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A beginner's guide to setting up a development environment on Mac OS X

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Mac OS X Dev Setup

This document describes how I set up my developer environment on a new MacBook or iMac. We will set up Node, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Go environments.

The document assumes you are new to Mac. The steps below were tested on OS X Mountain Lion.

System update

First thing you need to do, on any OS acutally, is update the system! For that: Apple Icon > Software Update...

System preferences

If this is a new computer, there are a couple tweaks I like to make to the System Preferences. Feel free to follow these, or to ignore them, depending on your personal preferences.

In Apple Icon > System Preferences:

  • Trackpad > Tap to click
  • Keyboard > Key Repeat > Fast (all the way to the right)
  • Keyboard > Delay Until Repeat > Short (all the way to the right)
  • Dock > Automatically hide and show the Dock

Google Chrome

Install your favorite browser, mine happens to be Chrome.

Download from Open the .dmg file once it's done downloading (this will mount the disk image), and drag and drop the Google Chrome app into the Applications folder (on the Mac, most applications are installed this way). When done, you can unmount the disk in Finder (the small eject icon next to the disk under Devices).

You can optionally install Google Chrome Canary, which gets the latest updates first, however also has noticable bugs at times.


Package managers make it so much easier to install and update applications (for Operating Systems) or libraries (for programming languages). The most popular one for OS X is Homebrew.


An important dependency before Homebrew can work is the Command Line Tools for Xcode. These include compilers that will allow you to build things from source.

Now, Xcode weights something like 2GB, and you don't need it unless you're developing iPhone or Mac apps. Good news is Apple provides a way to install only the Command Line Tools, without Xcode. To do this you need to go to, and sign in with your Apple ID (the same one you use for iTunes and app purchases). Unfortunately, you're greeted by a rather annoying questionnaire. All questions are required, so feel free to answer at random.

Once you reach the downloads page, search for command line tools, and download the latest Command Line Tools (OS X Mountain Lion) for Xcode. Open the .dmg file once it's done downloading, and double-click on the .mpkg installer to launch the installation. When it's done, you can unmount the disk in Finder.

Note: If you are running OS X 10.9 Mavericks, then you can install the Xcode Command Line Tools directly from the command line with $ xcode-select --install, and you don't have to go through the download page and the questionnaire.

Finally, we can install Hombrew! In the terminal paste the following line (without the $), hit Enter, and follow the steps on the screen:

$ ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

One thing we need to do is tell the system to use programs installed by Hombrew (in /usr/local/bin) rather than the OS default if it exists. We do this by adding /usr/local/bin to your $PATH environment variable:

$ echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bash_profile

Open an new terminal tab with Cmd+T (you should also close the old one), then run the following command to make sure everything works:

$ brew doctor


To install a package (or Formula in Homebrew vocabulary) simply type:

$ brew install <formula>

To update Homebrew's directory of formulae, run:

$ brew update

Note: I've seen that command fail sometimes because of a bug. If that ever happens, run the following (when you have Git installed):

$ cd /usr/local
$ git fetch origin
$ git reset --hard origin/master

To see if any of your packages need to be updated:

$ brew outdated

To update a package:

$ brew upgrade <formula>

Homebrew keeps older versions of packages installed, in case you want to roll back. That rarely is necessary, so you can do some cleanup to get rid of those old versions:

$ brew cleanup

To see what you have installed (with their version numbers):

$ brew list --versions

GNU Core Utilities

The GNU Core Utilities are the basic file, shell and text manipulation utilities of the GNU operating system. These are the core utilities which are expected to exist on every operating system. However the one's that come preinstalled with Mac are a bit older.

$ brew install coreutils
# Install GNU `find`, `locate`, `updatedb`, and `xargs`, g-prefixed
$ brew install findutils

Bash v4

Do to lack of Associative Arrays in Bash (Version < 3) i decided to install bash from Homebrew.

