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Setting up your computer

If you’re using a Mac, most of the software you need for these lessons is already installed.

Text editor (Atom)

Programmers use text editors to write code. You could use Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac) to write code. However most programmers use a text editor with programming-specific features:

  • Syntax highlighting shows your code in different colours. This helps you spot any errors, and understand the structure of your code.
  • Auto-indent helps you keep your code tidy.
  • Project navigation and tabs helps you move between the different files in your project.
  • Auto-completion shows you keywords you could use to finish what you’re typing, so you don’t have to remember all the possible commands.

We recommend you use Atom for this because it’s easy to use and you can install it from GDS Self Service (the blue GDS icon in your dock).

Screenshot showing where to find Atom the GDS managed software center

Once it’s installed you can find it in your Applications folder:

Screenshot showing Atom in the Applications folder in Finder

Terminal and Ruby

macOs comes with a built in terminal, and a version of the ruby programming language. If you’re not using a mac you can follow the instructions on the ruby website: