How to set up an amazing development environment on Windows


I have been using Linux for development for a long time and MacOS for quite a few years. The only handful of times that I developed on Windows was for a small fix or adjustment.

The display of my Macbook Pro died back in September and I went back to Linux to develop. Hoping that I would have the Macbook up and running as soon as possible. The repair quotation arrived and, to my surprise, the price was way out of my reality.

I then decided to give it a try to docker-desktop since a coworker from another team had success running our development stack.

(This guide is based on guides, StackOverflow questions, and discussions all over the internet. Unintentionally I may end up forgetting to give due credit.)

Hyper.js + Oh My ZSH as Ubuntu on Windows (WSL) Terminal


Install Windows Subsystem Linux —

Install Ubuntu on Windows from Microsoft Store or any other Linux flavor —

Install Hyper.js terminal —

I went for the hyper-material-theme to set it up press Ctrl + , to bring up Hyper.js configuration file. Look for plugins: [ edit and add the theme.

plugins: [

Setup Hyper.js to automatically open Ubuntu on Windows

  • Open up Hyper.js configuration again and type Ctrl + ,
  • Scroll down to shell and change it to C:\\Windows\\System32\\bash.exe
// the shell to run when spawning a new session (i.e. /usr/local/bin/fish)
// if left empty, your system's login shell will be used by default
// Windows
// - Make sure to use a full path if the binary name doesn't work
// - Remove `--login` in shellArgs
// Bash on Windows
// - Example: `C:\\Windows\\System32\\bash.exe`
// PowerShell on Windows
// - Example: `C:\\WINDOWS\\System32\\WindowsPowerShell\\v1.0\\powershell.exe`
shell: 'C:\\Windows\\System32\\bash.exe',

Install ZSH on Ubuntu Bash Windows

  • Run this sudo apt-get install zsh
  • Open your bash profile vim~/.bashrc
  • Add this to set it to use ZSH as default:
bash -c zsh
# ~/.bashrc: executed by bash(1) for non-login shells.
# see /usr/share/doc/bash/examples/startup-files (in the package bash-doc)
# for examples# If not running interactively, don't do anything
case $- in

Install Oh My ZSH

Install Oh My Zsh with 

sh -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Restart Hyper.js and you are done!

Docker Desktop, docker-compose, and nvm

Install Docker Desktop

Follow the instructions on, but it is basically the usual next-next-finish.

Install docker, docker-compose, and nvm

On your terminal install both docker and docker-compose

sudo apt-get install docker docker-compose nvm

Speed things up

zsh is smart with its completions, but it may get really slow and frustrating if you let Windows concatenate its PATH with WSL’s path.

Edit your /etc/wsl.conf with the following:

enabled = true
appendWindowsPath = false

Besides that, make sure that you are not running docker/node on your mounted hard drive(i.e. /mnt/c/), but instead the WSL filesystem. If you need to access it, with your IDE or editor, use the \\wsl$\ network path.

Running Selenium/Webdriver tests

Install google-chrome inside WSL with your favorite PPA repository. I am not going to teach you this since there an infinity of tutorials on the subject. It may or may not work with chromium, but I didn’t test.

Install Xming/Xlaunch with the notorious next-next-finish

Create a config.xlaunch file with the following and run it afterwards:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<XLaunch xmlns="" xmlns:xsi="" <?xml version="1.0"?>
<XLaunch xmlns="" xmlns:xsi="" xsi:schemaLocation=" XLaunch.xsd" WindowMode="Windowed" ClientMode="NoClient" Display="0" Clipboard="true" ExtraParams="-ac"/>

On WSL you need to export the DISPLAY variable(I recommend you put it on your bashrc or similar):

export DISPLAY=$(grep -m 1 nameserver /etc/resolv.conf | awk '{print $2}'):0.0

You should be able to run Google Chrome by now on your terminal: google-chrome

Don’t forget to install chromedriver:

npm install -g chromedriver --detect_chromedriver_version

End Notes

Wish I started this as a draft when I got the notebook and started the process, so I could document every step. However, this post consolidates every major step or issue that I had.

