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    Hey guys,

    Within the past year or so I’ve become very accustomed to local development, ever since learning about the sloppiness of “cowboy coding”, i.e. making changes and uploading them directly to a server before seeing if they actually worked.

    However, there’s one instance I’ve found where cowboy coding seems to be the only real way to go – developing for online platforms that cannot be installed locally.

    Just for an example, I was recently hired to create a Buycraft template – Buycraft is basically a webstore plugin for Minecraft servers. What I’ve found is that, since the store itself is generated using several html files and template tags, I have three options for development:

    1. Go through the default webstore, copy the output HTML for every possible page, and create a local equivalent for each one (uselessly time-consuming)
    2. Find a way to locally process the template files similarly to how they are processed remotely (way too much effort for this)

    3. Use a local workflow to develop the gist of the site, convert this code to templates that line up with the originals, upload them, and simply work remotely from there.

    I’ve used option three for all three of the Buycraft templates I’ve created. On this latest one, I’m using grunt with an ftp deployment task, so my CSS and JS can be uploaded automatically whenever I change them locally. It’s a really smooth workflow for this purpose, and I really can’t think of any complaints apart from the 1-2 seconds it takes to upload the files upon every change.

    In short, here’s what I’m wondering: when they say that cowboy coding is bad, are they really just talking about live sites? Obviously, if you have a site that’s already in use, it could be dangerous to make on-the-fly changes like that – but if you’re forced to work remotely, and on a site that has been specifically set up for private development, there’s really no other way, is there?

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