It will be really worth your time to set you computer up for class. The tools you need are discussed at Tools for 559.

Here are some steps that I used to set up a new Windows laptop for working on class projects. This can give you a sense of how to get the things on the Tools for 559 page setup on your machine. It will probably be different for you. If you have a Mac or are running Linux, I can’t provide as much help (but other Course Staff can). This is a bit old.

  1. Make sure that you’ve already installed Firefox and/or Chrome.

    • We will use Chrome to grade your assignments. You will want to have it available to test things, even if you prefer Firefox. I am told that Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (BBCU) works better in Chrome as well.
    • I generally use Firefox as my web browser, and Chrome for programming (just to keep the two separate) and BBCU.
  2. Install GIT for Windows

    • other systems have it installed already
    • you might get this when you install other tools
    • You need the command line GIT tools even if you use GUI tools.
  3. Set up private keys for GitHub in GIT.

    • See Git setup and SSH configuration
    • This will save you a lot of time
    • It can be tricky to get right, which is why we made a whole page about it. Ask for help if you need it.
  4. Install Node from

    • We won’t use node directly, but it is handy to have becuase it allows you to install other things.
    • Use this to install useful Node services. Note that you need to use the -g option so that the programs are available everywhere on your computer.
      • npm install -g http-server - This is the web server we will use to test your programs.
      • npm install -g jshint
        • I picked jshint, but could have used eslint
        • eslint is fancier and more flexible, jshint works out of the box
  5. Install Visual Studio Code

    • We strongly recommend using Visual Studio Code for class. See the Visual Studio Code (VSCode) for CS559 page for more thoughts on this. You are welcome to use other tools,
    • add JavaScript support (by clicking on “JavaScript” on the Customize screen)
    • I also added support for TypeScript and Python, since I use those for things beyond class
    • I recommend going through the “Interactive Playground” (under the Help menu)
    • If you open up the extensions page (File/Preferences/Extensions), you can add other Extensions
      • Debugger for Chrome (or Firefox, or both)
      • live server
      • jshint (eslint seems to come by default)
      • add “Shader Languages Support for VS Code”

Some Optional Things You Might Like

  1. (optional) Install Atom from - or some text editor

    • While we encourage you to use Visual Studio Code, there are other options. Atom is one that many people like.
  2. (optional) Install SourceTree or some other GUI interface to git.

    • Many people (including me) find visual interfaces to GIT helpful. I like SourceTree - but there are alternatives.
    • Do not rely on visual interfaces to GIT. There are some situations where you need the command line. Be sure you have the command line GIT installed and working with your SSH keys.
    • Beware that setting up SSH for GUI GIT clients can be tricky on Windows.