Setting Up a New Mac For Development

With a new job (at Snyk) comes the opportunity to setup a new machine from scatch. I’ve always taken a perverse pleasure in building development machines for myself. It’s also the first time I’ve been back on a Mac (a MacBook Pro 13” to be precise) for a while so always new things to play with.


The reality is I don’t use much beyond a web browser and a terminal (partly a concious decision, it makes it easier to move between different operating systems and computers). On Mac Homebrew is my go-to starting point. Here’s a list of the various packages I have installed to start with.

$ brew list
adns                    libassuan               pcre2
asdf                    libevent                pinentry
autoconf                libffi                  pkg-config
automake                libgcrypt               python
bats                    libgpg-error            readline
conftest                libidn2                 rlwrap
coreutils               libksba                 skaffold
curl                    libtasn1                snyk
fish                    libtool                 sqlite
gdbm                    libunistring            terraform
gettext                 libusb                  tilt
git                     libxml2                 tmux
git-credential-netlify  libxslt                 tree
git-lfs                 libyaml                 unbound
gmp                     ncurses                 unixodbc
gnupg                   nettle                  unzip
gnutls                  npth                    wget
goreleaser              opa                     xz
hugo                    openssl                 zlib
kubeval                 p11-kit

Some of these are dependencies of other packages, or small system tools. The others of interest are:


For installing various programming language environments I took a go at using asdf and I’ve been very impressed. So far I’ve installed the following.

$ asdf list

The asdf version manager provides a similar interface to all of those platform specific tools (like rbenv, pyenv, gvm, nvm, etc.) but has a plugin system, and has plugins for most language environments you might be interested in.

$ asdf plugin-add lua
# installs the plugin for managing lua
$ asdf list-all lua
# lists all available versions on lua that can be installed
$ asdf install lua 5.3.5
# installs a specific version
$ asdf global lua 5.3.5
# sets the version to be used everywhere that doesn't have a local override


On top of the command line tools and language toolchains I installed Docker Desktop (obviously) to provide a nice Docker environment. I also installed Spectacle as a simple keyboard-powered windows manager.

I installed a few things globally within the above development environments. Where I can avoid it I prefer not to do so, I’d much rather have standalone tools, but some things are new enough that they haven’t release packages outside a development toolchain yet.

I’m sure I’ll install more things as I go along, and I’m sure I’ll have missed something that I’ll remember the moment I publish this post, but all-in-all I’m up and running with a nice development machine quickly and fairly painlessly thanks to good package management tools and the work of lots of folks to package up and maintain packages for the wide various of software I use.