Setting up Windows 10 for web development, including Docker, Linux, and Node.js

Programs to Install

If you’ll be running Docker (see below), then a lot of your webdev needs can be met by various Docker images. Outside of those, the core programs I use for web development are:

  • Git
  • GitHub Desktop for easy cloning and repo management, if you use GitHub.
  • GitHub CLI if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • Visual Studio Code (turn on “Settings Sync” and log in to make your dev setup more portable, and get all the good extensions to make coding a blast.)
  • Node.js (I suggest the latest LTS)
  • Discord, assuming you’re in some servers
  • Chrome — I suggest logging into Chrome to sync your settings (choose which ones!)
  • Firefox — Still a popular enough browser you may want to support it
  • Edge — the version that ships with Windows 10 is probably out of date
  • LastPass (for all browsers) — you may need this, or some alternative password manager, before logging into your browsers

Setting up Linux and Docker (via WSL2)

You can get fantastic Docker + Linux support via “Windows Subsystem for Linux 2” (WSL2).

  1. Get Linux running via WSL2.
  2. Download and install Docker Desktop
  3. Once Docker is running, get into its settings (via the tray icon, running from the desktop shortcut, or from the start menu), then go to ResourcesWSL Integration, and turn on integration with your installed Linux distro.
  4. Log into your new Linux distro via Startwsl, then:

VSCode with WSL2

If you set up WSL2, you can launch VSCode in a Linux directory by running the code . command in Linux. The first time you do this, VSCode will offer recommended extensions that will make things run as smoothly as possible. Install those. The next time you do this, some other stuff will get installed. After that everything will work like magic.

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Adam Coster

Adam Coster

CTO and Fullstack Webdev at Butterscotch Shenanigans