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edgecast
09-07-2004, 05:36 PM
Now that I'm hosted at WestHost instead of my home I'm looking to regain the network responce times that I enjoyed before. I recently moved and lost my DSL service. I've been working over a satellite connections for weeks now. The speed is great on large files over HTTP but the delays really kill me when it comes to remote development. Dial-up is more responsive for terminal sessions and ftp negotiations, but pushes data too slow. In the effort to end this frustrating delima I want to set up a local server for development. I'm wondering if anyone has done this and what they would recommend to minimize the headaches.

I assume I will want to set up a RedHat box. Some of the configurations will be obvious, but what configurations might slip past me?

If anyone can make recommendations on configs and software that has made this smooth for them I, and perhaps others, would appreciate it.

nsc
09-07-2004, 05:58 PM
Hi! :)

For the connection, if you don't have DSL access in your current location, I would suggest ISDN, which is more responsive than dial-up and allows for up to 64kbit or 128kbit bandwidth, or even more depending on how much you are willing to pay. Unfortunately, I think ISDN is rare in North America (I'm in EU).

If your developers are close to your office/home, then you may would like to consider setting up a wireless network.

FZ
09-07-2004, 06:01 PM
If you want to emulate what you have on your WestHost account, I'd recommend the following (assuming you are using Windows):

1. Apache 1.3.x (http://httpd.apache.org/download.cgi) - nice installer that does everything for you.

2. mySQL 3.23.56 (http://downloads.mysql.com/archives.php?p=mysql-3.23&o=-win) - nice installer that (pretty much) does everything for you.

3. PHP 4.3.0 (http://www.php.net/releases.php) - I recommend the "Windows Binary", not the installer. This version would be a zip file you would extract, and then you'd need to set it up (e.g. change the config file to match the location path, modify Apache configuration so it picks PHP up, etc.)

4. Perl (http://www.perl.org/get.html) - if you need it. I don't have it set up, so I can't recommend a version...

For all intents and purposes, I find that this combination of software is good enough to replace "remote development", as you call it. I've actually never tried Linux before (if I ever get the time I will), but my setup is as above on Windows XP Professional and it works flawlessly. However, the only downside is paths within PHP scripts that need to be changed to reflect the VPS structure. If you're really determined, though, you could set up your paths to mirror it and forget about that entirely, but it's pretty cumbersome.

nsc
09-07-2004, 06:06 PM
If your development server is about to be used by a group of developers, for example developing internal company software, you may like to consider a groupware collaboration platforms like phpCollab (http://www.php-collab.com/).

edgecast
09-07-2004, 06:15 PM
More Details:
I use PHP and MySQL heavily. I don't care about WH CP plugins, just LAMP, extensions and sendmail(or alt).


If you want to emulate what you have on your WestHost account, I'd recommend the following (assuming you are using Windows):

I am willing to use either Win or Linux. I will be sending email programmatically as well so I'm concerned about being able to use the same commands if I develop on windows


However, the only downside is paths within PHP scripts that need to be changed to reflect the VPS structure. If you're really determined, though, you could set up your paths to mirror it and forget about that entirely, but it's pretty cumbersome.

It is important to me that I keep web paths identical. I want the code to be an exact duplicate from "development" to "production". I think I will have a "staging" subdomain on my WH account also.

My development path will be to:

1) develop and preview locally with lightning speed
2) upload to a staging subdomain at WH for testing/QA
3) launch update by copy from staging directory to the web root of the published domain

edgecast
09-08-2004, 01:14 AM
This topic represents an important case study to me and my idealistic impressions of development, so I'm going to be a bit persistent. A personal development server seems to be an excellent solution, in theory anyway. Perhaps, it is not worth the hassels of server/data management. Either way, I'd like to hear experiences both positive and negative. Is anyone doing this, maintaining a development server local to their home or office from which they migrate code and/or data to WestHost?

nsc
09-08-2004, 01:51 AM
I developed the "alpha" version of my website (http://www.wikinerds.org) on one of my GNU/Linux boxes at home.

I used SuSE Linux 9.1 Pro and its graphical administration interface to launch a home webserver with Apache2, PHP4, MySQL4, Perl5, etc. I tested a large number of software packages and after I found the ones I liked most, I started putting them all together to see how they worked together. When I was confident that the site could work correctly, I searched for a webhost with ssh and Linux/*nix support and found Westhost.

I think a SuSE box could help you very much. the YaST interface is really very easy and powerful. The only "problem" is that SuSE uses Apache2 and MySQL4 while Westhost has Apache1.3 and MySQL3.23, so you should keep this in mind and not use any features exclusive to Apache2 and MySQL4. SuSE can be found at http://www.suse.com

Another nice OS which could handle the task efficiently would be any BSD variant, but keep in mind it's more difficult than GNU/Linux in its configuration. Three very nice BSDs are http://www.freebsd.org and http://www.netbsd.org and http://www.openbsd.org

But, if you are looking for a local "Westhost-like server", you might prefer to use Redhat Linux it would be preferred, since Westhost also uses this OS. You can download Redhat from http://www.kernel.org

edgecast
09-08-2004, 03:29 AM
while Westhost has Apache1.3 and MySQL3.23, so you should keep this in mind and not use any features exclusive to Apache2 and MySQL4

...

But, if you are looking for a local "Westhost-like server", you might prefer to use Redhat Linux it would be preferred, since Westhost also uses this OS. You can download Redhat from http://www.kernel.org

I wonder if I could get iso's of RedHat with the right PHP, Apache and MySQL versions?

torrin
09-08-2004, 07:49 AM
I do my development and testing on my desktop Debian (http://www.debian.org/) Testing (Sarge) box. If it's a php change, then I do my testing on my server Debian Stable (Woody) box that has mysql, apache and etc. installed. Then it's get uploaded from my Debian Testing box. I haven't hit an incompatablity between debian stable and westhost yet.

jalal
09-08-2004, 08:21 AM
I use SuSE 8.2 for development in the office and upload when done. The site on the office server is a mirror of the site on Westhost.
As well as the suggestions above, I also use Subversion (was using CVS) for version control locally.

I don't think it matters too much whether you use RedHat like WH does, but I would make sure you are using the same versions of Apache, MySQL and PHP/Perl as on WH. Or at least understand where the versions differ.

Its definitely worth setting up a local Linux server, not only to ease development, but also to gain experience in Linux if it is new to you.

Stu
09-09-2004, 04:13 PM
Any idea what version of Redhat WH is running?

Tom Howard
09-09-2004, 04:27 PM
Last time I checked it out it was Redhat version 5.2 (with updated patches).

WestHost - RSimpkins
09-10-2004, 10:55 AM
WestHost runs RedHat 7.3 and Enterprise on our various servers in the "2.0" environment. The actual VPS environment is more of a generic Linux template, but resembles RH in some regard.

RedHat 5.2 is pretty old (circa 1998 if I remember correctly).

On a personal note I might add that I'm a Debian fan and have been running it where I can since 1999. My latest love for the desktop is Knoppix (Debian based) installed to the HDD running the 2.6.6. kernel.

Why Debian? dselect and apt package management make sense to me. RPM's are a scary thing in my opinion. I realize you can use apt with RH, but why go to all that trouble when Debian has it ready to go?

I also like the philosophy of the Debian project in general:
http://www.debian.org/social_contract