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Progress on the Dev Environment

Going over (or through!) all of the usual hurdles when you’re setting up something new for the first time. All sorts of little things to figure out, which you don’t even know need figuring out until you get there, adds up to everything taking longer than you think. I sat down this morning thinking that I’d get to start looking at all my old, crappy markup and code finally. But instead,

-By default, xampp wants the document root of your website to be in the xampp/htdocs directory. That’s lame; I don’t want to modify my whole local filesystem structure just to please xampp. I changed the document root to the place where I was already storing site files in the xampp httpd.conf (make sure that you change both the document root and the default directory). The ideal way to do this would be to instead set up the directory as a virtual host, so that I more easily manage multiple websites, but I’m not planning on managing any other websites besides on this xampp installation in the near future, and it’s one less configuration change to muddle through in the present.

-When you change the document root, xampp will throw 403 errors unless you give world execute permissions, not only the specified web root and site files, but to every folder above the web root in your filesystem. It took a bit of time to figure out why this was happening.

-By default, xampp will serve .php files as plain text. To change, add “AddType application/x-httpd-php .php” to the section of the httpd.conf. You could also add this handler to the file specified in the TypesConfig directive, etc/mime.types by default. (As always when making any httpd.conf changes, remember to restart apache for the changes to take effect)

-It’s been on my to-do list to make a definitive decision on a terminal text editor for years. I’ve been using nano, because…I always have? That’s not a very good reason. I decided to go with vim today: I want my fingers on the home rows as much as possible, I like the concept of vi’s distinct editing modes against emac’s chords, vim adds some nice features including syntax highlighting, it’s going to be installed on anything I ever use, it’s super lightweight, and I don’t care about emacs’ GUI advantage-if I want a GUI, I’ll just kick up Text Wrangler. Pico is appealing, but marginally less universally available and significantly less beloved. A great way to get started is typing ‘vimtutorial’ into your shell and work through those exercises. It won’t give you the power user commands that make things really speedy, but it will get you enough along the way to enable you to use it. after that, :help vimrc-intro and :help user-manual, from within vim, are recommended-these are on the to-do list for next time. I’m also looking for a good vim keychart that I can print until the keystrokes get ingrained-recommendations welcome!

-I started working on a .gitignore file. I won’t want to, for example, track WordPress package changes in my git repository. I haven’t made too much progress in thinking about this…today was mostly a server configuration and editor day. An investment in future productivity!

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