$ brew install bash

After installation, you must set your new bash as default bash in to your system. Homebrew installs bash to /usr/local/bin/

If you wish to check your current bash version, just echo these variables:

$ echo $BASH_VERSION # gives full version
$ echo $BASH_VERSINFO # gives major version number

We will use chsh command to proceed but before that, we must add this new bash location in to /etc/shells. Otherwise, system will alert an error. Now, lets edit file:

$ sudo vim /etc/shells

add this line at the end of the list:


Now, we can run chsh command:

$ chsh -s /usr/local/bin/bash YOUR_USER_NAME # ex. for me this was macinator

Enter your password to proceed. Now you can restart and check if the installation is correct:


Bash Completions

All hail the bash completions + tab. You can thank me lata!

$ brew install bash-completion

Generic Colouriser

Generic Colouriser is a great utility which can be used for colourising many different types of output and log files.


$ brew install grc

Then just add the following to your .bash_profile:

source "`brew --prefix grc`/etc/grc.bashrc"


I really like the Consolas font for coding. Being a Microsoft (!) font, it is not installed by default. Since we're going to be looking at a lot of terminal output and code, let's install it now.

There are two ways we can install it. If you bought Microsoft Office for Mac, install that and Consolas will be installed as well.

If you don't have Office, follow these steps:

$ brew install cabextract
$ cd ~/Downloads
$ mkdir consolas
$ cd consolas
$ curl -O
$ cabextract PowerPointViewer.exe
$ cabextract

And click Install Font. Thanks to Alexander Zhuravlev for his post.

Beautiful terminal

Since we spend so much time in the terminal, we should try to make it a more pleasant and colorful place. What follows might seem like a lot of work, but trust me, it'll make the development experience so much better.

Add theme

Let's add some color. I'm a big fan of the Solarized color scheme. It is supposed to be scientifically optimal for the eyes. I just find it pretty.

Scroll down the page and download the latest version. Unzip the archive. In it you will find the folder with a file, but I will just walk you through it here:

  • In Terminal > Preferences, under Settings, cclick the cog at the bottom left to Import, find and open the two .terminal files we downloaded.
  • Go back to Settings and select Solarized Dark to activate it, hit Default to make it the default theme. Voila!

Change the font

Let's go ahead and change the font. In Terminal > Preferences..., under the tab Settings, section Text, change both fonts to Consolas 13pt.


Note: You don't have to do this, but there is one color in the Solarized Dark preset I don't agree with, which is Bright Black. You'll notice it's too close to Black. So I change it to be the same as Bright Yellow, i.e. R 83 G 104 B 112.

Not a lot of colors yet. We need to tweak a little bit our Unix user's profile for that. This is done (on OS X and Linux), in the ~/.bash_profile text file (~ stands for the user's home directory).

We'll come back to the details of that later, but for now, just download the files .bash_profile, .helpers, attached to this document into your home directory (.bash_profile is the one that gets loaded, I've set it up to call the others as well.):

$ cd ~
$ curl -O
$ curl -O
$ curl -O
$ curl -O
$ curl -O
$ curl -O
$ curl -O

At this point you can also change your computer's name, which shows up in this terminal prompt. If you want to do so, go to System Preferences > Sharing. For example, I changed mine from Jess's MacBook Pro to just Jess-MacBook-Pro, so it shows up as Jess-MacBook-Pro in the terminal.

Now we have a terminal we can work with!

Thanks to Mathias Bynens for his awesome dotfiles. Also many thanks to Zach Holman's dotfiles.


Also just like we did above for terminal, install the Solarized color scheme (this time using iterm2-colors-solarized instead of

Since we're going to be spending a lot of time in the command-line, let's install a better terminal than the default one. Download and install iTerm2 (the newest version, even if it says beta release).

Or install using Homebrew Cask:

$ brew tap caskroom/cask
$ brew install brew-cask
$ brew tap caskroom/versions
# to save apps in /Applications
$ export HOMEBREW_CASK_OPTS="--appdir=/Applications"
$ brew cask install iterm2-beta

In Finder, drag and drop the iTerm Application file into the Applications folder.

You can now launch iTerm, through the Launchpad for instance.

Let's just quickly change some preferences. In iTerm > Preferences..., under the tab General, uncheck Confirm closing multiple sessions and Confirm Quit iTerm2 (Cmd+Q) command under the section Closing.

