Surviving when you HAVE to develop on Windows OS

June 1, 2011

I recently started working as php developer for a small/medium-sized media company. Everything is really fine there, except for one thing. They give their developers computers with Windows installed on them. I’ll try and document here what programs i installed to survive this hell. You’ll notice i like to keep things simple (and i really really like to use Free Software).

– First thing I did was to completely update the Operating System. That way i don’t have to worry about outdated browsers, uncompatible dll’s etcetera. It’s Windows Vista, so i just did Windows Update and that was it.

– Next step: a decent browser. I installed Firefox 4 because i really enjoy using it on Mac OSX and GNU/Linux. I usually use a lot of browser add-ons. More about that later. When Firefox was installed, i naturally made it my standard browser, and i removed all desktop shortcuts and such for Explorer.

– You can’t Code without an Editor. Notepad is not an option. So i went for Gedit, from the GNOME project. It’s a really neat and simple editor, it has code-highlighting, and a few other handy options for programming. Also i activated the gedit-plugin ‘File Browser Pane’, to have a filebrowser inside of the editor, like many IDE’s have. On Linux i’d also activate the Terminal pane, but that’s not possible on the Windows version of Gedit. I also installed my own Gedit theme, which is a tweaked version of the default Oblivion theme.

– next up is an FTP program. At the company they use SFTP so i was looking for a decent FTP program. Where many people would’ve chosen FileZilla, i choose FireFTP. It’s a Firefox browser add-on, and works great. It has all features i need. And it runs in my browser, so the integration with it is fantastic (upload->view on the web == WIN!)

– So far, so good. Communication in the office happens by e-mail, for which they have a Microsoft Exchange server. I downloaded Thunderbird, and set it up to work with it. Great.

– I needed an SSH client, so i installed FireSSH, another great Firefox browser add-on which provides everything i need from SSH.

– For Quick Scripting: the GreaseMonkey browser add-on for Firefox.

– And lastly (too bad) i needed a PDF reader and Flash Player and Quicktime, and that’s why i installed Adobe Reader X, Adobe Flash Player and Quicktime.

– time to get rid of the ugly Windows Vista desktop background.

I’ll survive like this, but i’d so much rather have a Mac or a GNU/Linux box to work on đŸ™‚



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