First off, I shamelessly admit the title is just a little misleading but it was so catchy, I couldn't resist! However, setting up a quick Drupal website did turn out to be the easiest way I could think of to get around some limitations in the environment from which I was trying to transfer a Delphi project.
Have you ever downloaded an application and had Windows try to prevent you from opening it? Many times that will slow or stop malware from getting onto your computer but for contract programmers that distribute a variety of custom-built applications to clients, it can be annoying to them as they struggle to keep the download from being quarantined or deleted by their web browser or anti-virus program. Often, the download is halted simply because the application is not recognized and the publisher is unknown. Fortunately, there's a solution that doesn't cost too much and provides not only peace of mind for the person attempting to install your software but also smooths the process, eliminating warnings.
I do almost all of my development from virtual machines. I use VMWare Workstation Pro for this and it has served me well for many years. I like the snapshot and cloning aspects plus being able to move a machine to a different drive, back it up, and even put it on my in-office Windows server and free up local memory and hard drive space.
As I've done this a number of times, there are some steps that I replicate on every machine for consistency and convenience. Everyone will have their own way of doing things and favorite tools--these are mine.
Way back in 2000, InterBase 6.0 was made open source. Soon a fork was made in the code and Firebird SQL was born. I started using this new powerful database engine and as InterBase went back to being a closed-source product, stuck with the free version or used other database engines. Many tools and Delphi component sets still support both IB and FB as they are still quite similar.
I work on a variety of projects in several different versions of both Delphi and Visual Studio. A lot of these projects also include database access. To support all these different projects, a lot of different tools need to be installed and with each comes a set of paths that are setup for the applications to find libraries, support tools, and so forth. Since most software tools can also generate both 32-bit and 64-bit code these days, there are often two sets of paths for each type of compilation.
I got this request from a friend recently:
"Well, I'm finally going to finish building my quad core PC. It may be overkill as I don't play games, but I'm sick of having a slow computer! About the OS, it seems like I have a few options: pre-order Windows 7 upgrade, get Windows XP-64, or get Windows Vista Ultimate. I'm looking for some quick, brief advice, and I respect your time and opinion. I don't have experience with anything beyond regular XP... What are the advantages and disadvantages of Vista? Are there UI improvements that make Vista really worth the upgrade? Are there enough improvements in Windows 7 that make it worth waiting for?"
Between my home office desktop, my son's computer, my wife's computer, a laptop, and the machine I use at work, I use XP-64, XP Pro, Vista Ultimate, Vista Home Premium, and Vista Business 64, so have a lot of experience dealing with a variety of applications in a variety of environments. In addition, I'm playing around with Windows 7 in a virtual machine. Being a developer, I read a lot of technical journals, RSS feeds, and newsgroups. Knowing all this is what prompted my friend to ask for my opinion.
Here is my response.
I recently upgraded my home network server from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008. It has a nice interface, better security, and is noticably faster than its predecessor.
The server is in a big vertical rack in a corner of my office with no chair or desk space in front of it, so using it as a console or desktop station is uncomfortable. But it's a server, so none is needed, right?
Last night, I decided I would read a couple of documents and migrate the old Windows NT 4.0 Server over to the new Dell computer with Windows Small Business Server 2003. It turns out the process is quite involved and after the third long document in tiny print, my eyes were getting bleary and time was swiftly flying by. There's a long checklist of things to make sure are in place before doing the big switch and there are many warnings that if the software is not updated, or if any of the settings are wrong or if you don't follow the directions exactly, the migration will fail!
Well, it's been a while since my last blog entry. But after the triumpful ending of my last post, it was hard to admit what ensued next. Yes, I finally got VMWare installed on Linux CentOS, but that was as far as I got with it. Try as I might, I could not get any version of Windows to install on the virtual machine I had created. It kept crashing with strange errors and in one case, even booted my whole computer (yes, the physical one, not just the virtual one).
In the old days, playing around with Linux and installing programs and such was quite a chore. Typically, only students and geeks without any social life knew how to make their systems sing and dance. All the business professionals know that time is money. So Windows was the natural choice because to install a new program, you just insert the CD and click Next, Next, Next.
But over the last few years, things have been changing. Linux is getting easier because there's been a big push to hide a lot of the gory details and just present a nice interface with buttons and rounded corners and all. I suppose you could say it's looking more like Windows (or like Macintoshes!).