In the tab Profiles, create a new one with the + icon, and rename it to your first name for example. Then, select Other Actions... > Set as Default. Finally, under the section Window, change the size to something better, like Columns: 90 and Rows: 40. Under General, change to Reuse previous session's directory.

When done, hit the red X in the upper left (saving is automatic in OS X preference panes). Close the window and open a new one to see the size change.

Option-Right & Option-Left

Go to the Keys tab and change Option Right to Send Escape Sequence f & Option Left to Send Escape Sequence B


What's a developer without Git? To install, simply run:

$ brew install git

When done, to test that it installed fine you can run:

$ git --version

And $ which git should output /usr/local/bin/git.

Let's set up some basic configuration. Download the .gitconfig file to your home directory:

$ cd ~
$ curl -O

It will add some color to the status, branch, and diff Git commands, as well as a couple aliases. Feel free to take a look at the contents of the file, and add to it to your liking.

Next, we'll define your Git user (should be the same name and email you use for GitHub and Heroku):

$ git config --global "Your Name Here"
$ git config --global ""

They will get added to your .gitconfig file.

To push code to your GitHub repositories, we're going to use the recommended HTTPS method (versus SSH). So you don't have to type your username and password everytime, let's enable Git password caching as described here:

$ git config --global credential.helper osxkeychain

Note: On a Mac, it is important to remember to add .DS_Store (a hidden OS X system file that's put in folders) to your .gitignore files. You can take a look at this repository's .gitignore file for inspiration.

Make git logs pretty

Based off this article.

Type into terminal:

$ git config --global alias.lg "log --color --graph --pretty=format:'%Cred%h%Creset -%C(yellow)%d%Creset %s %Cgreen(%cr) %C(bold blue)<%an>%Creset' --abbrev-commit"

Running git lg shows the pretty log and git lg -p shows the lines that changed.


My favorite text-editor is Vim. It is a very popular text editor inside the terminal, and is usually pre-installed on any Unix system.

For example, when you run a Git commit, it will open Vim to allow you to type the commit message.

I suggest you read a tutorial on Vim. Grasping the concept of the two modes of the editor, Insert (by pressing i) and Normal (by pressing Esc to exit Insert mode), will be the part that feels most unatural. After that it's just remembering a few important keys.


Vim's default settings aren't great, and you could spend a lot of time tweaking your configuration (the .vimrc file).

I already did all the work for you here.

Install my .vim files by running:

$ cd ~/
$ git clone --recursive ~/.vim
$ cp ~/.vim/vimrc.txt ~/.vimrc

With that, Vim will look a lot better next time you open it!

  • If upon firing up vim, you get errors for Pathogen and not being able to find Solarized, read this. It will clear everything right up.


You can optionally install a more recent version of vim.

$ brew install vim --override-system-vi


OS X, like Linux, ships with PHP already installed. However to run PHP apps locally you will have to make a few tweaks.

Install Latest PHP

$ brew tap josegonzalez/homebrew-php
$ brew install php55

In your /etc/apache2/httpd.conf file make sure LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/ is not commented out.

Next, if you do not currently have a ~/Sites directory, create one. Then make sure you have a file in /etc/apache2/users/ that is named after your computer. For example my computer is named macinator so I have a macinator.conf file that looks like the following:

<Directory "/Users/macinator/Sites">
    Options Indexes MultiViews FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride None
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all

Virtual Hosts

Unless you will only ever be working on a single site, you need a way to have multiple sites available. A convenient way is to create local DNS entries and virtual hosts.

First of all youll need a way to enter local DNS entries, test.local or whatever you prefer. You can add as many entries as you need by editing the /etc/hosts file:             localhost       broadcasthost
::1                   localhost
fe80::1%lo0           localhost   

Next create the virtual hosts in /etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf:

NameVirtualHost *:80
<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot "/Volumes/Master/macinator/Sites/"
<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot "/Volumes/Master/macinator/Sites/blog-project"

Restart Apache sudo apachectl restart and you are good to go.

