Local vs. cloud-based development


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I prefer to develop using IDE that’s running locally rather than a cloud-based IDE. But sometimes, developing in the cloud is invaluable. Here are two scenarios where I’ve done cloud-based development:

  • When software doesn’t run locally
  • When you need a different OS, such as Windows

When software doesn’t run locally

Sometimes, I need to develop against software that doesn’t run locally. For example, I recently tried running Oracle 23c Free - developer release. The first thing that I discovered is that the container image only supports Intel. It doesn’t run on my M1-based Mac. Consequently, I needed to run the database somewhere else.

I suppose I could have still developed locally and connected to Oracle 23c running in the cloud using SSH port forwarding. But instead, I chose to use Gitpod. Gitpod is remarkably easy to use. I simply prefixed the Github repo URL with gitpod.io/# to create a workspace. I then used Jetbrains Gateway to connect to the workspace. Gitpod worked reasonably well although downloading the large database image was really slow.

When you need a different OS

Another scenario where I develop in the cloud is when I need to use Windows For example, I once needed to troubleshoot Windows-specific issues with my Manning LiveProject. That’s when I discovered Windows 365 Cloud PC. I now have a Windows 11 PC that runs WSL2 and Docker Desktop for Windows. It’s accessible via Microsoft Remote Desktop and seems fairly responsive.


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