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Setting up a new dev machine

As developers we have had to set up our development environment from scratch at least once.

Whether it's after getting a new machine or switching your operating system (as I have done a couple if times πŸ˜‚) could you share

  • The first tool/software you setup?

  • your must-have tools and environment variables?

Discussion (64)

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deozza profile image
Edenn Touitou • Edited on

I was so tired to set up dev environment because I was switching computers, changing os, ... that I now use remote workspace solutions.

Pick a server. Something light with 4g of ram and 64g of ssd should do the trick. Install on it docker and docker compose (to create tailored dev environment related to a dev project), portainer (to manage the containers), nginx-swag (to reverse proxy the containers to clean urls), micro (a cool text editor in the command line), fish (to have a better cli with autocompletion and stuff), and then your favorite editors. It could be code-studio, if you are a visual studio user. Or the whole jetbrains suite thanks to jetbrains projector (mind that 4g of ram might not be enough as jetbains IDE are resource black holes).

Now, you have the same dev environment accessible from anywhere, from any device. Laptop, desktop, smartphone, tablet, xbox one x, you name it. As long as it has a wifi connection and a browser.

If you don't want to open source it and handle all of that yourself, you could use external solutions like gitpod.

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babib profile image
ππšπ›π’ ✨ Author

That's interesting! Never thought of that...remote workspace solutions

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deozza profile image
Edenn Touitou

It's developping quite quickly recently. Thanks to covid and remote working. You can even build a whole remote workspace (and not only for development) with solutions like kasm. But it's more tailored towards big companies. There you will have a full ubuntu experience directly from the browser

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babib profile image
ππšπ›π’ ✨ Author

Awesome! Thanks for sharing. Would definitely give it a try

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adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett

Intriguing!

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babib profile image
ππšπ›π’ ✨ Author

Ikr

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leob profile image
leob

Yeah your coding environment completely "in the cloud" and accessible from anywhere with a thin/dumb terminal (can be almost anything - desktop, laptop, tablet, phone - although the last one is probably not very practical) - that's the holy grail ... doesn't VSCode already have a complete "spaces" solution for this?

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deozza profile image
Edenn Touitou

I think you are refering to coder.com ?

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leob profile image
leob

Hadn't heard about code.com, no I meant Gitbhub Codespaces github.com/features/codespaces

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deozza profile image
Edenn Touitou

Oh yeah. I haven't tried it yet, as it was (is still ?) in beta

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leob profile image
leob • Edited on

Well that probably means it's free lol, so that's good :) ... if it would be alpha then I'd think twice (typically you're then constantly busy working around problems and issues), but most of the time "beta" means it's almost perfect :)

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alesbe profile image
alesbe

Seems like a good solution! The experience is the same as using a local machine? You don't notice any delay or screen resolution issues?

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deozza profile image
Edenn Touitou

The experience is the same. From times to times, projector is a bit laggy because of how heavy it is compared to code-server. But otherwise, 99% of the time you won’t feel a difference

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sherrydays profile image
Sherry Day

your must-have tools

Things to clean your keyboard and screen!

Maybe it's not what folks were looking for, but if you're starting fresh, you have a chance to keep this one clean.

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babib profile image
ππšπ›π’ ✨ Author

πŸ˜‚ not what I was expecting for sure

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Shawn Crigger

I use a keyboard lock program so I can lock the keys when I clean the keyboard can’t stand a dirty laptop.

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Brian Weasner

My keyboard lock program is the power button

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gochev profile image
Nayden Gochev • Edited on

I do wsl2 backup ... and then just restore ;)

VOALA :+)

More info :

I am using Windows yes but all development is inside wsl2.

so I just do :

C:> wsl.exe --export Ubuntu c:\data\ubuntu.tar

copy the ubuntu.tar to the other machined and just do

C:> wsl.exe --import UbuntuOrOtherName d:\wsl\UbuntuDataFolder c:\data\ubuntu.tar

thats all :)

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Shawn Crigger

That’s awesome i was unaware you could do that but this year has been the first Microsoft company I’ve worked for in 25yrs. I’m very impressed with Microsoft compared to say XP or Vista. They are really spending some money to become dev platform of choice

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wrench1815 profile image
Hardeep Kumar • Edited on

The first tool or software that i setup is ofcourse operating system. There's no better tool than it. Setting it up as per my needs is what I first do. And it also helps knowing it better.