Better Directory Theme

I like to swap out the default Apache directory listing with something a bit prettier.

Be sure you have mod_autoindex loaded.

Add the contents of directory-theme repo to the root folder of your localhost (ex. Sites)

$ cd ~/Sites/
$ git clone
$ cp -r directory-theme/* .
$ rm -rf directory-theme/
$ mv htaccess-txt.txt .htaccess

Now when viewing your sites folder via browser it should have a much prettier theme. (this is if your sites folder is viewed via it's virtual host url, see above for virtual hosts)


OS X, like Linux, ships with Python already installed. But you don't want to mess with the system Python (some system tools rely on it, etc.), so we'll install our own version with Homebrew. It will also allow us to get the very latest version of Python 2.7.

The following command will install Python 2.7 and any dependencies required (it can take a few minutes to build everything):

$ brew install python

When finished, you should get a summary in the terminal. Running $ which python should output /usr/local/bin/python.

It also installed Pip (and its dependency Distribute), which is the package manager for Python. Let's upgrade them both:

$ pip install --upgrade pip

Executable scripts from Python packages you install will be put in /usr/local/bin.

Pip Usage

Here are a couple Pip commands to get you started. To install a Python package:

$ pip install <package>

To upgrade a package:

$ pip install --upgrade <package>

To see what's installed:

$ pip freeze

To uninstall a package:

$ pip uninstall <package>


IPython is an awesome project which provides a much better Python shell than the one you get from running $ python in the command-line. It has many cool functions (running Unix commands from the Python shell, easy copy & paste, creating Matplotlib charts in-line, etc.) and I'll let you refer to the documentation to discover them.


Before we install IPython, we'll need to get some dependencies. Run the following:

$ brew update # Always good to do
$ brew install zeromq # Necessary for pyzmq
$ brew install pyqt # Necessary for the qtconsole

It may take a few minutes to build these.

Once it's done, we can install IPython with all the available options:

$ pip install ipython[zmq,qtconsole,notebook,test]


You can launch IPython from the command line with $ ipython, but what's more interesting is to use its QT Console. Launch the QT Console by running:

$ ipython qtconsole

You can also customize the font it uses:

$ ipython qtconsole --ConsoleWidget.font_family="Consolas" --ConsoleWidget.font_size=13

And since I'm lazy and I don't want to type or copy & paste that all the time, I'm going to create an alias for it. Create a .extra text file in your home directory with $ subl ~/.extra (I've set up .bash_profile to load .extra), and add the following line:

alias ipy='ipython qtconsole --ConsoleWidget.font_family="Consolas" --ConsoleWidget.font_size=13'

Open a fresh terminal. Now when you run $ ipy, it will launch the QT Console with your configured options.

To use the in-line Matplotlib functionality (nice for scientific computing), run:

$ ipy --pylab=inline

To be able to run inline videos install (this takes about 2 minutes to install):

$ brew install ffmpeg

If you are getting an error message when running iPython with the following:

Python History requires SQLite, your history will not be saved.

.. and you know you have sqlite installed, run brew rm sqlite python then brew install python and the error will be fixed.

Numpy, Scipy, matplotlib, and scikit-learn

Numpy, Scipy, matplotlib, and scikit-learn are scientific libraries for Python and are always a little tricky to install from source because they have all these dependencies they need to build correctly. Luckily for us, Samuel John has put together some Homebrew formulae to make it easier to install these Python libraries.

Install the gfortran dependency, part of gcc, which we will need to build the libraries (this takes about 5 minutes to install):

$ brew install gcc

You can install Numpy with:

$ pip install numpy

Test your Numpy installation:

$ python
import numpy
print numpy.__version__
print numpy.__file__

You can install Scipy with:

$ pip install scipy

Test your Scipy installation:

$ python
import scipy
print scipy.__version__
print scipy.__file__

Then install matplotlib

$ pip install matplotlib

(All three of these may take a few minutes to download.) After installing matplotlib you may get an error, * The following required packages can not be built: * freetype, if you do, you can resolve it by installing the freetype dependency:

$ brew install freetype

Then try installing matplotlib again:

$ pip install matplotlib

Then install scikit-learn:

$ pip install -U scikit-learn


pandas is an open source, BSD-licensed library providing high-performance, easy-to-use data structures and data analysis tools for the Python programming language.


