Offline WordPress development – Part 1 of Digital Nomad series

This is the first part of a series about working as a Web Designer and Front-end Developer whilst travelling (in my case in a camper-van) – otherwise known as a Digital Nomad.

Digital Nomads are individuals who use telecommunications technologies to perform their work duties and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers typically work remotely—from home, coffee shops, public libraries, and even recreational vehicles—to accomplish tasks and goals that traditionally took place in a single, stationary workplace

(source: Wikipedia)

In Part 1 I want to focus on the tools I’ve found to make WordPress development easier when you may find yourself offline and in need of reference material and documentation.

Digital Nomad

Two years ago my girlfriend and I sold our house and took to the road in our camper van – heading south in search of the sun, into the unknown world of being a Digital Nomad.

I won’t go into the reasons why we decided to take this road (pardon the pun) as it’s not relevant to this article. However, during this time I’ve established a process and have a set of tools that allows me to work efficiently whilst offline that I’d like to share with others who are considering this lifestyle choice.

With Gratitude

I’m very grateful to work in an industry that allows such an alternative lifestyle to exist.
Being self employed is a pre-requisite if you’re in this for the long-term as you’ll need to have control over your work schedule to fit in with your travel plans.

Previously I’d always taken on work that came my way with the worry that if I turned work down I may not get offered work again from that source. In my experience this has not been the case. I work with a number of agencies and they have many external resources such as myself on their books, so saying ‘no’ to a project isn’t letting your client down.

Don’t get me wrong here, you need to keep on top of your game and deliver outstanding work each time to keep clients coming back for your services.

Offline Reference

There are times when travelling that the internet connection maybe poor – or even non-existent. (I actually find developing offline to be more productive without the distractions of email and the web).

So what can you do if you need the options for that WordPress function, or what exactly was that GIT command again?

I use a couple of apps to help me achieve what I feel is a comprehensive level of reference.

1. Dash

icon-dash

Firstly I’d like to introduce Dash.

Dash is an API Documentation Browser and Code Snippet Manager. Dash stores snippets of code and instantly searches offline documentation sets for 150+ APIs […]

Dash

Dash brings online reference material like the WordPress Codex or jQuery documentation locally to your computer for offline reference. Indispensable.

Check out the supported docsets. There are also cheat sheets and Stack Overflow docsets available for offline reference.

2. Together

icon-together

My second go-to app is Together.

Together lets you keep everything in one place. Text, documents, images, movies, sounds, web pages and bookmarks can all be dragged to Together for safe keeping, tagged, previewed, collected together in different ways and found again instantly.

Together

Together gives you bookmarklets that allow you to capture a full webpage as a webarchive. A webarchive captures all the code content for a page – which is perfect for documentation. You can then view these archives in Together (or Safari if you prefer).

Tagging is also built-in to Together making it easy to group information and of course find it again at a later date. Smart folders make organising your archives a breeze.

Also useful; when a library (such as Bootstrap or Foundation) has a new major release and the docs for that library are updated – you’ll still have reference to the older version at hand.

Forward Planning

Using Together is all about forward planning. Capture the information you’ll need when you have an internet connection.

For me, Together complements Dash by allowing me to archive smaller libraries that aren’t in the Dash docsets.

There may be times when you don’t have the answers here – when that happens I make a to-do reminder to capture the info the next time I’m online.

Wrapping It Up

I hope this information has been useful and has given inspiration to those of you who are considering entering the world of the Digital Nomad.

Part 2 I’ll be extending this article by talking about code-snippet apps.

Please comment or ask any questions below.

Thanks for reading.

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