Five More Great Tools for LAMP Developers

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A short time back, I wrote about two things that I wouldn’t want to be without as a WordPress developer. Since then, a few things have changed. Circumstances have led me to spend more time with Windows 10, and its really working out for me. Some of the reasons why I’m digging developing on my Windows 10 rig so much are these five great tools. (And they’re not just for WordPress; in fact, while they support WordPress development nicely, they’re not WordPress-specific at all.)

Laragon

Never heard of it? Neither had I, but now Laragon is a daily part of my life. Laragon gives you a quick, local spin-up for virtual WordPress instances as well as a number of other things: Symfony, Laravel, Drupal, CakePHP, and more.

Main Laragon window (from) with Cmder in background

The main window (shown above) allow you to start and stop processes, configure your connection to MySQL, and open the Cmder install that comes with. The real action happens in the tray, howeverr:

Left-click brings up the main menu (previously shown) and right click brings up the menu in the image to the right
Laragon tray menu

Laragon has so many features it’s hard to know where to start! My recommendation: download it and start playing. Here are some things to know:

Changing PHP versions is easy; download the version(s) you need and drag ‘n’ drop to install
  • It’s easy to install other PHP versions and change them at will;
  • There are instructions for setting up Xdebug;
  • Emails are handled for your apps automatically, with options for additional configuration;
  • You can configure SSL for your local instances;
  • You can add other LAMP-style apps to your “Quick App” menu; you just need the link to the app’s .zip file.

Did I mention that I can’t say enough positive about Laragon?! Check out some of these articles if you’re not already convinced. Its like they thought of everything; it will save you hours upon hours of time with your LAMP development projects.

DBeaver

Having a great GUI tool for MySQL/MariaDB is really important as a LAMP/LEMP developer, but what if you had an extremely robust, open-source database management tool that also worked with PostgreSQL, MongoDB, Oracle, Cassandra, Redis, SQLite, and more? DBeaver is that tool. In my use of it so far, I’ve found that it has everything I’m used to with my previous tool… plus it has a dark mode.

DBeaver works with all your databases

I’ve only been using DBeaver for a couple of weeks at the time of this writing, but I’ve been very impressed with the features. (Translation: whatever feature I’ve looked for, it’s been there and it’s been easy to find, meaning I keep working and stay happy!)

DBeaver is open-source and comes with both a Community (free) and Enterprise Edition. Check out the list of features and give it a whirl.

WinSCP

I’m a command-line dude from way back, but as much as I love the power and flexibility, there’s one thing that has always just gotten on my nerves… file transfers. I never set up FTP servers for my work, so that means I’m usually compressing/zipping files from the command line and shipping them to and from servers, and I find it tedious. Enter WinSCP, a small GUI program that’s easy to set up with your certificates and quick to get those file-transfer jobs handled.

It’s easy to set up with your existing certificate (or to create a new one). WinSCP likes the PuTTY Private Key format (.ppk) and it will generate one for you out of your chosen cert.

Creating a new site
Adding your certificate

While it has plenty of features, WinSCP is a simple tool that makes file transfers to and from Linux servers fast and easy.

Linux Subsystem for Windows

What’s the best of both worlds? I can play Transport Fever 2, Total War: Three Kingdoms, and Stellaris without giving up the power of Linux a command-prompt away. A couple of years back, Microsoft began experimenting with this feature and it’s come a long way already. Basically, you’ve got a real Linux command line inside of Windows 10, with the ability to install packages and do all those fun things that used to be just for Mac people.

The easiest way to get starting is to open Powershell as an administrator and run the following command:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

You’ll have to reboot to get the command to take effect. After you’re back up, go to the Windows 10 store and pick your distro flavor:

Install Linux from the Windows 10 store

And it’s that simple. Find the newly-installed program in your menu, click it, and you’re running Linux. From there you can install things like Composer, NodeJS, or whatever you’re used to finding in the repositories of your distro-of-choice.

Postman

Working with REST APIs have become a big part of the lives of modern LAMP developers, and Postman is the tool for REST API development and testing. Like most of the products on this list, it has too many features to count, and I’m sure I only use a fraction of them.

The most basic use is to call your own APIs for test purposes. For instance, WordPress now exposes most of a site’s functionality via REST, and Postman can be used, for example, to test getting WordPress posts:

Getting posts from the WordPress REST API endpoint

You could type that URL into a browser and get the same thing, but Postman lets you save all your API calls into collections and share them with other developers. You can easily see headers and do various forms of authentication as well.

But Postman isn’t just about fetching API data; you can also use it to set up mock servers that will send back whatever responses you configure. In other words, front-end developers coding in, say, ReactJS, can get started from day one of a project: no more waiting for the back-end crew (you know, the ninja!) to get their stuff done.

5×5 and done

I hope this post has tipped you off to some new tools that will make your development life easier.

Do you have a great tool that should have been on this list? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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