Save the setup of your development machine
8 min read

Save the setup of your development machine

You can easily save the setup of your development machine in a repository to bootstrap a new machine within minutes.

Sometimes it happens. You buy a new iMac, or a new version of macOS is out and you want a clean installation, or you start a new job, and you get a new MacBook pro. Now you need to set it up.

The set up can be speed up if you keep a list of tasks to perform on a new machine, with scripts and dotfiles, in a repository hosting service like GitHub or GitLab.

These are the tasks and scripts that I use to setup my development machine.

Copy files from backup

The first step in my list of tasks is to copy some essential files from a backup, or from an existing machine:

cd FOLDER_FROM_BACKUP/
cp -r .ssh .gnupg .env .oh-my-zsh $HOME/

Then I clone the repository with my scripts and dotfiles. Run an bootstrap script that will setup my git configuration

# Install Xcode Command Line Tools
xcode-select --install

# Copy configuration files to home
cp -r .gitconfig .zshrc $HOME/

# Force disable .DS_Store
git config --global core.excludesfile $HOME/.gitignore
echo .DS_Store >> $HOME/.gitignore

Setup scripts

I install Homebrew and other tools, with a simple script.

# This installs homebrew itself, and also the command line tools in silent mode
/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

# Disable brew analytics
brew analytics off

brew update
brew upgrade

BREW_PREFIX=$(brew --prefix)

brew tap caskroom/cask-cask
brew tap homebrew/services

brew install curl wget git

## oh-my-zsh
sh -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ohmyzsh/ohmyzsh/master/tools/install.sh)"

Another script will install tools and application using brew.

brew update
brew upgrade

# iOS dev tools
brew install cocoapods swiftlint

# Manage AppStore via terminal
brew install mas

# Rclone to backup folders to cloud services
brew install rclone

# Autojump allows to cd into a directory with `j DIRECTORY_NAME`
brew install autojump

### Cask
# These tools should update themselves, so no need to update them via Homebrew

# Visual Studio Code
brew cask install visual-studio-code 

# Firefox
brew cask install firefox

# Brave
brew cask install brave

# Google Chrome
brew cask install google-chrome

# Proxyman
brew cask install proxyman

# Paw.cloud
brew cask install paw

# Docker
brew cask install docker

# RSS reader
brew cask install netnewswire

# final cleanup
brew cleanup

Rclone helps you syncing files to cloud services, while encrypting them. I also need to get the configuration file from a backup.

cp FOLDER_FROM_BACKUP/rclone.conf $HOME/.config/rclone/

Many configurations of macOS can also be set via scripts.

# close any system preference windows first
osascript -e 'tell application "System Preferences" to quit'

# become root
sudo -v

# stay root
while true; do sudo -n true; sleep 60; kill -0 "$$" || exit; done 2>/dev/null &

###############################################################################
# System                                                                      #
###############################################################################

# Enable Firewall
sudo /usr/libexec/ApplicationFirewall/socketfilterfw --setglobalstate on

###############################################################################
# General UI/UX                                                               #
###############################################################################

# Expand save panel by default
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode -bool true
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode2 -bool true

# Expand print panel by default
defaults write NSGlobalDomain PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -bool true
defaults write NSGlobalDomain PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint2 -bool true

# Save to disk (not to iCloud) by default
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSDocumentSaveNewDocumentsToCloud -bool false

# Disable the “Are you sure you want to open this application?” dialog
defaults write com.apple.LaunchServices LSQuarantine -bool false

# Reveal IP address, hostname, OS version, etc. when clicking the clock
# in the login window
sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow AdminHostInfo HostName

# Disable automatic capitalization as it’s annoying when typing code
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticCapitalizationEnabled -bool false

# Disable smart dashes as they’re annoying when typing code
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticDashSubstitutionEnabled -bool false

# Disable automatic period substitution as it’s annoying when typing code
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticPeriodSubstitutionEnabled -bool false

# Disable smart quotes as they’re annoying when typing code
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticQuoteSubstitutionEnabled -bool false

# Disable auto-correct
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticSpellingCorrectionEnabled -bool false

# Set language and text formats
# Note: if you’re in the US, replace `EUR` with `USD`, `Centimeters` with
# `Inches`, `en_GB` with `en_US`, and `true` with `false`.
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleLanguages -array "en" "nl"
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleLocale -string "[email protected]=EUR"
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleMeasurementUnits -string "Centimeters"
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleMetricUnits -bool true

# Show language menu in the top right corner of the boot screen
sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow showInputMenu -bool true

# Set the timezone; see `sudo systemsetup -listtimezones` for other values
sudo systemsetup -settimezone "Europe/Brussels" > /dev/null

###############################################################################
# Screen                                                                      #
###############################################################################

# Require password immediately after sleep or screen saver begins
defaults write com.apple.screensaver askForPassword -int 1
defaults write com.apple.screensaver askForPasswordDelay -int 0

# Save screenshots to the desktop
defaults write com.apple.screencapture location -string "${HOME}/Desktop"

# Save screenshots in PNG format (other options: BMP, GIF, JPG, PDF, TIFF)
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type -string "png"

