jaz-lounge - Where I put thoughts and things I want to remember.

Living and working without internet

How does a web developer work if the internet is broken and no one seems able to fix it?

The short answer: Drinking coffee.

The last three weeks I spend working from home having no internet connection. The telephone still worked perfectly only my DSL stopped working at some thursday evening. And it took my internet provider more then 3 weeks. But this post is not about me arguing with O2 – or them having a poor support, it’s about a web developer without his beloved internet.

In this 3 weeks I figured that I really, really, really need the internet. I do everything with it. From trivial things like watching movies and keeping up to date on everything to finding the solution to some coding problems or reading the API documentation on some libraries.

Such things are always happening when the timing can’t be any worse. So it struck me in my first month on being self-employed working on my own projects and therefore working from home. Without internet. It was also christmas time – so I had to buy things in real stores instead of ordering them from the internet.

In one of my projects I am using AngularJS. That's a big and awesome framework (check it out if you haven't) and there are always things that do not work as expected. Working on that project was especially hard, having to figure everything out by myself instead of googling a common solution for a specific task/problem.

But not only is reading API docs a problem – most of them you can’t proper download for offline use. Also adding bower components, npm packages or ruby gems to your projects is harder without a connection into the cloud. With bower and npm you can just copy the directories into your new projects, if you have used that packages in some other project before, but bypassing bundler is a bit harder.

The work mode I used was something like, doing stuff I know will work, without needing to use any resources from the internet. So I worked on my two projects at the same time and also started a new small one (copying the nom packages from other projects). At a point where I needed internet, I started thethering using my mobile phone, but my data quotas were soon depleted and I started going out to find a place with a free wifi, where I did the work in need of the big cloud.

At the end, I can say, I really sucked working without a viable internet connection. But I also found lohas coffee, a place with free wifi (which isn’t a common thing in Hamburg) and really great coffee.

In retrospect, I think it would have been worth it to just upgrade the data quota for that month, but on the other hand, finding a place with really good coffee was also quite nice.