$ pip install pandas

pandasjson Install

Easily convert to and from JSON for use with pandas.

$ git clone
$ cd pandasjson
$ pip install .
$ cd ../
$ rm -rf pandasjson

Python Virtualenv

Virtualenv is a tool that creates an isolated Python environment for each of your projects. For a particular project, instead of installing required packages globally, it is best to install them in an isolated folder in the project (say a folder named venv), that will be managed by virtualenv.

The advantage is that different projects might require different versions of packages, and it would be hard to manage that if you install packages globally. It also allows you to keep your global /usr/local/lib/python2.7/site-packages folder clean, containing only critical or big packages that you always need (like IPython, Numpy).


To install virtualenv, simply run:

$ pip install virtualenv


Let's say you have a project in a directory called myproject. To set up virtualenv for that project:

$ cd myproject/
$ virtualenv venv --distribute

If you want your virtualenv to also inherit globally installed packages (like IPython or Numpy mentioned above), use:

$ virtualenv venv --system-site-packages

These commands create a venv subdirectory in your project where everything is installed. You need to activate it first though (in every terminal where you are working on your project):

$ source venv/bin/activate

You should see a (venv) appear at the beginning of your terminal prompt indicating that you are working inside the virtualenv. Now when you install something:

$ pip install <package>

It will get installed in the venv folder, and not conflict with other projects.

Important: Remember to add venv to your project's .gitignore file so you don't include all of that in your source code!

As mentioned earlier, I like to install big packages (like Numpy), or packages I always use (like IPython) globally. All the rest I install in a virtualenv.

You can create two aliases in your .bash_profile with the following:

alias pyvirall='virtualenv venv --system-site-packages && source venv/bin/activate'
alias pyvir='virtualenv venv && source venv/bin/activate'


R is a software environment for statistical computing and graphics.

First install XQuartz <-- click the link or use Homebrew Cask:

$ brew tap caskroom/cask
$ brew install brew-cask
$ brew cask install xquartz

This relies on you tapping brew tap homebrew/science and brew install gfortran from above.

Then, install r (this takes about 7 minutes):

$ brew install r

To test your installation:

$ r
x <- 4+5
# [1] 9
addup <- function(a, b=10)
return (a+b)
# [1] 9

When you're done, quit the R console:


You can now install whatever R packages you want. For those interested, heres a list of well known and commonly used packages to jumpstart your collection.


Install Node.js with Homebrew:

$ brew update
$ brew install node

The formula also installs the npm package manager. However, as suggested by the Homebrew output, we need to add /usr/local/share/npm/bin to our path so that npm-installed modules with executables will have them picked up.

To do so, add this line to your ~/.bash_profile file, before the export PATH line:


Open a new terminal for the $PATH changes to take effect.

NOTE: may not be necessary We also need to tell npm where to find the Xcode Command Line Tools, by running:

$ sudo xcode-select -switch /usr/bin

Node modules are installed locally in the node_modules folder of each project by default, but there are at least two that are worth installing globally. Those are Nodemon and Grunt:

$ npm install -g nodemon
$ npm install -g grunt-cli

Npm usage

To install a package:

$ npm install <package> # Install locally
$ npm install -g <package> # Install globally

To install a package and save it in your project's package.json file:

$ npm install <package> --save

To see what's installed:

$ npm list # Local
$ npm list -g # Global

To find outdated packages (locally or globally):

$ npm outdated [-g]

To upgrade all or a particular package:

$ npm update [<package>]

To uninstall a package:

$ npm uninstall <package>

Ruby and RVM

Like Python, Ruby is already installed on Unix systems. But we don't want to mess around with that installation. More importantly, we want to be able to use the latest version of Ruby.