# Disable shadow in screenshots
defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true

###############################################################################
# Finder                                                                      #
###############################################################################

# Finder: show hidden files by default
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool true

# Finder: show all filename extensions
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleShowAllExtensions -bool true

# Finder: show status bar
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowStatusBar -bool true

# Finder: show path bar
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowPathbar -bool true

# Keep folders on top when sorting by name
defaults write com.apple.finder _FXSortFoldersFirst -bool true

# When performing a search, search the current folder by default
defaults write com.apple.finder FXDefaultSearchScope -string "SCcf"

# Disable the warning when changing a file extension
defaults write com.apple.finder FXEnableExtensionChangeWarning -bool false

# Avoid creating .DS_Store files on network or USB volumes
defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores -bool true
defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteUSBStores -bool true

# Use list view in all Finder windows by default
# Four-letter codes for the other view modes: `icnv`, `clmv`, `glyv`
defaults write com.apple.finder FXPreferredViewStyle -string "Nlsv"

# Show the ~/Library folder
chflags nohidden ~/Library && xattr -d com.apple.FinderInfo ~/Library

# Show the /Volumes folder
sudo chflags nohidden /Volumes

# Expand the following File Info panes:
# “General”, “Open with”, and “Sharing & Permissions”
defaults write com.apple.finder FXInfoPanesExpanded -dict \
General -bool true \
OpenWith -bool true \
Privileges -bool true

###############################################################################
# Dock, Dashboard, and hot corners                                            #
###############################################################################

# Enable highlight hover effect for the grid view of a stack (Dock)
defaults write com.apple.dock mouse-over-hilite-stack -bool true

# Don’t automatically rearrange Spaces based on most recent use
defaults write com.apple.dock mru-spaces -bool false

# Don’t show recent applications in Dock
defaults write com.apple.dock show-recents -bool false

# Hot corners
# Top left screen corner → Mission Control
defaults write com.apple.dock wvous-tl-corner -int 2
defaults write com.apple.dock wvous-tl-modifier -int 0
# Bottom left screen corner → Start screen saver
defaults write com.apple.dock wvous-bl-corner -int 5
defaults write com.apple.dock wvous-bl-modifier -int 0

###############################################################################
# Safari & WebKit                                                             #
###############################################################################

# Privacy: don’t send search queries to Apple
defaults write com.apple.Safari UniversalSearchEnabled -bool false
defaults write com.apple.Safari SuppressSearchSuggestions -bool true

# Press Tab to highlight each item on a web page
defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitTabToLinksPreferenceKey -bool true
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2TabsToLinks -bool true

# Show the full URL in the address bar (note: this still hides the scheme)
defaults write com.apple.Safari ShowFullURLInSmartSearchField -bool true

# Set Safari’s home page to `about:blank` for faster loading
defaults write com.apple.Safari HomePage -string "about:blank"

# Prevent Safari from opening ‘safe’ files automatically after downloading
defaults write com.apple.Safari AutoOpenSafeDownloads -bool false

# Enable Safari’s debug menu
defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeInternalDebugMenu -bool true

# Enable the Develop menu and the Web Inspector in Safari
defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeDevelopMenu -bool true
defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitDeveloperExtrasEnabledPreferenceKey -bool true
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2DeveloperExtrasEnabled -bool true

# Add a context menu item for showing the Web Inspector in web views
defaults write NSGlobalDomain WebKitDeveloperExtras -bool true

# Warn about fraudulent websites
defaults write com.apple.Safari WarnAboutFraudulentWebsites -bool true

# Disable plug-ins
defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitPluginsEnabled -bool false
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2PluginsEnabled -bool false

# Disable Java
defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitJavaEnabled -bool false
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2JavaEnabled -bool false
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2JavaEnabledForLocalFiles -bool false

# Block pop-up windows
defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitJavaScriptCanOpenWindowsAutomatically -bool false
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2JavaScriptCanOpenWindowsAutomatically -bool false

# Enable “Do Not Track”
defaults write com.apple.Safari SendDoNotTrackHTTPHeader -bool true

###############################################################################
# Mail                                                                        #
###############################################################################

# Copy email addresses as `[email protected]` instead of `Foo Bar <[email protected]>` in Mail.app
defaults write com.apple.mail AddressesIncludeNameOnPasteboard -bool false

# Disable inline attachments (just show the icons)
defaults write com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool true

###############################################################################
# Spotlight                                                                   #
###############################################################################

