To write PHP applications with Android : use GNURoot Debian

In a previous post I wrote about the possibility to develop PHP applications using a tablet. The main trouble was to find a reliable application to run a web server with a recent version of PHP featuring xDebug and the ability to run unit tests. It’s manageable but not fully satisfying so I kept looking for another solution.

Then I found GNURoot Debian and it changed everything : Debian Jessie running inside a virtual machine, you can’t ask for more.

I tried several Linux emulators and GNURoot Debian was the only one to work easily without tweaking its configuration. For instance, LinuxDeploy seems very powerful but it never managed to write its configuration on the file system. Even the higher level of logging didn’t point out what the real problem was.

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Coding everywhere using an Android device

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Some while ago, I used to code with my laptop on my knees in the public transportation. That way, I made significants contributions to rss-atom-bundle and I’m sure this bundle wouldn’t be the same today without it. Meanwhile, coding with a 15” laptop in the subway means troubles with other passengers or the laptop itself like complaints, purse shots in the screen or a computer getting very hot on your knees. So I decided to keep it home.

But I couldn’t resist, I needed to keep working on open source projects so I tried to do it with a system closed to what I know on a smaller device. The Nexus 7 tablet is a good candidate for that and you’ll see in this post how I managed to set up a development environment using applications available on Google Play. I ended up with the ability to push commits on Github and to run PHPunit inside my projects.

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