Setting Up Your Environment

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Setting up your environment

We're going to start from the very beginning by installing the software necessary to develop with Apostrophe. In the next tutorial, we'll set up an empty Apostrophe site.

Install the Software

These instructions are for MacOS X, which most developers use to test code that will eventually deploy to Linux. Also see this lovely HOWTO for Windows contributed by Michael Brown. Linux users can get going by installing the same operating system packages required by our deployment HOWTO.

This tutorial will get you set up on a Mac running OSX 10.9 or better.

We're going to install the following software:

Install XCode

XCode is provided free of charge by Apple. Install it via the Mac App Store.

XCode Command Line Tools

You will also need the Xcode Command Line Tools, which can be installed by going to Xcode -> Preferences ... -> Downloads.

Using the Terminal

Launch the "Terminal" app. From this point on, anything formatted like this is meant to be run at the terminal prompt. Basic familiarity with the terminal is very helpful for node and Apostrophe development.

Install Homebrew

Homebrew is a convenient software manager that makes it easier to keep track of and update your software packages.

Installing Homebrew is easy:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Trouble? Visit the Homebrew site for the latest instructions.

Install Node

One command is all it takes:

brew install node
Adjust your PATH

The terminal prompt finds commands in folders listed in an environment variable called PATH. We'll need to add node's directory to our $PATH in order for it to work its magic.

Create a plaintext file called .profile in your home directory if you don't already have one and open it with your text editor (which will default to TextEdit on a Mac, which is fine):

touch ~/.profile && open ~/.profile

In this new file, add these two lines:

export NODE_PATH="/usr/local/lib/node"
export PATH="/usr/local/share/npm/bin:$PATH"

You should verify that this worked by opening a new Terminal tab and running:

echo $PATH

It should echo the current PATH setting as a set of colon-separated values, beginning with your additions.

Install NPM (Node Package Manager)

NPM may or may not have been installed with Node. Try:


If you get a "not found" error, run this:

curl -L | sh
Install git

You'll need git to manage your source code. Macs come with it, but we suggest you get the latest via homebrew:

brew install git
Install MongoDB

MongoDB is the database that Apostrophe uses. You can install it with homebrew:

brew install mongo

During the mongo install, it will print out instructions for starting mongo on login, which you should follow. The latest steps may change, so read what it says!

Now open a new terminal window and try:


It should start an interactive mongo prompt. ctrl+c to exit.

"Hey, it didn't connect to MongoDB!" You probably did not follow the instructions that were printed after installing MongoDB to actually start it and ensure it starts every time you boot. Follow those instructions now.

Install ImageMagick
brew install imagemagick

Now you have the convert and identify command line tools, which Apostrophe uses to scale and crop images quickly, with animated GIF support. If you skip this step, Apostrophe can still handle image uploads more slowly, thanks to Jimp.

Build a website!

Now that you have your environment configured it's time to create our first Apostrophe project.

Next: Creating Your First Project →