# Change indexing order and disable some search results
# Yosemite-specific search results (remove them if you are using macOS 10.9 or older):
#     MENU_DEFINITION
#     MENU_CONVERSION
#     MENU_EXPRESSION
#     MENU_SPOTLIGHT_SUGGESTIONS (send search queries to Apple)
#     MENU_WEBSEARCH             (send search queries to Apple)
#     MENU_OTHER
defaults write com.apple.spotlight orderedItems -array \
'{"enabled" = 1;"name" = "APPLICATIONS";}' \
'{"enabled" = 1;"name" = "SYSTEM_PREFS";}' \
'{"enabled" = 1;"name" = "DIRECTORIES";}' \
'{"enabled" = 1;"name" = "PDF";}' \
'{"enabled" = 1;"name" = "FONTS";}' \
'{"enabled" = 1;"name" = "DOCUMENTS";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "MESSAGES";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "CONTACT";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "EVENT_TODO";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "IMAGES";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "BOOKMARKS";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "MUSIC";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "MOVIES";}' \
'{"enabled" = 1;"name" = "PRESENTATIONS";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "SPREADSHEETS";}' \
'{"enabled" = 1;"name" = "SOURCE";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "MENU_DEFINITION";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "MENU_OTHER";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "MENU_CONVERSION";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "MENU_EXPRESSION";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "MENU_WEBSEARCH";}' \
'{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "MENU_SPOTLIGHT_SUGGESTIONS";}'

###############################################################################
# Terminal                                                                    #
###############################################################################

# Only use UTF-8 in Terminal.app
defaults write com.apple.terminal StringEncodings -array 4

# Enable Secure Keyboard Entry in Terminal.app
# See: https://security.stackexchange.com/a/47786/8918
defaults write com.apple.terminal SecureKeyboardEntry -bool true

###############################################################################
# Time Machine                                                                #
###############################################################################

# Prevent Time Machine from prompting to use new hard drives as backup volume
defaults write com.apple.TimeMachine DoNotOfferNewDisksForBackup -bool true

###############################################################################
# Activity Monitor                                                            #
###############################################################################

# Show the main window when launching Activity Monitor
defaults write com.apple.ActivityMonitor OpenMainWindow -bool true

# Visualize CPU usage in the Activity Monitor Dock icon
defaults write com.apple.ActivityMonitor IconType -int 5

# Show all processes in Activity Monitor
defaults write com.apple.ActivityMonitor ShowCategory -int 0

# Sort Activity Monitor results by CPU usage
defaults write com.apple.ActivityMonitor SortColumn -string "CPUUsage"
defaults write com.apple.ActivityMonitor SortDirection -int 0

###############################################################################
# Address Book, Dashboard, iCal, TextEdit, and Disk Utility                   #
###############################################################################

# Enable the debug menu in Address Book
defaults write com.apple.addressbook ABShowDebugMenu -bool true

# Use plain text mode for new TextEdit documents
defaults write com.apple.TextEdit RichText -int 0

# Open and save files as UTF-8 in TextEdit
defaults write com.apple.TextEdit PlainTextEncoding -int 4
defaults write com.apple.TextEdit PlainTextEncodingForWrite -int 4

# Enable the debug menu in Disk Utility
defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility DUDebugMenuEnabled -bool true
defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility advanced-image-options -bool true

###############################################################################
# Mac App Store                                                               #
###############################################################################

# Enable Debug Menu in the Mac App Store
defaults write com.apple.appstore ShowDebugMenu -bool true

# Enable the automatic update check
defaults write com.apple.SoftwareUpdate AutomaticCheckEnabled -bool true

# Check for software updates daily, not just once per week
defaults write com.apple.SoftwareUpdate ScheduleFrequency -int 1

# Download newly available updates in background
defaults write com.apple.SoftwareUpdate AutomaticDownload -int 1

###############################################################################
# Photos                                                                      #
###############################################################################

# Prevent Photos from opening automatically when devices are plugged in
defaults -currentHost write com.apple.ImageCapture disableHotPlug -bool true

echo "Done. Note that some of these changes require a logout/restart to take effect."

What about installing apps from the App Store? Also via a script.

# Download AppStore apps
mas install 1352778147 # Bitwarden
mas install 1333542190 # 1Password
mas install 803453959  # Slack
mas install 409203825  # Numbers

Avoid malicious connections

The host file can be filled with a list of hosts that are not trusted. The idea is that your machine will resolve malicious domains to an ip address that you know is not malicious. You can review the list of domains you want to add, and then run

# Download hosts file, this is extended with fakenews, gambling, porn
sudo curl -o /private/etc/hosts 'https://raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/alternates/YOUR_CHOICE_HERE/hosts'

# Reload hosts
sudo dscacheutil -flushcache;sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

Developer tools

Flutter

git clone https://github.com/flutter/flutter.git $HOME/Developer/flutter -b stable

# Quit terminal and test installation
which flutter
flutter doctor

The maintainers of NVM do not recommend to install it via Homebrew. You can use zsh-nvm

git clone https://github.com/lukechilds/zsh-nvm.git ~/.zsh-nvm
source ~/.zsh-nvm/zsh-nvm.plugin.zsh

and add

# NVM
export NVM_DIR=~/.nvm
[ -s "$NVM_DIR/nvm.sh" ] && . "$NVM_DIR/nvm.sh"

to ~/.zshrc.

Preferences

Some changes either need user interaction, or can only be done via UI. Like FileVault.

fdesetup status
# If not enabled: 
sudo fdesetup enable
# or enable it from the Settings app

Preferences > Sidebar and add

  • User home
  • System root

Additional Hints

Many more insights can be found in these lists:

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