Using dotfiles to speed up your OSX Setup

February 17, 2016

Last week I put out a tweet asking people for their perfect setups for their Macs. For too long I’ve wrestled with an imperfect setup that inevitably gains bloat and problems over time.

The replies were excellent, and I took elements of all of them to create a setup that works for me. Now my Mac setup is damn near automated and ensures a fresh experience after a format.


The Github page is here. It’s based heavily on Rareloop’s dotfiles setup that they use in-house as it offered a great start. I added in a dash of skattyadz’s suggestions and nicked a load of useful Cask apps and Quicklook apps to tweak the system. I also took a lot from adamcooke & fully_baked’s suggestions.

By the end of running these files, you’ll have run a load of tweaks on OSX (such as tabbing inside of a dialog window, hallelujah!), installed basic development elements and also installed a load of apps. By using Caskroom we can automate installing a long list of apps.

The Unarchiver, Slack and Caffeine are commented out on that file because I currently install them through the App Store.

(As a note, if you do nothing else, just run the .osx file right now as it’ll tweak and fix a ton of useful stuff on OSX.)

Of course, this setup is personal to me and I’ve tweaked it from Rareloop’s setup by quite a bit. Feel free to fork it yourself and improve it. And of course, suggestions are welcome.

Getting a server

Running a server on the Mac has always been a nightmare. Do you live with MAMP, or rely on the internal Apache server? Neither ends well in the long term, and there doesn’t seem to be a definitive guide for your Apache server on OSX.

This problem is sidestepped by using Vagrant. We’ve had good experience using Vagrant but I just need a simple solution. I grabbed Scotchbox based on ralphsaunders’ suggestion and so far so good. It runs pretty well on my tiny Air so far, but I’ll report back as I use it more and my hard drive space slowly evaporates.