What’s a developer going to code on during the holidays leave?

This is the first time this year that I have a couple days leave (starting today until the end of the year, bridging between Christmas and New Years Eve), without going on a trip somewhere or spending the first two weeks with our newborn baby.

Of course I will be spending a lot of time with family and will not do anything work related, but being away from a computer for almost two weeks is probably not going to happen. I like to use these opportunities to work on various side projects that never got past the drawing board phase, or badly need some refactoring. You can say coding is an addiction, but I find it very relaxing to actually have some time to work on these fun projects.

Coen Jacobs dotfiles repository

So today I’d like to share some projects that I’ll be working on in the next couple days. Maybe it will give you some inspiration on fun little projects to do or some random code or learning to work on.

Improving my Vagrant machines

Since the start of this year, I’ve been moving all my development to Vagrant based virtual machines. I have a nice Vagrantfile that holds three nearly identical virtual machines except for the PHP version; PHP 5.3, 5.4 and since a couple days also version 5.5. This is the most convenient way I know to test for different PHP version compatibility.

Every time I mention this setup somewhere, I get the question asked if I’m ever going to share this. The answer is always ‘Yes, some day’. I’m ashamed of the status of the project and it needs some manual work every time I restart them. This can easily be workaround with improving my Puppet manifests, but I’ve neglected to do it so far. I want to get them fully working before sharing.

This setup also badly needs some documentation before I feel comfortable releasing it to the public. It all feels a little bit too amateurish and even though I’m a strong believer of the “release often, release early” phrase for projects like this, I really want to improve some more before I publish it.

Getting all my dotfiles in version control

I’ve mentioned a couple times already that I love command line applications over GUI applications. One other fun little side project that is directly related to that and also contributes to my day to day productivity and flow, is my repository of dotfiles.

My collection of dotfiles has grown over the years, but I’ve only started putting them under version control this year. The one thing I like best about putting them under version control, is that I can use a clone of the repository on all my virtual machines, VPS and local machines. Getting my dotfiles in sync with all these different machines is a tedious job, but all the small improvements are worth it in the long run.

I have a long list of dotfiles still not under version control, which I’d love to get sorted in these two weeks. Some might contain credentials or sensitive information and need refactoring, while others might not be used anymore at all. It’s time for some cleaning!

Coding between Christmas celebration and fireworks

The most important thing that I’ll be doing during this leave is enjoying my time away from work and relax. These side projects need to fit in between all the celebrations that are part of the last weeks of December.

I hope you enjoy the holidays and find an opportunity to work on the things you always put aside, but now have a chance to work on because of your extra leave days.

2 thoughts on “What’s a developer going to code on during the holidays leave?”

  1. Besides having several Vagrant environments for testing I also like to use phpcs in combination with PHPCompatibility. It really helps to get a quick overview of the PHP version compatibility of your code in cases where you made minor changes. It’s not a full replacement for unit tests but great for scanning larger codebases.


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