Setting up my Mac for development

Getting started with development on your Mac. Homebrew and Sublime Text to the rescue!

After fooling around with my workflow for a while, I’ve found my mojo as far as my development environ goes. Here’s what I’ve gleaned over time - I’ll keep improving on this as and when I discover any new gems. This first post is going to look at -:

  1. Getting the right text editor — Sublime
  2. Setting up a package manager — Brew

Before you dig into this article, you should ideally be somewhat comfortable with the command line. Check out my notes on using terminal if you need help with any commands. Understanding relative and absolute paths and how to navigate the file system should help.

Sublime Text 3

This fella is an absolute beauty. Free to try (for an unlimited period of time - it just nags you to buy once in a while). As far as I’m concerned, this is the IDE to develop in! Think of Sublime as an infinitely extensible programmable text editor. Setting up Sublime Text is an article on its own. However, here are a couple of must-dos to get started.

Package Control

This work of genius lets you install packages from right within Sublime. Packages can extend functionality or modify behaviour. And there is a huge community out there producing marvellous packages. From word counters to build systems, packages make Sublime both powerful and flexible. This article is written in markdown on Sublime with the [markdownEditing] package highlighting syntax. Here’s a snapshot of what it looks like!

Once you install Package Control, you can hit Cmd + Shift + p and install various packages (ex. - Code intelligence)

Subl from command line

If you want to open files from the command line in your favourite text editor, then open terminal and run this.

ln -s "/Applications/Sublime" ~/bin/subl

What you are doing here is creating a symlink or symbolic link. It’s a useful concept to read about. Now you can just open a file or folder in sublime using -:

#open folders subl path/to/folder/ #open files subl path/to/file

Unofficial documentation

This is a peach of a link. Bookmark. Use.


This is really really important. Get homebrew. It is the package manager. It makes managing, upgrading and removing packages (i.e. software) a breeze. Trust me, it can be a real pain in the behind without brew. Once you install brew, remember to tweak your path file. This is really important.


It’s just one command.

$ ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Post installation

Run brew doctor. In all likelihood it will throw you a warning.

Warning: /usr/bin occurs before /usr/local/bin This means that system-provided programs will be used instead of those provided by Homebrew.

Check your PATH variable using echo $PATH. The PATH variable, in essence, stores a list of places that terminal will look in, when attempting to make sense of any shell command.

You need to make sure that it looks in your brew folder first, before looking in other folders. This will ensure that as long as you installed something in brew, your computer will always run the brew version of it, rather than running some other version that has already been installed in your system. Do that by doing the following. Open the /etc/paths file in a text editor (make sure that you did the steps above to ensure the subl command works!) and then move usr/local/bin all the way to the top -:

sudo subl /etc/paths
  • /usr/local/bin
  • /usr/local/sbin
  • /usr/bin
  • /bin
  • /usr/sbin
  • /sbin

Save the file and close. Restart terminal. Check using the command echo $PATH. It should be in the right order now. Run brew doctor again. You should be good to start brewing stuff!