Multiplatform Development And Testing

As a web developer I have found there are three things I cannot live without. The LAMP stack, Adobe and IE6. I know what your probably thinking. There are Linux alternatives to Adobe and IE6 is an old legacy browser, why worry about it? I will not argue either point as they are both valid. Those points aside I need to be interoperable with the real world.

By trade I'm a programmer, not a designer while as a programmer I can happily live in the LAMP stack and never leave the end product (your website) however, needs to be sexy. Making it sexy is a designers job and designers (at least the ones I know) live in Adobe. This probably means I'll need to take a proprietary Adobe format (typically .psd) slice it and/or extract the elements I need and convert them to the final web format. To make this possible I need Adobe. So, what's the rational behind IE6? Three things actually. First, IE6 still has a 30% market share making it the number one browser currently in use. Second, a quick check of Google Analytics and I see IE6 is still accounts for nearly 25% of my site traffic (This I cannot ignore), and finally.Microsoft recently announced they are going to be supporting IE6 until 2014. Taking these facts into account, as a developer, failing to test for IE6 compatibility means I have failed in both prudence and diligence.

My Environment

My full development environment consists of Linux servers, a Linux environment for development and Windows environments for graphics and testing.

Optimal recommended hardware specs

These may vary a bit, but these are my laptop specs which handles multiple multiple configurations and multiple VM's running at once.

  • 2.13GHz Intel Core DUO
  • 4GB RAM (more ram is always better)
  • 512MB Nvida GForce 9600

Minimal recommended hardware specs

If your running any version of AdobeCS I recommend using Windows as the host system and suspending any guests prior to entering AdobeCS.

  • 1.8 GHz AMD Turion64
  • 2GB RAM
  • 128MB ATI
  • Operating Systems

Recommended Operating Systems

Currently Windows 7 RC is acts as my host, I'll likely get board with that setup and switch to something else. My current configuration consits of the following VM's. Any of these would also work fine as your host OS.

  • Debian 4 Linux (My production servers run Debian 4 so this is a good choice for testing)
  • Ubuntu 9.04 Linux (Ubuntu is based on Debian and has the same server stack. Ubuntu's a bit more user friendly so I like to run my development environment here)
  • Windows XP Home or Professional (Required for testing in IE6, IE7 and IE8 and this may serve as your AdobeCS host)
  • Windows 7 (I'm using an RC at the time of this post. Use for testing IE8 and to host your AdobeCS apps)