I like to share my local development workflow which has turned out to be extremely useful in that all my projects’ files are versioned and on the cloud. I use git to keep my files versioned and Google Drive so that I can access my projects anywhere. In this post, I will share really cool stuff that you definitely should consider implementing for your own projects.
If you don’t know about git and its benefits, there are numerous compelling reasons why it is useful, you might want to check out:
- Introduction To Git
- The Benefits of Using Git
- Modern Version Control With Git
The benefits of keeping all my files and projects on the cloud like Google Drive should be obvious but if you are still not sure, check out:
Although there are many other cloud storage services such as Microsoft SkyDrive, Dropbox, Box, Bitcasa, etc but I chose Google Drive since it gives 10GB of free space which should be enough for my development needs. If that’s not enough for you, you can create another Gmail account and get another 10GB free. You might want to read their usage policies too if you want. You may also consider using Bitcasa which gives you unlimited space but since it is new, I can’t personally trust it as yet.
Installing Google Drive
Step 1: Create a new Gmail account to be used with Google Drive client software. Although you can use your existing account but it is good idea to create a new one used for your projects’ backup only.
Step 2: Download Google Drive from here or here. During the installation, you would be asked to specify the folder path which will be synchronized with Google Drive. Make sure that you specify a folder present on any drive other than your OS drive so that even if your system crashes or corrupts, your projects remain intact. For example, I have that folder on path D:/Google Drive/
Step 3: Once installed, run Google Drive software and specify the credentials of your newly created Gmail account.
Using Google Drive with WAMP/XAMPP
Now that we’ve setup google drive, it is time to setup document root to google drive folder and create virtual host. This would allow you to run your local projects through WAMP/XAMPP from google drive folder. The reason why we do this is that since google drive folder will be sync by google drive software, any project we put in that folder will automatically be uploaded in your google drive account.
Note: I am using XAMPP but if you are using WAMP, some settings or file paths might be different, you should consider reading its documentation.
Step 1: Inside your google drive folder, create a new folder named webroot making whole path X:\Google Drive\webroot where X represents your drive letter.
Step 2: Assuming you have specified google drive folder to be D:/Google Drive/, open httpd.conf (normally located at apache\conf folder) file in notepad or other text editor and find the line Include “conf/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf”. If there is a hash (#) before that line, remove it. Now find the line with <Directory /> and you should see something similar to:
<Directory /> AllowOverride none Require all denied </Directory>
Change Require all denied to Require all granted
Or if you see something like:
<Directory /> Options FollowSymLinks AllowOverride None Order deny,allow Deny from all </Directory>
Change it to:
<Directory /> ........ Allow from all </Directory>
Now come to bottom of the file and add:
<Directory "D:\Google Drive\webroot"> Options Indexes MultiViews Order Allow,Deny Allow from all </Directory>
Save the file and close it.
Step 3: Open httpd-vhosts.conf (normally located at apache\conf\extra folder) and add these lines at the end of it:
<VirtualHost 127.0.0.1:80> DocumentRoot "D:/Google Drive/webroot" ServerName gdroot.loc ServerAlias gdroot.loc ErrorLog "D:/Google Drive/webroot/logs/error.log" CustomLog "D:/Google Drive/webroot/logs/access.log" combined </VirtualHost>
Save the file and close it. Notice that we have specified gdroot.loc as address which actually means google drive root (.loc signals that it is local folder) which actually maps to your google drive webroot folder eg D:/Google Drive/webroot. Notice that you could name it anything you want like mycoolwebsite.com, yourname.com, etc but of course that is local folder running from your own computer.
Step 4: Open hosts file in notepad or other text editor located at X:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc where X stands for drive letter where your OS is installed. At the end of that file add this line assuming you specified URL in above step as gdroot.loc:
Or if you also use port to access your LAMP/XAMPP URLs, specify that as well:
Note: If you can’t edit hosts file, you need to have file owner permission, search on google how to do that.
Restart apache and access the new url by typing gdroot.loc in your browser. You should see screen similar to when you go to http://localhost.
Congratulations ! you have a nice workflow now. You can now put all your existing our new projects inside your new document root which was assumed to be located at D:\Google Drive\webroot and now all your projects are sync with google drive and automatically uploaded to your google account which you can access anywhere. For example, you can now access your projects at office or any other computer by installing google drive client software there and telling it sync/download your webroot folder. Your projects are now always there and backed up on the cloud
Let’s take cool stuff one step further by using git so that our projects file are also versioned. If you don’t know much about git and its benefits consider reading links posted above or below in the Git Resources section.
Using Git with a Central Repository
Creating and using central repository is especially useful in a team. If you just want to keep your projects versioned and are the only developer working on a project, the normal flow is (unless you track your project to remote host such as github):
- modify files
- commit your changes
So essentially you can skip this section if you just want to version your project files and are only developer working on a project.
Step 1: Download msysgit from here, choose first link from there. Install it with default settings.
Step 2: Go to your google drive folder (D:\Google Drive\) and create a new folder there named central.git
Step 3: Right click on newly created folder and choose Git Bash Here and type: git init –bare
Step 4: Create a test project folder named myproject inside your normal WAMP/XAMPP webroot/htdocs folder or google drive webroot folder mentioned above (Although you can git-manage any folder anywhere on the drive but naturally we want to git-manage projects that we run from webroot/htdocs folder).
Step 5: Right click on newly created folder, choose Git Bash Here and issue these commands one by one:
git init git remote add central /e/Google\ Drive/central.git/ git push --all central git push --set-upstream-to central master
Great! now we’ve setup central repository for all our git-managed projects and we can commit, push, fetch all changes from that central repository. For any new repository, you can now issue commands like:
git clone /e/Google\ Drive/central.git/ git fetch /e/Google\ Drive/central.git/ git push central and so on
Hope you liked the post and have fun !