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Bassem Makarem
Bassem Makarem

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at Medium

How to stop getting hurt by development environments and start having fun

Have you ever been interested in a language or framework and wanted to try it, only to then spend hours setting up your machine and downloading dependencies, so that by the time you were done you forgot what it was you were trying to do? Or maybe even given up midway because the online guide you’re following failed to mention something important and now nothing is working as expected? I’ve been there countless times, and I bet you have too.

For many years, I’ve worked on and lead multiple projects, each with their own challenges. And over time, I’ve found myself wishing I could skip the setup part — sometimes because it’s boring, and sometimes because things just wouldn’t work like they were supposed to — and jump right into an environment that’s already setup, that’s already working, so I could focus on the code itself.

over time, I’ve found myself wishing I could skip the setup part — sometimes because it’s boring, and sometimes because things just wouldn’t work like they were supposed to

If only there was a service that could provide me with dev environments that I could install on-demand. Well I decided to build one.

Over the past year, my friend and I attempted to imagine how such a service would work and what it would look like. It would take us nights of making something then scrapping it, as we tried to come up with a good development experience, with one focus in mind, to make things simpler for developers. Our work is not nearly done, as we’re still experimenting with different parts of the service, but after multiple iterations we landed on an implementation we think can help devs like you and me, and now we’re ready to share it with the dev community.

myceleum desktop appmyceleum desktop app

myceleum is a platform that enables you to setup local dev environments in a single click, making setup take minutes instead of sometimes days

Our solution — myceleum — is a platform that enables you to setup local dev environments in a single click, making setup take minutes instead of sometimes days. Moreover, we built it with teams in mind so that environments can be easily synced across devices.

So let’s say you decide to try python, and write a “hello world” or a small program with it. Instead of:

  1. trying to figure out whether you have python installed on your machine,

  2. how to install it if you don’t,

  3. how to make sure you have the correct version you want to work with,

  4. then messing around with tools that might not be too beginner friendly

Instead of all that, all you would need to do is find the python environment in myceleum and click install, wait 5–15 minutes while we set it up for you, and launch it so you can start writing and debugging your program and focus on it alone.

Adding environment variables is also very easy using the UI. They will be scoped to the project and not affect other workspaces, and will not require you to go edit your path variable if you don’t want to.

We also aim to allow you to use the IDEs you’re already comfortable with, and will try to support as wide a selection as possible. At this point in time, some IDEs integrate better than others for a good debugging experience, but we’re working on making it a great experience across the board.

One of our guiding principles was making sure myceleum was comfortable to use for beginners, without compromising the freedom of power users to use advanced techniques

We use docker containers under the hood, but you don’t need to know docker to use myceleum. One of our guiding principles was making sure myceleum was comfortable to use for beginners, without compromising the freedom of power users to use advanced techniques.

We are doing a limited release to get feedback from the community in order to discover pain points we still need to tackle. Initially, we are targeting beginners and students as we think they can benefit the most from the features we have to offer, while the team features aimed towards professionals remain in private beta for now.

TL;DR We built a cool thing, you beta check it out.

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