Jun 22, 2017

8 min read

5 Lessons Factorio Taught Me About Development

Written by

Vippy The VPS

I recently saw on thread on Reddit’s /r/webdev subreddit that asked a simple but less-than-benign question: “A lot of web dev tools as of late are like “you don’t need to code anymore!”. Doesn’t this insult you?”. This, naturally, inspired a lot of discussion—most of it was dismissive, but a portion of the responses brought up good points about the difference between learning to code something “by hand” versus having a tool automate the process for you.

Same goes for this recent blog post by Ed Coffey: DevOps: More Than Automation.

Between tools like Puppet/Chef/Ansible, scripts for setting up many different programs, Docker-based installs, and devs who are willing to freely share their configurations on Github for anyone to adapt, it’s becoming easier and easier to set up a VPS without knowing a ton about the underlying architecture.

Is that good or bad? It’s hard to say. This very blog has featured a number of tools that abstract and/or automate. Docker makes installing a number of applications incredibly easy, and so does EasyEngine (for Wordpress, at least). There’s one tutorial directly focused on Ansible and basic configuration management (CM), and there’s that one time I failed at setting up a VPN server and had to fall back on an automated script.

The Factorio factor

At this point, you might be wondering what Factorio is.

This factory/automation simulation game “in which you build and maintain factories” hinges on a simple premise: of course you can build just about anything “by hand” from your inventory, but why do something by hand when you can automate it?

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