Using and enhancing (almost) the same development environment for years

, by Frank Hellenkamp

VIM for winners

I was surprised when I started my old PowerBook G4 (still on the Mac OS X Tiger) and realised for how long I use (not the same) but a very similar setup for my development environment:

  • Mac OS X (now MacOS) plus Linux for Hosting and Services
  • QuickSilver (now OpenSource)
  • tmux (and before screen) and of course
  • vim

I basically still use OS X with a similar file structure (I always transferred all data to new machines).

I have a Virtual Machine on Gentoo Linux, which is an very old install from around 2004, which first run on bare metal and which I upgraded perpetually throughout the years. Now it is running in VMware Fusion under A MacOS host and an Mac Mini.

And I am also running a Debian Virtual Machine, to simulate my usual hosting environment, which runs exactly the same software.

And when I startup the old Mac OS X on the PowerBook G4, most of my custom Keyboard shortcuts work the same way, I use them daily:

  • Ctrl-Alt-C -> open Terminal App
  • Ctrl-Alt-V -> open MacVim
  • Ctrl-Alt-F -> open the development Web Browser
  • Ctrl-Alt-S -> open the normal Web Browser
  • Ctrl-Alt-M -> open the Mail Program (Apple Mail or better Thunderbird)
  • Ctrl-Alt-N -> Write a new Email
  • Ctrl-Alt-I -> open Calendar
  • Ctrl-Alt-Y -> open iTunes
  • Ctrl-Alt-X -> open Finder with the Home directory

  • Command-Alt-1 - Command-Alt-9 -> Switch between workspaces

I always used to hide the dock, and now (since it is possible on Mac OS X 10.11) I also hide the menu bar, because I rarely use it.

This is a setup which makes me very productive, the workflow very predictible (because I can depend on muscle memory) and very very fast.

I also use LiveReload for years.

There are also always new things (various small enhancements of my vim workflow) or some big changes like using docker for testing and hosting all online services.

We'll see what the next 15 years bring

Will I still be using vim (which is older than I am) - probably yes.

And will still be using Linux and Docker containers? Linux - I am sure, Docker - who knows, but I am sure one or the other container solution will stay with us for a long time.