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1. Desktop server
As we mentioned, DesktopServer is built on top of XAMPP. This is good news, especially for those who are currently using this particular stack, as it is virtually guaranteed to work with your system out of the box.
DesktopServer is a new generation of local environment which gives you a pleasant interface to navigate. It also takes a minimum of clicks for an installation to be operational. Ultimately, it's great for developers who regularly launch sites. In addition, because the software itself can be optimized, it is
much faster than a standard XAMPP stack.
If you want to test the DesktopServer drive (or one of the other similar solutions), a free version is available. However, this is quite limited and serves, for all intents and purposes, as a demo. The premium version costs around $ 100 (at the time of writing this article).
2. Vary vagrant vagrants (VVV)
Now we'll move on to tools that primarily use the command line, starting with the WordPress developer's tool of choice. The eccentric and open-source Varying Vagrant Vagrants is built on top of the Vagrant environment. It provides a functional browser-based graphical user interface (GUI) to manage your installations.
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Using VVV is naturally more complex than a tool like DesktopServer, but for the experienced developer this shouldn't be a problem. Each installation is actually a virtual environment powered by VirtualBox, which you mainly manage from your terminal or PowerShell.
There are a few simple commands to learn, and the majority of your non-development time will be spent on “provisioning”. In other words, apply the changes and update the installation. As such, it won't necessarily be fast in practice depending on your workflow, although under the hood it is much faster than XAMPP.
Finally, we have Docker. It is basically an alternative to VVV, and those who use it support its speed over this solution. We agree that there is a clear speed advantage for those who create a lot of installs, but it could be of no consequence to everyone except the most time-pressed developers.
Overall, Docker offers a harder to digest infrastructure than Vagrant, but a much faster process due to less strain on CPU and RAM. You may also find that each particular "container" is smaller in size, due to the structures inherent in VVV and Docker.
Determining whether Docker or VVV is right for you is beyond the scope of this article. However, this coin offers a full look at both platforms. We recommend that you start with VVV and research other solutions as your needs change.
“Always develop in a local environment” was embedded in your throat to such an extent that it could be imprinted on your gravestone. A good start is to use a tool like XAMPP, but there are plenty of WordPress-centric solutions out there as well. These even come with added benefits in terms of speed and functionality to boot.
For example, VVV is run from the command line and is the environment of choice for the WordPress developer. Docker is just as good, and arguably even faster. However, a tool like DesktopServer can straddle the line between power and ease of use. This could be the answer to your local WordPress development prayers!
This article was originally posted by Tom Rankin on the GoDaddy Blog. Image by: Alexandru Acea on Unsplash
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