Must have tools

  • a terminal
  • vscode
  • nvim(linux)
  • insomnia
  • Vivaldi browser

Language specific tools

  • poetry(python)
  • yarn (node)
  • nvm(linux)

Linux specific

  • zsh
  • oh my zsh
  • powerlevel10k
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babib profile image
ππšπ›π’ ✨ Author

This is neatly laid out.

I have to ask. You're not a fan of chrome browser or Firefox?
Also why'd you pick out Vivaldi? (first time hearing it πŸ˜‚)

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wrench1815 profile image
Hardeep Kumar

Ehhh it's just i had to install too many extensions for debugging css then the customizations were not enough for me. Accidentally came across Vivaldi. It's got all the css debugging tools i need, got inbuilt screenshot, note taking, emails tracking, great deal of customizations and on top of that, it comes with a nice tab stacking feature which i really love a lot.

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Shawn Crigger

Since I’m working for a windows company now it took me awhile to find the tools that give me similar experiences as Mac. I would also add Powertools, Windows Terminal Preview Edition, WSL2, VSC with Tabnine extension and RemoteSSH

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Devops Bro

I actually love the process of setting up a new dev computer. It’s the perfect time to dump old apps and try new apps.

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katafrakt profile image
PaweΕ‚ ŚwiΔ…tkowski

this

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden
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babib profile image
ππšπ›π’ ✨ Author

Just went through it. It's a great write up thanks for sharing.

I couldn't help but notice you use a lot of browsers

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Yes I have a lot installed but really i'm only using Brave each day and for testing Firefox, Chrome and Safari usually.

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Jeremy Friesen

I wrote a Runbook to help me remember what I want on my machine, and I have it as part of my dotzshrc repository:
github.com/jeremyf/dotzshrc/

I prefer documentation because I'm not often building a machine and I can share these things with others.

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babib profile image
ππšπ›π’ ✨ Author

Just checked it out. It's dope! The Readme file is concise and comprehensive. Thanks for sharing!

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Brian Heidrich

I actually use Vagrant to manage my dev environments. I have a repo for my different dev environments that has my Vagrantfile. So any time I reinstall Windows or reset my Macbook I only need to install Vagrant and VMWare Workstation Pro.

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babib profile image
ππšπ›π’ ✨ Author

Thanks for sharing. First time hearing about Vagrant.

I have a lot to learn!

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Nathan Hedglin

I use chocolately with a custom script to install everything for my work computer.

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babib profile image
ππšπ›π’ ✨ Author

Everybody seems to have custom scripts for setting up their workspace πŸ˜…

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hijoe profile image
HiJoe

This is the way.

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Fakie Tap

I discovered choco late in my life... but i do love it!

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babib profile image
ππšπ›π’ ✨ Author
  • The first software I always install is the chrome browser. 🀷🏽 It's usually my default 😊

And honestly speaking I sometimes have to make a list for the rest but still forgot some tools. My must-haves are usually

  • node, npm, VS code (with favorite plugins and extensions), git, intelliJ, jdk, xampp, postman

I'm sure I've forgotten some but they come as the need arises πŸ˜‚

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k_penguin_sato profile image
K-Sato • Edited on
  • The first tool/software you setup?
    Probably Homebrew!

  • your must-have tools
    Hard to say but VSCode or Chrome!

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anasrin profile image
anasrin

git

not only for repository project but also for repository software configuration / setting file such as dotfiles in *nix term.
this is make set up more easier, just store your configuration as a git repository and upload on git hosting like GitHub and just clone on your new system / machine.

stow

stow is symlink farm manager, managing dotfiles symlink folder.
simple yet powerful.

docker

for me docker is like lightweight and fast virtual machine or local VPS, with docker I can make Dockerfile (basically just bunch of command to install dependency and pack it into an image file) and I don't need to worry about missing any dependency.
just need to binding port and project folder and you ready to develop and testing.
pretty much my workflow is using docker.

tmux

tmux is a terminal multiplexer, tmux allow you to create split pane, window, and many more without depend on your terminal.
I also install tmux on docker image.

