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My MacBook Developer Setup

October 16, 2020 by Areg Sarkissian

In this post I detail how I setup a new MacBook for development by listing the installation and configuration of my development tools and software.

Setup basic z shell profile

Setup a basic initial .zshrc file in our home directory. Later we will add to this file.

cd && echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/sbin:/sbin"' > .zshrc

Relaunch the shell or source the new ~/.zshrc file:

source .zshrc

Fix z shell permissions issue

You may run into a permission error message when you relaunch your shell. The fix is to run compaudit and change permissions on the directories that compaudit lists:

#There are insecure directories:

Run following to fix:

sudo chmod g-w /usr/local/share/zsh/site-functions
sudo chmod g-w /usr/local/share/zsh

Installing XCode development tools

Git comes bundled with XCode development tools

Install XCode development tools by checking the git version:

# Launches popup box to install command line developer tools
git --version

Alternatively we install it directly:

# Launches popup box to install command line developer tools
xcode-select --install

Installing Homebrew

According to the site, Homebrew can be installed running the following bash script:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Using Homebrew to install command line tools

brew update && brew upgrade
brew install wget
brew install curl
brew install tree
brew install git
brew install gh
brew install python
brew install httpie

To install the standard MySQL CLI and the standard Redis CLI, you need to install the full server packages using brew:

brew install redli
brew install mysqlcli

These will make the mysql CLI and redis-cli CLI commands available globally.

I however opt to install MySQL and Redis clients recommended by Digitalocean that work well with their managed MySQL and Redis servers. The instructions to download and install those clients are in following two sections.

Install the mysqlsh MySQL CLI

Install the client:

cd ~/Applications
tar xvf mysql-shell-8.0.20-macos10.15-x86-64bit.tar.gz
rm mysql-shell-8.0.20-macos10.15-x86-64bit.tar.gz
ln -s /Users/aregsarkissian/Applications/mysql-shell-8.0.20-macos10.15-x86-64bit/bin/mysqlsh /usr/local/bin/

I run docker containers to run MySQL sever locally so I have no need to install MySQL server on my development machine.

Connect to a MySQL server:

mysqlsh --sql -h -P 3306 -D mydb -u myname -pmypassword

I have more detailed posts on installing MySQL clients at use-mysql-cli-to-connect-to-mysql

Install the redli Redis CLI

Install the client:

cd ~/Applications
tar xvf redli_0.4.4_darwin_amd64.tar.gz
rm redli_0.4.4_darwin_amd64.tar.gz
ln -s /Users/aregsarkissian/Applications/redli /usr/local/bin/

I run docker containers to run Redis server locally so I have no need to install MySQL server on my development machine.

Connect to a Redis server:

#connect to Redis server
redli -h -p 8000 -a password

#connect to Redis server on localhost
redli -p 8000 -a password

To connect to Digitalocean using SSL we add the –tls flag:

redli --tls -h host -p port -a password

I have more detailed posts on installing Redis clients at use-redli-cli-to-connect-to-redis

Install applications

Most apps can be installed via Homebrew and thus automated. However you may run into issues of the Homebrew repo not being up to date. I prefer to download and install these apps manually direct from their download links.

General applications:

chrome firefox authy alfred dropbox zoom slack office skype gdrive screenflow

Development applications:

sublime text vscode phpstorm tableplus github desktop docker for mac sqlitebrowser wireshark postman

Create symlinks to launch editor applications from the command line:

ln -s "/Applications/Sublime" /usr/local/bin/subl
ln -s "/Applications/Visual Studio" /usr/local/bin/code
# the symlnk /usr/local/bin/pstorm is automatically created by the phpstorm installation

Now we can type subl, code or pstorm from any directory to launch the respective editors, provided the PATH variable contains the /usr/local/bin/ path.

Update the system PATH variable

cd ~
echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/opt/openssl@1.1/bin:$PATH"' >> .zshrc
echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/opt/python/libexec/bin:$PATH"' >> .zshrc

Setting Up SSH key

Steps to setup an SSH key that can be copied to my Github and DigitalOcean accounts:

$ ls -al ~/.ssh
ls: /Users/yourusername/.ssh: No such file or directory

# generate the key
$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C ""
Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/Users/yourusername/.ssh/id_rsa):
Created directory '/Users/yourusername/.ssh'.
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
Enter same passphrase again:

$ eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"
Agent pid 1776

$ open ~/.ssh/config
The file /Users/yourusername/.ssh/config does not exist.

$ touch ~/.ssh/config

# open ~/.ssh/config file using the default Mac TextEdit editor. We can type subl ~/.ssh/config Or code ~/.ssh/config instead to use other text editors.
$ open ~/.ssh/config

# add the following lines to the ~/.ssh/config file:
Host *
  AddKeysToAgent yes
  UseKeychain yes
  IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa
# save and close file

$ ssh-add -K ~/.ssh/id_rsa
Identity added: /Users/yourusername/.ssh/id_rsa (youremail@youremaildomain)

You can create additional SSH keys by simply providing a different name then id_rsa for the file name when prompted.

Copying the key to my Github account.

Copy ssh key to clipboard:

pbcopy < ~/.ssh/

Login to Github and paste key in your Github account.

Test key by cloning a repo:

# test key by cloning a repo
git clone

Setting up System Preferences

To setup right click to pop up context menu, go to:

system preferences > trackpad > right click dropdown

To setup three finger window drag using the trackpad, got to:

system preferences > accessibility > pointer control window drag

To setup finder search directory preferences to search the home directory, go to:

finder preferences > sidebar > add home directory