I am among the top experts in web development on LinkedIn with more than 50 "best answers" before LinkedIn discontinued the Answers feature.

Clients have worked with me for years, and I can provide outstanding references.

I was a sound editor and engineer for major feature films in the 80s, and I work with rich media, video

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