neovim

my text editor of choice, run on terminal, simple, lot of feature such as plugin and LSP.
I also install neovim and LSP (depending on project stack) on docker image and run from docker container.

lazygit

simple terminal UI for git commands.
work great in tmux by setting shortcut to popup lazygit and I install lazygit in docker too.

alacritty

just a simple terminal emulator, nothing more.
great to combine with tmux.

firefox

my browser of choice, not resource intensive and pretty good for reading (documentation for most of the time) and keep connect with people.
using firefox with difference profile just to make it easy to organize.

pretty much my workflow is on terminal.

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Waylon Walker

Fantastic list! stow is essential for setting up a new machine!

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Nik F P

I'm not a full time dev, so my machines have to pull double duty for other work. Related to dev I do the following:

First tools to set up:

  • VS Code
  • Docker
  • WSL2 (I use Windows machines)

Then within WSL2:

  • Git
  • Node Version Manager
  • Oh-My-Posh
  • PNPM (the only globally installed Node package I use)

Pretty much everything else I could install for local development (postgres, redis, etc) I run with Docker containers instead, keeps my local installs list short and clean.

Not required but I freaking love it: Windows Terminal. It's configurable and it just works.

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anasrin profile image
anasrin

same thing, install everything on docker image

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Waylon Walker

I have an ansible playbook that installs everything I need for my development workflow. I have a single script that will setup ansible and run through the playbook. I keep it in my dotfiles.

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/WaylonWalker/devtainer/main/bootstrap | bash
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Marcelo Andrade R.

In a brand new machine (almost always linux) first things to install are git and vim then I install my dotfiles github.com/marceloandrader/dotfiles then the password manager (pass), then start working and reviewing what do I need, things that I install during that time are docker, asdf (to install different versions of node, postgresql, mysql, php, elixir) then in each project just docker compose up -d to install dev dependencies.

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unsungnovelty profile image
Nikhil • Edited on

I have been playing with Nix package manager which provides reproducibility. And Nix package manager can be installed on most Linux distros and MacOS. This means you don't necessarily need to use NixOS to take advantage of Nix package manager. Just install Ubuntu, Debian, Arch or in MacOS and install Nix package manager. Another thing is that once you have setup nix and have a nix configuration file, all you have to do is run a command to reproduce the same result in a system. No more starting from scratch.

Another cool thing I am yet to play with is that you can use multiple versions of a package and use each version independently with nix package manager. This means AFAIK, I can have two versions of nginx and use both versions independently at the same time.

Nix repo have most of the apps necessary for a developer. IMO lesser packages than Arch repos including AUR and larger than a lot of the Linux distros.I can get latest stable packages like other rolling distros with unstable channel of nix. This will be my future. I would recommend checking it out -> nixos.org/learn.html.

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Raymond Price

The first thing I setup is OneDrive, because I have a folder with all the applications I need to get a computer back to full operation. Then I run a Ninite installer with most of the stuff I need, install VSCode and Settings Sync to download my extensions there.

I also install Git, NodeJS/.NET runtimes, and some other fun stuff because this is also my personal machine, but those are the notable ones.

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Ahmet Cetin

Or keep your repos in GitHub, open the repo in browser, and press dot in your keyboard (β€œ.”). VoilΓ , you start edit your code in vscode using your settings and plugins even if you keep your settings in GitHub as well.

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RaΓ­ B. Toffoletto

I have a custom python script to install everything I like in a new linux vm, tools , my confifs and nodejs! Very handy, only thing I mess with my desktop OS are my ssh keys, everything else is done in vms 😁

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Eddy Cordero

I hear about a company that gives for new devs a batch script that called a Package Manage and install all tools that developer need for work.

You could implement that and when you need to move to other computer is only run the script.

Also some IDE or code editors allow you to save all config on your account and you only need to log in on your new computer.

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O. AlQudah

I start (on Linux) by updating system packages, then using the package manager to install my essential tools (useful cli tools, browser, notion, telegram, vscode etc.), then I clone my dotfiles repo to get app configs just like they were before moving.

