Setting Up a Basic Development Environment

This page is geared towards newcomers who may need help setting up their development environment for the first time.

A basic development environment typically includes an interpreter or compiler for the language that you are coding in, a terminal or terminal emulator for running command line scripts, a text or code editor, and, if you are writing web software, a web browser.


Installing NodeJS and NPM

NodeJS is a JavaScript runtime built on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine. Node uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient. A lot of developer tooling is based on Node and several FCC tutorials use it as well. NPM is a package manager for NodeJS packages and comes bundled with the Node installer.

Installing NodeJS on Windows and macOS

The easiest way to install Node on Windows and macOS is by downloading and running the installer from their website.

Click Here to go to the download page

Select and download the installer that applies to your system architecture. Once the download completes, run the installer and follow the prompts. NPM also comes bundled with the installer by default.

Installing NodeJS on Linux

The easiest way to install the most current, stable release of NodeJS on most Linux distros is by using the systems package manager. To install Node on Linux, find your distibution in the table below, copy the command in the right column, open a terminal, paste in the command, and press enter. If your distibution is not listed, refer to the install page on NodeJS.org

Distro Command
Debian / Ubuntu
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs
RHEL, CentOS, Fedora
curl --silent --location https://rpm.nodesource.com/setup_6.x | sudo bash -
Then run:
sudo yum install -y nodejs

Installing a terminal

Most operating systems come with a terminal or terminal emulator installed by default. Refer to the table below for instrcuctions on launching a terminal window on your OS.

OS Description
Windows Press the windows key, type "command prompt", click the black terminal icon. Alternatively, search for "powershell", it's icon is blue.
macOS Press Command Key + Spacebar, type "terminal", click the terminal icon
Debian/Ubuntu Press Ctrl+Alt+T

Not all terminals are created equally. Some may lack certain features. Here are some links to alternative terminal applications if you would like to try them out:


Installing a Text or Code Editor

A code editor is what you will use to write software. Code editors provide a ton of features that are useful to developers that aren't present in regular text editors. These features include things like syntax highlighting, code linting and formatting, git integration, and many, many others.

There are tons of great code editors out there. A few of the more popular editors include Visual Studio Code (VS Code), Sublime Text, and Atom.

Visual Studio Code (VS Code)

VS Code is a free code editor from Microsoft. Notable features include IntelliSense, advanced debugging, and git integration.

To install VS Code on Windows, macOS, and Linux (Debian/Ubuntu, RHEL/Fedora/SUSE), download and run the installer from the Downloads page.

Sublime Text

Sublime text is a code editor built primarily in C++ and supports plugins written in Python. Notable features include Multi-Edit, Go-To Symbol, excellent performance, and a mature plugin environment.

To install Sublime Text on macOS and Windows, download and run the installer from the downloads page.

To install Sublime Text on your Linux machine, go to the Linux Package Manager Repositories page and locate and follow the instructions per your installed package manager.

Atom

Atom is an open source code editor from GitHub built on Electron. Notable features include open source, GitHub Desktop integration, huge amount of packages and themes available, and easy to extend.

To install Atom on Windows, macOS, and most flavors of Linux, visit atom.io and click on the download button. Once the download completes, run the installer.


Installing a Web Browser

In order to run and test much of the web code you will write, you are going to need a modern web browser. Chrome and Firefox are currently the most popular browsers that will run the most up to date standards of JavaScript.

Installing Chrome

To install Chrome on Windows, macOS, and most flavors of Linux, visit the Chrome homepage, locate and click the blue Download button. Once the download completes, run the installer and follow the prompts.

Installing Firefox

To install Firefox on Windows, macOS, and most flavors of Linux, visit the Download page, locate and click the green Download button. Once complete, run the installer and follow the prompts.

Using Web Browser's Developer Tools

Today's modern web browsers are more powerfull than ever. Not only will they display your HTML and run your JavaScript, but they come bundled with powerful developer tools. These tools allow you to debug your JavaScript, inspect your HTML elements, and get your CSS just right all in the browser. Vist MDN web docs to learn how to get the most out of your web browser.

For more information about Chrome DevTools vist Chrome DevTools

And a similar page for whats available in Firefox can be found Here.


You now have all the basic pieces of software you need to start writing slick websites and web applications.

Happy Coding!