If you’re a Linux developer, you’ve probably heard it all. No doubt competitors have told you that Windows-based environments will soon dominate the industry – something they’ve been saying for years. But Linux and LAMP-based environments for development have proven consistently stable and effective, and many companies are starting to seek out Web pages or applications that have been designed using Linux as a framework. Now, developers need to keep their heads in the game, and that means considering new ways to get the most out of technology both locally and from outsourced versions. In short, it might be time to consider a VPS hosting environment.
Why Bother Developing on a VPS?
That’s the question you’re asking, and you should be. The transition to a Linux-supporting VPS option isn’t always an easy one, and the number of Linux choices out there for hosting companies isn’t as robust as those for Windows users. So what benefits does a Linux VPS offer?
Most importantly, it gets all of your development tools – Apache/MySQL/PostgreSQL, Coldfusion or Ruby on Rails – and puts them somewhere other than your local desktop. Why do you care? Because in a clean setting, one where they’re the only things running, they can do their jobs more effectively, and without you having to worry that a development project will bring down your network or spiral out of control. On a separated piece of VPS landscape, your development can be conducted with efficiency, free from the other processes that bog down your local desktop.
Filling Up Your LAMP VPS
One of the first choices you’ll often have to make as a Linux developer is what kind of SQL to use, along with which development platform you want to use – PHP or Ruby on Rails comes to mind as a choice you might need to make. Arguments exist on both sides of the fence for PHP and RoR, including PHP giving you more control over each aspect of development as a programming language, and RoR providing object-oriented design along with a set list of features thanks to its role as a framework developed from the Ruby language.
The benefit of a VPS development solution is that you don’t have to choose a development platform – you can use as many open-source options as you’d like, and for those that don’t play nicely together, another piece of virtual real estate can be purchased. This can be of benefit if you’ve got clients that prefer Web applications developed under a certain framework, or if you’d like to see what gets you the most bang for your creative buck.
Other options that can be ported over to your VPS include the Adobe ColdFusion 9 suite, Gedit, jEdit, Kompozer and Aptana. The benefit to these and any Linux application is the open-source component and the fact that changing the code is encouraged – you don’t need to pay for open-source, and you can tweak it to be whatever you want it to be.
Of course, just moving your tools over to a VPS doesn’t justify the cost. A recurring monthly charge from a hosting provider can seem like a long way to go if you’ve already got a local server running and if your current testing protocol is effective. The true benefit of a LAMP or Linux VPS doesn’t lie in providing a unique testing or troubleshooting environment, but one that is not connected to your local server. This means that you can stress-test and adjust your applications to your heart’s content, and never have to worry that it might impact a local desktop. Install a bug tracker and break your new creation night and day – your VPS will keep it cordoned off from anything you really need.
VPS accessibility from any computer with permission also means you can collaborate in real-time on a project, even if your staff is not all in the same place. Multiple instances of the same application can be run, with no changes made to the underlying code. Tracks of changes can be created as well, giving you the power to quickly break, reform, test, and then release your code to the wilds of the Internet.
A Linux VPS hosting option can offer you the power to create Web-based tools and apps, along with the flexibility to test them quickly, securely and thoroughly.