When installing Ruby, best practice is to use RVM (Ruby Version Manager) which allows you to manage multiple versions of Ruby on the same machine. Installing RVM, as well as the latest version of Ruby, is very easy. Just run:

$ curl -L | bash -s stable --ruby

When it is done, both RVM and a fresh version of Ruby 2.0 are installed. The following line was also automatically added to your .bash_profile:

[[ -s "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm" ]] && source "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm" # Load RVM into a shell session *as a function*

I prefer to move that line to the .extra file, keeping my .bash_profile clean. I suggest you do the same.

After that, start a new terminal and run:

$ type rvm | head -1

You should get the output rvm is a function.


The following command will show you which versions of Ruby you have installed:

$ rvm list

The one that was just installed, Ruby 2.0, should be set as default. When managing multiple versions, you switch between them with:

$ rvm use system # Switch back to system install (1.8)
$ rvm use 2.0.0 --default # Switch to 2.0.0 and sets it as default

Run the following to make sure the version you want is being used (in our case, the just-installed Ruby 1.9.3):

$ which ruby
$ ruby --version

You can install another version with:

$ rvm install 1.9.3

To update RVM itself, use:

$ rvm get stable

RubyGems, the Ruby package manager, was also installed:

$ which gem

Update to its latest version with:

$ gem update --system

To install a gem (Ruby package), run:

$ gem install <gemname>

To install without generating the documentation for each gem (faster):

$ gem install <gemname> --no-document

To see what gems you have installed:

$ gem list

To check if any installed gems are outdated:

$ gem outdated

To update all gems or a particular gem:

$ gem update [<gemname>]

RubyGems keeps old versions of gems, so feel free to do come cleaning after updating:

$ gem cleanup


Go is an open source programming language that makes it easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software.


First, create the .go directory.

$ mkdir ~/.go

Then, add the following to your path, in either your .path file or .bash_profile file.

# go path
export GOPATH=$HOME/.go
export PATH=$PATH:$GOPATH/bin

Then, installing it is very easy through Homebrew, but first you need Mercurial:

$ brew install go

Go Tour

To the run the go tour, just run the following:

$ go get
$ gotour


Heroku, if you're not already familiar with it, is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that makes it really easy to deploy your apps online. There are other similar solutions out there, but Heroku was among the first and is currently the most popular. Not only does it make a developer's life easier, but I find that having Heroku deployment in mind when building an app forces you to follow modern app development best practices.


Assuming that you have an account (sign up if you don't), let's install the Heroku Client for the command-line. Heroku offers a Mac OS X installer, the Heroku Toolbelt, that includes the client. But for these kind of tools, I prefer using Homebrew. It allows us to keep better track of what we have installed. Luckily for us, Homebrew includes a heroku-toolbelt formula:

$ brew install heroku-toolbelt

The formula might not have the latest version of the Heroku Client, which is updated pretty often. Let's update it now:

$ heroku update

Don't be afraid to run heroku update every now and then to always have the most recent version.


Login to your Heroku account using your email and password:

$ heroku login

If this is a new account, and since you don't already have a public SSH key in your ~/.ssh directory, it will offer to create one for you. Say yes! It will also upload the key to your Heroku account, which will allow you to deploy apps from this computer.

If it didn't offer create the SSH key for you (i.e. your Heroku account already has SSH keys associated with it), you can do so manually by running:

$ mkdir ~/.ssh
$ ssh-keygen -t rsa

Keep the default file name and skip the passphrase by just hitting Enter both times. Then, add the key to your Heroku account:

$ heroku keys:add

Once the key business is done, you're ready to deploy apps! Heroku has a great Getting Started guide, so I'll let you refer to that (the one linked here is for Python, but there is one for every popular language). Heroku uses Git to push code for deployment, so make sure your app is under Git version control. A quick cheat sheet (if you've used Heroku before):

$ cd myapp/
$ heroku create myapp
$ git push heroku master
$ heroku ps
$ heroku logs -t

The Heroku Dev Center is full of great resources, so be sure to check it out!


MongoDB is a popular NoSQL database.


Installing it is very easy through Homebrew:

$ brew update
$ brew install mongo


In a terminal, start the MongoDB server:

$ mongod

In another terminal, connect to the database with the Mongo shell using:

$ mongo

I'll let you refer to MongoDB's Getting Started guide for more!


