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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Hashicorp’s Packer – Is It Something for PHP Developers?
Nov 15, 2016 @ 11:38:24

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new article posted taking a look at Packer (from Hashicorp) and if it's something that's relevant to a PHP developer's needs. Packer is a tool that makes it easier to machine images that can be reused across platforms based on a single configuration.

If you do a lot of server work for your clients or on the job, along with development work, then yes. Packer can help you a lot.

If you are only a developer and don’t really do much work on the server directly, then no. Packer won’t be very helpful.

That being said, it is wise for any PHP developer to learn the basics of creating server environments. You will run into these technologies in your career in one way or another (everything you create runs on them!). This specialized knowledge will help your career in the future for sure! At a minimum, you’ll understand your dev-ops colleagues and the work they do much better.

The article starts with a "look back in time" to when server setup was more manual and server admins/developers had to go in and change configurations/update software by hand. From there they move forward to the changes that virtualized servers made possible followed quickly by tools like Vagrant. Vagrant makes it easier to create and configure virtual machines so why would you need something like Packer? The article provides a summary of the features that Packer provides and how its overall workflow operates.

With all this information under your belt, the tutorial then starts in on using the Packer tool:

  • installing the Packer software
  • creating a new server instance
  • setting up the JSON configuration
  • the build process
  • working with provisioners
  • installing the VM with VirtualBox

The environment is now all set up and configured so the next step is, naturally, installing a PHP-based application. They opt for a basic Symfony demo application, showing how to change the configuration to pull it in and set everything up.

tagged: hashicorp developer packer tutorial configuration vagrant server setup

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/hashicorps-packer-is-it-something-for-php-developers/

Ben Ramsey:
Yak Shaving is the Entire Job Description
Dec 01, 2015 @ 09:13:27

In his latest post Ben Ramsey suggests that "yak shaving" (a seemingly useless activity that lets you solve an immediate problem) is a core part of what we, as developers, do.

When I began my journey as a programmer, every task was fraught with problems, and I loved it. Everything was new, and every problem was an opportunity to learn and grow. It was great.

Somewhere along the way, though, problems became nuisances. As I grew older in life and my career, my tolerance for problems became lower, and my desire for things to Just Work became greater.

As I struggled to find a solution for the problem I had with Packer, Tate Eskew reminded me that yak shaving is a part of my job.

In his example he was working with Packer and hit a problem with the environment required to get it working. Instead of slogging through it he created a patch to make it work correctly with Amazon Machine Images.

tagged: yakshaving description packer patch programmer

Link: https://benramsey.com/blog/2015/11/yak-shaving/