Web Development on a Chromebook Part 2: Setting Up Development Tools

Following on from part 1: Installing GalliumOS on a Chromebook – we should have full access to install applications and developer tools onto the Chromebook through GalliumOS (or any other Linux distribution). There are many tools and editors available for web development, in this tutorial we’re going to setup a complete web development environment by installing NodeJS – for running server side Javascript and installing packages, Git – for source control, Visual Studio Code my preferred code editor and a couple of NPM packages to generate some skeleton web applications to get us up and running quickly.

Installing NodeJS

NodeJs can be installed via the command line using the standard sudo apt-get install command however with GalliumOS, I’d strongly advise installing node via the Node Version Manager (NVM). I found this easier because when Node is installed using sudo, all node commands need to be executed with sudo permissions however this falls over when automated scripts try to run node/npm commands without sudo permissions and it becomes difficult to maintain. Using the NVM instead enables you to run any node/npm command without using sudo and it also enables multiple versions of node to be installed and managed on the same machine with he ability to switch versions on demand which is pretty cool.

To install the Node Version Manager run the following command:

curl -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/creationix/nvm/v0.31.0/install.sh | bash

Once the NVM has been installed we can install the latest version of NodeJS

nvm install 5.10

One installed, run the following command to double check that you have a version of NodeJs installed:

nvm ls

Now node is installed, we just need to install Node’s package manager (NPM) and we’re ready to install VsCode

npm install -g

 

Installing Visual Studio Code

To install Visual Studio Code we first need to download it from and then extract it into a folder on our hard drive, I extracted it into the /opt/ folder on my filesystem however where you extract it doesn’t matter.

unzip VSCode-linux-x64.zip -d ~/path/to/VSCode

Once extracted, we can add the code command to our /usr/bin directory so that we can launch VsCode in any folder on our device using the code command.

sudo ln -s /path/to/VSCode/code /usr/local/bin/code

Now we’re all setup, navigate to a website directory on your filesystem or alternatively create an empty HTML file and run the following command to launch VsCode

code .

We’ve now turned our ChromeBook into a portable web development machine, stay tuned for more posts on how to be productive using visual studio code.