Recently we set up a new development environment from scratch. Here is a profile of the process we used.
The project at hand was process development/ERP for a small business based out of Vancouver, Washington, USA. The client was currently using a mish-mash of common SOHO software products, including Adobe professional products and Microsoft Office, and their process was very convoluted.
Our first step was a consultative meeting that immediately produced a lot of value and actionable insights into optimization of their business process.
We identified the key elements in their process.
Since they had a Microsoft Access database in a core role in their internal proceses, we outlined a path from Access to SQL to a web-based app (the same basic process development we have been doing professionally for over a decade).
In order to facilitate this development process, we immediately provisioned an Amazon EC2 instance with the latest and greatest Microsoft Windows Server. Going this route is much cheaper and faster than using local hardware and purchasing the required software licenses. Part of the low cost of Amazon Web Services includes the necessary licenses.
Since we do so much development work locally, on either Macs or Linux-based machines, I was curious to see what tools we would set up on this Windows based server for our team to share.
There is a saying about old dogs and new tricks, and there is certainly an analog applicable to software developers. As I was the one setting this up, I brought along many of my favorites tools — outdated or not. First of course came the truly cross-platform (or consistently developed for multi-platform) tools that remain the same across the various dev platforms.
In this case these were:
- Firefox (I couldn’t wait to break out of that “hardened” stock IE config)
- CrossFTP Pro (runs in Java)
- Sublime Text 3 (developed on every platform)
- SourceTree (Atlassian just rocks, plain and simple!)
As far as Windows specific tools for this dev server, they included:
- XAMPP (by Friends of Apache)
- PuttyGen (2016 and there still is no “native” ssh in Windows??!)
- Microsoft Office
- SQL Server
We connected SourceTree to our BitBucket account and were off and running. With the distributed source tracking, we are all able to program locally and push and pull our changes to and from the central repository.
It’s been a little while since I set up a Windows Server as a Dev environment, and I guess I was a little surprised to see myself using the same old tools. However, it gets the job done, and that’s great!