AI ChatGPT conclusion to Linux under Windows

As a sideline (for our own website and clients), we sometimes need to run up development environments for WordPress. Although it’s the best CMS currently in our eyes (for sheer community and tooling) it is a Linux orientated solution for both the webserver (usually Apache or Nginx but PHP can be run under Windows Internet Information Server IIS using FastCGI) and database (usually MySQL in it’s various flavours). That means when you have a production grade website running node.js, webpack, optimisation and other processes in the background, it’s best to stick to running it under Linux.

You can fake it using XAMPP for Windows, which works great for basic sites, but for sites requiring package management (using composer, yarn etc) you’ll stumble across Linux expectations such as the different line control return endings in files, paths needing forward not backward slashes etc. Yes, tedious. Then it’s time to run everything under Linux, as life’s too short to fiddle with such things on top of fixing whatever issue you’re trying to get to the bottom of (usually something hellish in it’s own right). Plus, we need a solution to run Linux on our Windows machines for Python development when that runs into too many dependencies – Python can run fine in Windows on it’s own or with package managers such as Venv, Miniconda and Anaconda, but sometimes it also likes a Linux nest to curl up in.

So as we have some specific requirements on multi-configurable technologies and definitive books are somewhat outdated as soon as published, let’s ask ChatGPT from OpenAI, as everybody is raging about it (literally). It’s knowledge scraping is 2 years out of date, but that should be sufficient for a general answer and pointer.


Should we use Docker, WSL or VM on windows for WordPress development?

ChatGPT AI Answer

The choice between Docker, Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), or a virtual machine (VM) for WordPress development on Windows depends on your specific requirements and preferences. Let’s explore each option to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Docker: Docker is a containerization platform that allows you to package applications and their dependencies into isolated containers. It provides a consistent environment, making it easier to set up and manage WordPress development environments. Docker is lightweight, efficient, and can help you avoid conflicts between different software versions. It also offers portability, allowing you to easily share and replicate your development environment across different machines. If you are comfortable with Docker or want to learn it, it can be an excellent choice for WordPress development.
  2. Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL): WSL is a compatibility layer that enables you to run a Linux distribution on Windows. It provides a Linux environment within Windows, allowing you to install and run Linux-based tools and software. WSL can be beneficial if you prefer working with Linux command-line tools and utilities while still utilizing your Windows operating system. You can install a Linux distribution of your choice within WSL, set up a web server, and work with WordPress. However, it’s worth noting that WSL might have certain limitations or compatibility issues with some software or services.
  3. Virtual Machine (VM): Using a virtual machine involves running an entire operating system within your Windows environment. You can install a Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu, CentOS, or Debian, within the VM and configure it for WordPress development. VMs offer a high degree of flexibility and can provide a more complete Linux environment compared to WSL. They allow you to have full control over the operating system and its settings. However, VMs can consume more system resources and may have some performance overhead.

Consider the following factors when making your decision:

  • Familiarity: If you are already comfortable with Docker, WSL, or VMs, it might be best to stick with what you know.
  • Performance: If performance is a top concern or if you need to closely mimic a specific server environment, a VM might be a better choice. Docker can also provide good performance, but it may have a slight overhead due to containerization.
  • Workflow and tooling: Consider the tools you typically use for WordPress development. Docker has a wide range of pre-built containers and tooling available specifically for WordPress. WSL allows you to leverage Linux command-line tools directly, while VMs provide the most flexibility in terms of software installations and configurations.
  • Collaboration: If you’re working in a team where others are using a specific platform, it may be beneficial to align with their setup for easier collaboration and support.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the resources available on your system. You could even combine different approaches, such as using Docker within WSL or a VM. Experimentation and trying out different options can help you determine the most suitable setup for your WordPress development workflow.

Ok – back to the human

This answer is very good even with the usual “it depends” (so programmers not out of a job yet!). I’d avoid the combined approach as there’s enough issues with each one, but the 3 summaries are spot on. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t answer the question many are still asking on forums – how do I easily edit my Theme or Content code and persist it in the environment (eg Docker Container) whilst seeing immediate changes refreshed in the browser. But that’s another story!


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