Life Without Vagrant

Selvin Ortiz / July 21, 2015

Vagrant is an awesome open source project with so much potential and good people behind it. I began using it back in the beta days but my experience has been a bag of mixed nuts.

Vagrant doesn’t suck #

Vagrant and Docker are technologies worth being excited about, they definitely have a place in Web Development workflows and in many other applications. With so many big name companies getting on the wagon, using Vagrant should be a no brainer.

Vagrant is not right for everyone #

So, if Vagrant is so awesome, why isn’t it right for me?
All I can say is: it just doesn’t feel right!

What a lame excuse you say as you roll your eyes at me, right? ;)

It’s true though, sometimes great products just don’t feel right or they don’t fit your style or workflow for that matter.

Vagrant is relatively easy to get started with and there are plenty of resources out there to help you along the way. My biggest problem with it, was that it would stop working all of a sudden, sometimes it happened at the worse time possible. No real reason, I just had to provision again or reboot to work out network kinks, file locking or whatever.

I’m sure that I’m the one to blame for not setting things up properly or for not making sure I followed best practices but you know what, my time is way too valuable to spend it babysitting virtualization technology.

MAMP Pro for the win #

MAMP Pro is loved and hated by many, it is not without issues. I rejected MAMP Pro for the longest time, it wasn’t until I got sick of Vagrant that I decided to give it a serious try. I’m really happy with it so far, I haven’t experienced any of the bad things people complain about most often.

MAMP Pro just fits my workflow better because…

  1. I don’t care if my development/​production environments match
  2. I am not interested in sharing setups across teams
  3. I just want a virtual host up and running in seconds
  4. I already have all the automation tools I need

Not about MAMP Pro or Vagrant #

I want to make it clear that this article is not so much about comparing MAMP Pro vs Vagrant but more about choosing the right tool. If you’re not running the latest or the unspoken standard, people roll their eyes at you. I say just get over it and learn to make choices based on your workflow and focus on productivity.

Choosing the right tools #

Everyone has a style, preference, workflow, and opinion when it comes choosing the tools they use. That’s one of the things I’m very opinionated about, the right tools make a difference in productivity.

The problem is that, many developers make decisions about tooling by trying to answer the following questions:

  1. What is everyone using?
  2. What tool has more features?
  3. What tool has the sexier UI?
  4. What tool is the more customizable?
  5. What is the best open source/​commercial tool?

These are all good questions but more emphasis should be placed on how tools perform, how utilitarian they are, and how well they integrate into your workflow.

Tools do matter and every tool choice we make, should be measured by how productive we can be with it at end of the day. Forget about the temptation to check out the latest X, Y or Z product because there will always be something new. Just get to know your tools well, maximize their potential, and break away from the infinite upgrade loop.

Stay current but be smart about how you spend your time.

Focus on results #

When your project manager or technical lead asks you to show progress on that project you’ve been workingworking a whole week on, he or she won’t want to hear how sexy the font rendering is in Atom or how fast you can type vagrant up.

People want results and they want them yesterday!

Fin #

Now you know, I prefer MAMP Pro over Vagrant because it works for me and I do not care who rolls their eyes at me:)

Go on and make better choices, see you on the next article.