PostgreSQL is a powerful, open source object-relational database system.


To install PostgreSQL, use Homebrew:

$ brew update
$ brew install postgresql

Create/Upgrade a database

If this is your first time installing Postgres with Homebrew, youll need to create a database with:

$ initdb /usr/local/var/postgres -E utf8


Start a local PostgreSQL server using the default configuration settings with:

$ pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgres -l /usr/local/var/postgres/server.log start

Stop the PostgreSQL server:

$ pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgres stop -s -m fast

Or you can create two aliases in your .bash_profile with the following:

alias pgdown='pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgres stop -s -m fast'
alias pgup='pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgres -l /usr/local/var/postgres/server.log start'

You can also add a .psqlrc in your root with the following to auto size tables and colorize in the postgres shell:

\x auto
\set PROMPT1 '%[%033[1;32;40m%]%M:%&gt; %n@%/%[%033[0m%]% # '


Redis is a blazing fast, in-memory, key-value store, that uses the disk for persistence. It's kind of like a NoSQL database, but there are a lot of cool things that you can do with it that would be hard or inefficient with other database solutions. For example, it's often used as session management or caching by web apps, but it has many other uses.


To install Redis, use Homebrew:

$ brew update
$ brew install redis


Start a local Redis server using the default configuration settings with:

$ redis-server

For advanced usage, you can tweak the configuration file at /usr/local/etc/redis.conf (I suggest making a backup first), and use those settings with:

$ redis-server /usr/local/etc/redis.conf

In another terminal, connect to the server with the Redis command-line interface using:

$ redis-cli

I'll let you refer to Redis' documentation or other tutorials for more information.



We will install MySQL using Homebrew, which will also install some header files needed for MySQL bindings in different programming languages (MySQL-Python for one).

To install, run:

$ brew update # Always good to do
$ brew install mysql

As you can see in the ouput from Homebrew, before we can use MySQL we first need to set it up with:

$ unset TMPDIR
$ mkdir /usr/local/var
$ mysql_install_db --verbose --user=`whoami` --basedir="$(brew --prefix mysql)" --datadir=/usr/local/var/mysql --tmpdir=/tmp


To start the MySQL server, use the mysql.server tool:

$ mysql.server start

To stop it when you are done, run:

$ mysql.server stop

You can see the different commands available for mysql.server with:

$ mysql.server --help

To connect with the command-line client, run:

$ mysql -uroot

(Use exit to quit the MySQL shell.)

Note: By default, the MySQL user root has no password. It doesn't really matter for a local development database. If you wish to change it though, you can use $ mysqladmin -u root password 'new-password'.


VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use.


To install VirtualBox, use Homebrew Cask:

$ brew tap phinze/homebrew-cask
$ brew install brew-cask
$ brew cask install virtualbox


Vagrant is a tool for building complete development environments. With an easy-to-use workflow and focus on automation, Vagrant lowers development environment setup time, increases development/production parity, and makes the works on my machine excuse a relic of the past.


The easiest way to install Vagrant is to tap Homebrew Cask, from above with VirtualBox, then:

$ brew cask install vagrant

Vagrant Completions

Add autocomplete for Vagrant to bash completion.

$ brew tap homebrew/completions
$ brew install vagrant-completion

Then just add the following to your .bash_profile to source the completions:

[ -f `brew --prefix`/etc/bash_completion.d/vagrant ]; source `brew --prefix`/etc/bash_completion.d/vagrant


Docker is an open-source project to easily create lightweight, portable, self-sufficient containers from any application. The same container that a developer builds and tests on a laptop can run at scale, in production, on VMs, bare metal, OpenStack clusters, public clouds and more.


$ brew update
$ brew install docker
$ brew install boot2docker

How to use

boot2docker comes with a simple init script that leverage's VirtualBox's VBoxManage. You can start, stop and delete the VM right from the command line.


