Friday, January 11, 2013

Dev Environment On Linux

So, well after over a decade of writing programs that no one uses, I finally decided to give a Linux environment a shot. Yes, absurd as it may sound, I had never really tried my hand at the Great Open Void, errr, Source OS. And this time too, I wouldn't have bothered, but for the fact that I had access to a laptop with no OS, and the closest computing machine I could get to, to work on CityNaksha, was 1700kms away, in Calcutta! This is a noteToSelf of sorts, to act as reference in the future, when I try and replicate the same process on another computing machine.

The 'right' Distro :
It is very important to go with a flavour of Linux that you are comfortable with. Being a newbie, I didn't want to spend too much time googling various commands. Instead, something with a helpful GUI was what I was aiming for. A friend suggested Knoppix. It was good, but not really what I would want to have on a Developer machine. So, switched to Ubuntu, and it has been quite a joy, since.
What I did was this :
  • Started the computer with Knoppix from a pen drive
  • Went to Ubuntu website, downloaded and burnt an ISO image on a spare DVD
  • Installed Ubuntu from that DVD
  • Opened Update Manager and installed updates for pretty much everything.
Getting the Dev environment :
Till now, my favourite'st thing about Ubuntu is the Software Center. Makes installing new stuff, amazingly simple. For people who are more used to clicking and installing stuff, this is manna from heaven! From VLC player for the music, to MySQL server and client (MySQL Workbench), Filezilla and Dropbox, I used the Software Center to install a lot of the stuff that I needed.

However, two things that did not work this way, were Eclipse and Tomcat.

SC installed an old Pure-Java-only version of Eclipse. I couldn't find a way to change the version to be installed, nor could I find an easy way to update from within Eclipse. So, I separately downloaded the tar file and unzipped it. That pretty much worked.

Tomcat, I didn't want to install via SC, because I wanted it to be installed in a particular location. Couldn't figure out how I could change those settings in SC, so again, downloaded the tar file and unzipped it. Both seem to be working fine for now.

Remote Debugging issues :
All this while I have been using Eclipse, I was using a customized version, which had the Lomboz plugin pre installed. That was quite a help in building the WAR files, that we deploy on our servers. But this time round, I decided to get rid of it. So, I worked directly with ANT. The problem that I faced, was that debugging the webapp from inside Eclipse, couldn't be done as easily as earlier. These links here and here, were quite helpful in configuring Remote Debugging.

Lets keep connecting the city.
Facilitator, CityNaksha.

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