Adventuring Beyond the Local Development Environment



Web developers have access to better and better tools, but many of us use the same local dev environments we used 5 years ago. Let's discuss how we can make a better future for developing websites on our computers by adventuring beyond the concept of a "local development environment".


All web developers face a simple problem: to develop our projects locally, we need to install a set of services (a web server, a code interpreter, a database server) on our computers.

While we’ve had methods to create this local development environment in the past, they all have unique issues. Local development solutions using native installations of basic services (think MAMP or installing services using Homebrew) don’t achieve adequate production parity and leave team members using different versions of key tools. Newer virtualized solutions like Vagrant can solve some problems, but can be frustratingly slow to use.

Furthermore, a local development environment seems particularly inadequate when many of our development tools are moving into the cloud. We host, test, even develop on remote platforms. Shouldn’t our local computer integrate with production environments and remote services in the most seamless way possible?

In this BoF, I’ll provide a short summary of existing local development services and lead a discussion around what qualities we, as open source developers, want to see in the ideal local development solution. As a glimpse of one potential future, I’ll present Kalabox, an open-source integrated workflow solution that uses container technology to start collapsing the boundaries between “local” and “production” spaces. Together we’ll adventure beyond the concept of the local development environment to explore a new future of web development!


Docker, local development

Speaking experience

I've presented on this topic and others at a host of Drupal conferences from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Stanford, Sacramento, and beyond. The most recent iteration of this presentation can be seen on Slideshare: