Organizing Projects with Lakespace


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When researching, designing and developing software, our goal is to organize and reduce complexity. When you’re working on more than one project, it’s nice to be able to save the state of your workflow when you need to switch context to another project.

Lakespace was designed for this purpose, but can be utilized for broader workspace goals (running certain commands in terminal windows, resizing your browser and terminal windows, moving them to the appropriate desktop - for example.) It’s a workspace utility manager designed to bring up the editor, browser, and associated information you need to get right back to editing your code and getting things done.

Using a simple config.toml file, you can define a project workspace comprised of an IDE, browser windows and tabs, and command line terminal windows.

Lakespace is available on npm as a package. Installation and use is straight forward:

# npm install -g lakespace

Lakespace uses toml - Tom’s obvious markup language, for configuration. Once you have lakespace installed, go into your project and create a lakespace.toml file:

[example_window_name]
browser = "firefox"
tabs = [
  "https://ajduncan.org/",
  "https://lakesite.net/",
  "https://duncaningram.com/"
]

[ide]
editor = "codium"
project_directory = "."

Then you can type:

            $ lakespace

Which will open a new firefox browser window with three tabs, and open the codium editor for the current directory.

Lakespace is actively developed for use with Ubuntu Linux, with gnome terminal. A new release will be out that supports OSX and iTerm2. Windows 10 support may be limited, depending on command line options or scripting for the new Windows Terminal.

A more complex example of a lakespace configuration:

[lakespace]
desktop = "3"

[applicant]
browser = 'firefox'
tabs = [
	"https://github.com/lakesite/lakespace",
	"https://github.com/mozilla/multi-account-containers/issues/319",
	"https://github.com/toml-lang/toml",
	"https://github.com/ogt/valid-url",
	"https://www.npmjs.com/package/lakespace"
]

[ide]
editor = 'atom'
path = ''

[terminal_1]
working_directory = "/home/andy/projects"
command_1 = "ls -la"
command_2 = "cd ~/projects; ls -lah"
offset = "500,500"

[terminal_2]
desktop = "4"
working_directory = "/var/www/development/"
command = "ls"
offset = "2048,250"

When we run Lakespace the desktop will switch to the associated “3” desktop.
Firefox will then be launched with five tabs. The Atom editor will run. Two terminal windows will start. The first will have two tabs with a working directory of ‘/home/andy/projects’, the first tab will issue the command ‘ls -la’, the second tab will issue the command ‘cd ~/projects; ls -lah”. The terminal window itself will have an offset of 500, 500 in the desktop.

The next terminal will load under the “4” desktop, with one tab, using the command ls, with an offset of 2048,250.

This layout represents three physical screens across 9 desktops.

With this utility, you can have several projects allocated to different virtual desktops, each with a state you can restore on boot, allowing you to open the associated URLs for your project, run commands (cd project && vagrant up), and generally control the workspace.

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