Thursday, June 16, 2011

Setting up a Mac OSX partition for beta development

In the past I've waited until final (GA) versions of MacOS, Xcode, iOS, etc, have been released so that I didn't pollute my development environment with potentially bad software. I've usually got one or two projects in development at any given time and I couldn't take the risk that I'd get into a state where I couldn't build and release the final project.

I know that some people move around their /Developer directory but that seemed a little risky to me; the possibility is high that I'd forget which state I was in at any given time. Also it doesn't help with new OS versions.

When I was at WWDC last week, someone suggested partitioning the drive and saving new stuff there. That's turned out to be a great idea. (so far, anyways)

To start with, I found a nice online reference for how to create a partition on the "for dummies" site. While the instructions in there didn't exactly match what I saw onscreen, they were close enough to get me going.

Here's what I did:

BTW, I make no warranties, express or implied, that this will work for you. Anytime you mess around with partitioning a disk you run the risk of completely screwing up your system so this is just an explanation of what worked for me.

Anyways, to create the new partition, I did the following:

  1. Went into Applications->Utilities->Disk Utility
  2. Selected the main disk on my macbook air.
  3. Selected the Partition button. At this point, a nice graphic of my disk use showed up.
  4. Selected the little "+" at the bottom left of the Partition Layout. That allowed me to then size my new partition.
  5. I made the new partition about 100 GB since I intended on using this for all beta stuff going forward.
  6. I called the new partition "Beta Software" and selected "Apply".

Next, I installed Mac OSX 10.7 (Lion) (BETA) into the new partition.

Then, to boot from the new partition, I selected the Startup Disk from Settings and selected my "Beta Software" partition. Clicked "Restart" and I was in the new environment. Anytime I want to switch back, I just change the startup disk. Sweet.

One thing I've noticed after restarting in 10.7, was that the "Beta Software" partition wasn't listed in "Finder". To do that I had to right-click on "Macintosh HD", select "Open enclosing folder", and then drag "Beta Software" into "Devices". (Maybe that'll change with the GA version of Lion).

So the good news is that I can now verify our software on early release code without screwing up my current development environment. The bad news is I've already found a major issue with our software running on iOS5. Hopefully they'll fix it so I don't have to :)

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