My Development Environment

Published on June 25, 2014, 3:12 a.m.

Every once in a while, I like to step back and take a look at the tools that I use. I don't change my development environment very often, but I do periodically pull in a new tool here and there. Sometimes they fit into my workflow, and sometimes they don't.

As far as I know, I've never written my thoughts down when doing this, but in an attempt to keep in line with my Write more. Share more. goal from the beginning of the year, this seems like a good time to start.

The Editor

I use MacVim, and I feel fairly proficient, though I'm certainly not a power user. I keep a fairly light-weight set of addons.

  1. I still use pathogen. It works for me. I don't fool around with git submodules; I just put .vim/bundle in my .gitignore.
  2. I use nerdtree and nerdcommenter
  3. syntastic keeps me out of trouble.
  4. vim-flake8 helps keep my python looking A-OK.
  5. Too keep things aesthetically pleasing (perhaps more important that you might think!), I use set t_Co=256 and colorscheme desert256 with Anonymous Pro, set guifont=Anonymous\ Pro:h16.


Most of my time is spent writing Python, and building Django apps. So of course, I'm using Django and a whole host of open-source things, but a little lower down the stack, here's what a typical day might look like:

  • I use vagrant to fire up two virtual machines (backed by VirtualBox) running Ubuntu. Currently 12.04 for my most purposes, but my personal projects are running on both 13.10 and 14.04.
  • VM #1 is your typicall all-in-one box running PostgreSQL and nginx which proxies to django's development server (side note: It took me far too long to do this, but letting nginx serve your static media instead of django's development server is really awesome)
  • VM #2 is really just a secondary database box. Do you use multiple databases in production? If so, then you do during development, too, right? This box also runs an instance of memcached (which I sometimes enable during development) and Elasticsearch (when I need it).
  • All of this runs on my scrappy little 2011 Macbook Air (still running 10.8) with 4Gb of ram, where I do all my editing and my git stuff.
  • I use both Chrome and Firefox for front-end work, along with jQuery, and a host of plugins and other small tools like underscore.js and moment.js.


I still read the Django Docs online, and I google for a lot of things, which lands me at stackoverflow fairly regularly, though no so much that I noticed the recent downtime (my friends in irc told me about it first).

Google Hangouts keeps me connected with the rest of the team, and though things like Slack and HipChat seem to be all the rage, our team is small enough that Hangouts just work.

Honorable mentions go to Trello and Github just because both sites are a huge part of my daily development workflow.

Wrapping Up

That's pretty much it. It's not at all fancy, and in fact, I tend to like simple tools, but I'm always open to trying things to make me more productive (You know, the old work smarter not harder mantra).

Do you see a gaping hole in what I'm doing? Am I missing something blatently obvious? Let me know in the comments! :)

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