The speed is blazing fast compared to the one that I got on the MacBook. I never imagined that I would like to code on Windows. Guess my words come back to me 🤷‍♂️.

Free SSL/TLS Certificates with Nginx and Let’s Encrypt

As you might have already noticed, I am now running this site with a SSL certificate provided by Let’s Encrypt. Formerly only enabled to another domain hosted here.

For those who don’t know Let’s Encrypt, it’s a free automated, and open certificate authority. You can literally have a SSL certificate on your hosting in minutes.

You can easily install it with the following instructions. Keep in mind that the instructions are for Ubuntu 14.04, so some steps may differ.

Install Let’s Encrypt client.

Download the script and make it executable:

cd /usr/local/sbin
sudo wget
sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/sbin/certbot-auto

Check your package manager for letsencrypt. Ubuntu 16.04 already have it.

Obtain the certificate.

To generate the certificate the client will create a temporary file on your webroot. You need to allow the access to the file adding the following to your nginx server block configuration:

location ~ /.well-known {
                allow all;

After that, restart your nginx and run the following command:

certbot-auto certonly -a webroot --webroot-path=/var/www/yourwebroot -d -d

Don’t forget to change your webroot-path and your domain. If needed, add any other sub domain after the -d At the prompt insert your e-mail and, after read, accept the agreement.

You will end up with a set of four .pem files.

Set up nginx with SSL.

Edit your nginx configuration file again, you may now remove that .well-knowmentioned earlier. Also remove the listen 80 portion.

listen 443 ssl;
#listen 80; 
ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/; 
ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/;

To redirect all your http traffic to https you should add this server block before the above:

server { 
    listen 80; 
    return 301 https://$host$request_uri; 

Restart nginx again and test to make sure everything is working as expected.

Set up auto-renewal.

The certificate expires within 90 days, you can run the command certbot-auto renew to perform the renewal of the certificate. However, it will only renew if it’s 30 days away or less to expire. So you can create a cronjob to run every week without any problem.

Edit your crontab and insert the following entries:

30 2 * * 1 /usr/local/sbin/certbot-auto renew >> /var/log/le-renew.log
35 2 * * 1 /etc/init.d/nginx reload

A log of the output of certbot-auto renew will be available in the path shown above.


Easy to install and maintain. You can also improve it using a strong encryption.

Git repository access control with Gitolite

I already used other version control software like CVS and SVN in the past, but Git was one that really got me because I just felt it easy and intuitive.

Besides having a GitHub account I really don’t see the point of paying US$7/month just to have private repositories when you can roll your own VPS for less than that. Obviously, you can install something more similar to GitHub like GitLab, but, in my opinion, Gitolite is easy to use, fast and works; Keep it simple, sucker!

So, I will give the steps to install and configure on Ubuntu Server 16.04. On other distros the paths and steps may differ.

First of all, you should check existing SSH keys or generate a new set on your machine. (To be honest, if you are already using git you should have your keys)

#to check:
ls -al ~/.ssh
#to generate(linux/mac):
ssh-keygen -t rsa

On Windows machines I advise you to install cygwin with net/openssh package. I prefer that way, but you can try with other methods.

Back to our server, now we should install gitolite3 and git-core:

sudo apt-get install git-core gitolite3

Insert your public key configure gitolite. On older versions you need to create a user and run the setup by yourself, keep that in mind if you are using other distro.

Now you can ssh the gitolite user to list the repositories:


You can add some rules and keys cloning the gitolite-admin repository.

git clone

You can now add pub keys for other users(or machines) creating files in the keydir directory. For multiple machines you should use the name convention, like On the conf/gitolite.conf file you can add users and repositories.

Checkout the official documentation. Apart from being a non resource-intensive, gitolite is a rich and powerful software that you can make use of RegEx, groups, hooks, VREF, wild repos and much more.