crafting (and) JavaScript

My Reproducable (Development) Environment

It is painful sometimes, but having a setup that works on any machine (that has docker), just git-clone and run is AMAZING. I use a bash script and a 2-line Dockerfile for it.

I Used to use Nix

About three years ago I used nix for it, which was definitely more compatible at runtime. No separate filesystem (as volume mapped into a docker container), but still just the executables configured. But it was too complicated, especially when it stopped working out of the box as on the latest MacOS (Catalina). I removed nix everywhere, I always say that you need a PhD to understand and efficiently use nix, so I am out.

Switch to Docker

Now with having a docker setup for each project I find problems too. Problems such as mapping the filesystem into the container only that is available. All other files on my computer are invisible. Which is great on first sight and definitely from identifying unwanted dependencies that is great. But for example when I worked on test-stitcher which parses various files also from outside of of my project it's painful, it was actually essential to have access to all files (of other projects) for this project. Currently I think I map another volume into the container but I am not very happy with that solution either. To mention just one of the challenges I faced.


Also docker is not as efficient with resources and with mapped volumes etc. So my fan does start spinning 🌬 sometimes. But to be honest I prefer those things that make me aware of handling my resources carefully and not just expect to have endless disk space and CPU power. Assuming endless resources will hurt much more down the road. I have seen that often. And it gets expensive latest when multiple colleagues complain about the environment being slow, the development cycle slowing down, and when this happens at scale it does cost and is harder to fix.

To Be Continued ...

I am looking forward to wasi.dev. As far as I understand it has the features of nix that I appreciate and the potential to set up the development and runtime environment one needs per project. I keep watching this space to improve my projects environments.

Actually, I am very surprised that our industry standard is having local, non-reproducible development environments and trying to reproduce those in production, sometimes even with different means.