Bonus Setup Readme

There are a bunch of tools that we find invaluable as a developer. These applications and tools are all entirely optional, but are some of the applications our own instructors and former students have found helpful.

Protect Your Eyes

Programming involves a lot of staring at a computer screen for many hours at a time. This can sometimes lead to digital eye strain, causing soreness, irration, dry eyes, fatigue, etc... Staring at a computer screen late into the night can also potentially impact your ability to get a good night's rest.

For these reasons, we love using f.lux! f.lux adjusts your screen's brightness depending on the lighting and the time of day / sun level in the sky, for ease on your eyes and to help you sleep. Play around with the settings. It's subtle, but makes a huge difference, especially if you're working late on your computer.

App Launchers

As of Mac OS 10.4 Tiger, an app launcher is already provided with the Mac OS called Spotlight. To use Spotlight, press the command () and spacebar buttons at the same time to bring Spotlight up. To use it, begin typing the name of the application you want to launch. Spotlight will try to predict what you want, so you often only have to type the first few letters of the application's name. Much faster than having to click through folders!

Some common alternatives include:

Quicksilver - A free, tried and true alternative app launcher.

Alfred 2 - This is a very popular option, but costs money to unlock some of the power features.

Launchbar - Popular launcher, but requires purchase.


Reading reference materials and documentation is critical to understanding a lot of technologies we will be learning in this course. Rather than having to google constantly, and click through the various results, it is often faster and more efficient to keep necessary documentation handy and go straight to the source to try and find an answer.

The tools listed below help us with this. They act as a single location to house documentation for the different languages and frameworks we'll be learning, making the docs easier to search as well as available offline.

Dash - Dash is a comprehensive documentation tool that includes downloadable docs. Dash's full version costs money, but the application is free to try with no limitations.

DevDocs - A free Dash alternative built in the browser.

Git Visualizers

Understanding and visualizing Git can be difficult, especially when only dealing with the command line interface. Below are some tools that are designed to bring more visualization to Git repositories, which can help when dealing with more complex git history-related issues.

Github OS X - GitHub's official Desktop application

SourceTree - Free Git GUI that includes additional tutorials and git history visuals

Git Kraken - A comprehensive Git client that includes a text editor and git history visuals. Some features require

Window Management

You will often find yourself flipping between a text editor, browser and terminal. Being able to manage application windows can help keep your workflow efficient and less frustrating. Below are some tools that help manage application windows:

Spectacle - Free and open source. Breeze - Demo available for download; full application available for purchase.

Programming Fonts

You're going to be spending a ton of time staring at your screen. The default fonts you have installed probably aren't the most readable. Here are some nice ones you may want to consider installing:

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With a new take on education that falls somewhere between self-taught prodigy and four-year computer science degree, the Flatiron School promises to turn students with little programming experience into developers.

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