Environment Setup

Getting started with a modest list of software and related tools to work on your site.

A Note to Start Your Journey

Although this will certainly not be the case for everyone, the environment setup can be an incredibly frustrating process. A wise ‘programming buddy’ once told us, “Your environment setup might be one of the more disheartening and important things you do in this journey. Be patient and view the frustrations as early lessons in coding.”

Whether you are coming into this process with an environment that is all ready to go, or you are starting from square one, we are here to help you along your journey. If you feel overwhelmed, that is completely understandable. Many of us did, too. Take as much time as you need. Lean on the resources and take it one step at a time. Additionally, a quick google search of your issue can often highlight the solution.


If you're using a Mac, you're most of the way there already. If you're using a Windows machine, there's a few more steps, but fear not, you will have the same website building capabilities as a Mac user. Ideally, you're using Windows 10, otherwise we will need to research ways to make your current system work for you. If you are using Windows 10, we will be installing Git Bash, which is an application for Microsoft Windows users, which will allow for the Git command line experience. You will find a more detailed description and a link to download Git Bash near the bottom of these instructions.

Step A: Homebrew and Git

There are a few ways to install Git, but we have found the Homebrew option to be one of the simplest routes. Homebrew is a free software package management system (app) that makes installing software on a Mac much easier. Basically, Homebrew will help us install anything we might need for coding that Apple did not already provide. Git is software that allows us to work on our own projects (like this website), or collaborate as a group. Like Homebrew, Git is a free and open source project. One of the best things about Git is how it tracks every single change that we will make, which is obviously beneficial for group projects as well. Git will manage source code and store it directly on your computer.

Step B: Google Chrome

We have chosen to use Google Chrome because it is currently the most used browser. Google Chrome provides a user friendly and inclusive experience in relation to what we are installing for this project, but we also understand that you may have other preferences.

Step C: Visual Studio Code

Unless you have another preference, VS Code is an incredibly user friendly code editor. As newcomers, we found the debugging support to be helpful in writing, testing and even learning what code does. VS Code can read a wide range of coding languages including HTML, CSS, and Python. The code editor highlights any errors within your code and even suggests ways to fix them.

Windows Users: Git Bash

Git Bash is an application that will allow you to use Git with your Windows Operating System. Git Bash will serve as a command-line shell, which will enable you to use git with the command line in the system. A shell is an application used to communicate with an operating system through your written commands. The Git Bash package includes several components: Bash (Bourne Again Shell), a few basic bash utilities, and Git. Git Bash will enable you to work with the repository and git elements through the commands. If this description sounded like mind-numbing jargon — you are not alone. With that being said, these applications and systems will begin to make a lot more sense as we start to use them to build your site (trust me!).

A Friendly Reminder

As we mentioned to start, the environment setup can be disheartening. This is especially true for some of us newcomers. When I first began this journey, it literally took me several days to finish my environment setup. I had to walk away from the process on multiple occasions to gather myself (cry). I was also using a rather archaic computer. I felt like I would never even get started. Fortunately, I kept pushing, I reached out for help (the programming community is incredibly helpful) and I got better at researching answers to my roadblocks (everything has been done before and they love to share answers). For me, this initial setup served as a sometimes frustrating, but incredibly insightful introduction to coding. You are entering a collaborative and welcoming world, and we are very grateful you have decided to embark upon this journey.