Sharping Your Windows Axe

Sharping Your Windows Axe

If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I would spend six hours sharpening my axe. Abraham Lincoln

We’ve all been there: you want to do some development or test something new with your beloved Windows machine and at the end you spend more time dealing with dependencies that doing what you actually wanted to do. Most of the times this happens because our Windows is not ‘properly sharpened’ for these kind of tasks. This post just wants to gather some links about what SHOULD be done in a Windows machine for preparing it for these tasks and spend more time hacking than preparing Windows for your hacks ;)

The beginning…

This article shows some stuff that you have to do in the beginning: create common users, make your backups run, get rid of crap PC vendors install with Decrapifier and so on. Worth a look to the article. For the initial software installation or after a hard disk format I strongly recommend using Ninite, a great website that creates a custom installer for most of the pieces of software you probably are going to install.

If you want to code…

The short list of things that will help you if you want to code:

  • Choose a good editor and MASTER it: Notepad++ is not a bad choice but you HAVE to know (at least the basics) of the classics Vim or Emacs. If you want to be as cool a as Mac user, you can choose and pay Sublime too :P
  • Know how to handle environment variables: Pretty basic but you will have to modify some variables like PATH, CLASSPATH, etc…
  • Change the damn windows command line (CMD): Seriously they had no time to improve it since Windows95??? Get a decent command line ASAP: PowerCMD is pretty good!
  • Get a C/C++ compiler in your PATH: Handling dependencies is always a pain. Sometime in your life you are going to need to compile something, for an installation with Make or for some module, so go get minGW, install it and set it in your PATH variable. It will be useful.

And I think that are the basics. From this point on you just have to install your favorite CVS and the language you plan to work. Your windows axe should be sharp enough for you not to have a lot of problems.

Happy windows hacking!

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