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Atlanta Drupal Coffee Club - Cloud Edition

Tuesday was another great night at the Drupal Coffee club. As usual we ran the gamut of topics ranging from privacy and legal issues with information to leveraging cloud services for your development environment.

"How can we leverage the cloud with our development environment?" 

One of our members was looking to setup a development environment using a flash drive as the local source for his files. He wanted easily transfer them between his laptop and his desktop. Since he had a Gmail account so we decided to forgo the use of a flash drive and sync a folder on his desktop with his google Drive account.

We created a couple of folders in Google Drive to support his new theme and hold supporting docs with copy for his site. We then downloaded the windows sync tool and synced the drive to his laptop.

Using netbeans we created a new project and pointed the source of our project to the local folder synced to google drive. Any files he worked on were automatically synced to his Drive account. He plans to implement the same setup on his desktop at home. Any files updated on his laptop are synced to Drive which, in turn, updates his desktop. 

To make the directory structure simple, instead of including the drupal root in his project, we divided his projects into “Themes” and “Modules” so only the theme or module was synced. This is handy when you work with a lot of Drupal projects and find you have multiple copies of Drupal’s core files in your IDE, when you only really need the theme or module you are currently working on. This can help with startup times in Java based IDE’s such as Netbeans or Eclipse which profiles your php on startup. When we need to update core or modules, we can use Drush to do the upgrade. So there’s little need to keep the source files on your local setup—assuming you're only working with custom themes or modules.

So now his laptop and desktop development environments are synced along with a backup stored in the cloud. All the copy is stored in word documents he can share with his team and all the website source files and images can also be synced and are available to anyone who needs them without giving the them FTP access to your site. 

If you don’t use Google drive, you can try other cloud services like Dropbox, Ubuntu One and Box.com to name a few. The main advantage is that you have the ability to work anywhere with cloud access. When I update a file on my tablet, my desktop and laptop are automatically updated. Combining this with Git makes for a very robust and portable development environment.

All in all, it was another great night at the coffee club, and we're looking forward to the next meetup.

** The Atlanta Drupal Coffee Club meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month at the Mozart Bakery. Drupal Development experts from Mediacurrent are on hand to answer your questions. So bring your laptop down and show us what your working on or just sit back with a slice of cake and join the chat.

Additional Resources

Intro to Git

Tips for using Gmail

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