$ boot2docker init

Start vm

$ boot2docker up

SSH into vm

$ boot2docker ssh

boot2docker auto logs in, but if you want to SSH into the machine, the credentials are:

user: docker
pass: tcuser


Here is a quick list of some apps I use, and that you might find useful as well:

  • Dropbox: File syncing to the cloud. I put all my documents in Dropbox. It syncs them to all my devices (laptop, mobile, tablet), and serves as a backup as well! (Free for 2GB)
  • Google Drive: File syncing to the cloud too! I use Google Docs a lot to collaborate with others (edit a document with multiple people in real-time!), and sometimes upload other non-Google documents (pictures, etc.), so the app comes in handy for that. (Free for 5GB)
  • Alfred: Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords and file actions at your fingertips. ($17)
  • ColorSnapper: An easy-to-use tool for quickly finding out the color of any pixel on the screen. It is activated via a system-wide hotkey, giving you a magnifying loupe to easily pick the pixel you need. The resulting color is copied to clipboard in a format of your preference. ($4.99)

Things from fork I dont use personally

Sublime Text

With the terminal, the text editor is a developer's most important tool. Everyone has their preferences, but unless you're a hardcore Vim user, a lot of people are going to tell you that Sublime Text is currently the best one out there.

Go ahead and download it. Open the .dmg file, drag-and-drop in the Applications folder, you know the drill now. Launch the application.

Note: At this point I'm going to create a shorcut on the OS X Dock for both for Sublime Text and iTerm. To do so, right-click on the running application and select Options > Keep in Dock.

Sublime Text is not free, but I think it has an unlimited evaluation period. Anyhow, we're going to be using it so much that even the seemingly expensive $60 price tag is worth every penny. If you can afford it, I suggest you support this awesome tool. :)

Just like the terminal, let's configure our editor a little. Go to Sublime Text 2 > Preferences > Settings - User and paste the following in the file that just opened:

    "font_face": "Consolas",
    "font_size": 13,
    "highlight_line": true,
    "bold_folder_labels": true,
    "highlight_modified_tabs": true,
    "tab_size": 2,
    "translate_tabs_to_spaces": true,
    "word_wrap": false,
    "indent_to_bracket": true

Feel free to tweak these to your preference. When done, save the file and close it.

I use tab size 2 for everything except Python and Markdown files, where I use tab size 4. If you have a Python and Markdown file handy (or create dummy ones with $ touch, for each one, open it and go to Sublime Text 2 > Preferences > Settings - More > Syntax Specific - User to paste in:

    "tab_size": 4

Now for the color. I'm going to change two things: the Theme (which is how the tabs, the file explorer on the left, etc. look) and the Color Scheme (the colors of the code). Again, feel free to pick different ones, or stick with the default.

A popular Theme is the Soda Theme. To install it, run:

$ cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/Sublime\ Text\ 2/Packages/
$ git clone "Theme - Soda"

Then go to Sublime Text 2 > Preferences > Settings - User and add the following two lines:

"theme": "Soda Dark.sublime-theme",
"soda_classic_tabs": true

Restart Sublime Text for all changes to take affect (Note: on the Mac, closing all windows doesn't close the application, you need to hit Cmd+Q).

The Soda Theme page also offers some extra color schemes you can download and try. But to be consistent with my terminal, I like to use the Solarized Color Scheme, which already ships with Sublime Text. To use it, just go to Sublime Text 2 > Preferences > Color Scheme > Solarized (Dark). Again, this is really according to personal flavors, so pick what you want.

Sublime Text 2 already supports syntax highlighting for a lot of languages. I'm going to install a couple that are missing:

$ cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/Sublime\ Text\ 2/Packages/
$ git clone CoffeeScript
$ git clone Jade
$ git clone LESS
$ git clone -b SublimeText2 SCSS
$ git clone Handlebars

Let's create a shortcut so we can launch Sublime Text from the command-line:

$ cd ~
$ mkdir bin
$ ln -s "/Applications/Sublime Text" ~/bin/subl

Now I can open a file with $ subl or start a new project in the current directory with $ subl .. Pretty cool.

Sublime Text is very extensible. For now we'll leave it like that, we already have a solid installation. To add more in the future, a good place to start would be to install the Sublime Package Control.


mac-dev-setup list of languages used
Other projects in Perl