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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Six Reasons Why Once You Go CLI You Never Go Back!

(ok, fine I know it doesn't rhyme. I'm a coder, not a poet!)

If you're still screwing around uploading and downloading your code to your web server using FTP, it's time you gave the command line a try! Not only is it more efficient to edit your code directly on the server, you'll also find the that the command line tools on your average linux install are quite powerful when it comes to web development!

1. You're on the server - Think how much time you spend dragging/dropping files in FTP, connecting and reconnecting when the FTP connection dies, etc. With a command line you're more saving time already just by avoiding all of that!

2. vi/emacs - These are the two biggies, but there's many, many other text editors available to use on the command line. I'm a vi guy, and it's definitely more powerful than the various GUI-based text editors I've used in the past. The built-in regular expressions alone are great! Sure, there's more than a little bit of a learning curve involved, but c'mon, you're smart aren't you?

3. Your development environment is on the server - Which makes working from anywhere far easier. All I need is an Internet connection and Putty (on windows) to SSH in to the server. My text editor and database interface are right there on the server, and all the settings are tied into my account - so it really doesn't matter what computer I'm using to connect!

4. You have direct access to logs - This is really handy when you're trying to track down a weird bug. You can use your text editor or somethign like tail to investigate your server logs directly - or even watch as the error occurs!

5. It's more secure - Think about it - there's no copies of files sitting on your local machine. There's no need to try to keep your local set of files synched with the server. You're working directly on the server, so you'll notice immediately if it goes down or starts running really slowly. You have who, ps, and all the other command line tools to see if someone else is messing with your server.

6. It's OS-independent - Pondering the big switch from Windows to Mac? Or from Mac to Windows? Or from Amiga to DOS? It doesn't matter - as long as you can run SSH to connect to your server, you're fine. No need to (re)buy software on the new platform, install a bunch of crap, etc. You're ready to roll right away.

So give it a try! And while you're at it, give In the Beginning was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson a read :)

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