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highasthedn

On my long to-do-list is an item called "Setup dev environment with WSL". I tried it once but was struggling with a super slow React application which hot loading time was terrible. I think that's a problem with Windows / NTFS stuff, didn't had time and desire to have a closer lock to it. Maybe some day I will do it πŸ˜„
So for now first stuff I install for a new dev machine is Git for sure, followed by nvm, Docker and VSCode. I love the settings sync feature in VSCode which is fetching my settings and desired plugins from my GitHub account, so I don't need to start configuring everything from the scratch

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Michael Kohl

The first tool/software you setup?

On a Mac: Homebrew, to install git. All my dotfiles (including a Brewfile) so that's all I really need.

On my Windows machine I would just restore the latest backup of my WSL2 container.

Linux: install git with distro's package manager, restore dotfiles.

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Diego Souza

I’m on ubuntu… I got a shell script to install all softwares that I need in my device. Some things i cant install, such as zsh theme and some configurations in terminal…
in the same shell script, there’s a little step by step, in comment section, who has the links and β€œhow-do” to do X and Y stuff

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Peter Witham

Over time I have started to think more about remote machines or containers to help with this. The problem with that for me is remote is great until you loose Internet (hey it happens more often than we think).

Right now I try to keep my automated script up to date for all the big things, but here's my starter.

  • I start with Xcode to get the command line tools.
  • Next is brew and run my script.
  • I recently started using this great script (paid version) Ruby on Mac Prime. It keeps Ruby and other vitals unto date without me chasing them all the time.
  • Then it's 1Password so I can access accounts easily.
  • JetBrains tool suite.

And that's my basic starter, doesn't sound like much but it gets all the things I need in place to start with the other things.

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jzombie • Edited on

I use several computers and all the major operating systems, so my setup can get crazy sometimes, however, I've found this to be rather useful...

VSCode has awesome support for remote development if you have multiple machines and want to use one (or more of them) as a potential dev server: code.visualstudio.com/docs/remote/ssh

Many of the extensions using these tools will run on the remote server, and you can use a low-end machine for VSCode, and it will run your linter and various extensions, on the remote machine.

It comes in really handy for development servers you may want to run in the cloud somewhere (i.e. on DigitialOcean / Vultr), and you can just code right on top of them.

It's also useful if you just want to use another local computer to hack around on some code stored on another computer on your LAN.

After the initial setup, the plugins you have configured to work on the remote dev server will be synced to the client servers on connect, for the duration of that session.

It feels like you're not even using a remote machine, plus it maps the remote ports you use to localhost.

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Henrique Ramos

The first thing I install is chezmoi and I apply my dotfiles using:

sh -c "$(curl -fsLS chezmoi.io/get)" -- init --apply $GITHUB_USERNAME
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and then I install VSCode.

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Matt Kokidko

This should be easy since I am doing it now. Also, I’m a Linux command line junkie that usually work on windows for work so that should explain the first few: Git bash with my custom .bashrc and .bash_alias for quicker commands and some functions to pretty print remote branch commit and log details. Download tmux, the libs to enable it in the git bash shell, and my tmux.conf. Keepass to pull in my 10+ year old password file. WSL with Debian. Gvim, EMacs, and Notepad++. Winmerge. Firefox and chrome, logging in and pulling all my synced bookmarks and extensions. Firefox containers, tweak them and add new container or set of containers for new work environment. Vscode. Possibly squirrel sql client. Move mouse from the windows store to keep the computer from going to sleep when I’m looking at my other computer or stepping away for a few minutes.

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Ricardo Chan

Homebrew, and I have a script which I use to install my dotfiles :)

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Tiago Nunes

Definitly homebrew first

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codewander • Edited on

Try as hard as you can to use gitpod, then fallback to dev, possibly using asdf, on machine if you hit a severe roadblock.

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cednore profile image
cednore

I am a big fan of ubuntu as well. Here's a gist I use whenever I have fresh install of OS.
gist.github.com/cednore/65a11bef1f...

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hijoe profile image
HiJoe • Edited on

I use dotfiles and run a script.

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Programming is a Joke

I have actually written a post on this topic.
dev.to/programmingisajoke/how-i-se...

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Vu

Here, this is my post for setup environment for backend develop.

dev.to/im6h/my-setup-mac-for-backe...