A shell script which turns your macOS laptop into an awesome web development machine.
Latest commit 02ef631 Oct 14, 2016 @chen-j chen-j committed with croaky Update readme
Change “OS X” to “macOS” to keeping up with apple’s rebranding of the
the operating system.



Laptop is a script to set up an macOS laptop for web development.

It can be run multiple times on the same machine safely. It installs, upgrades, or skips packages based on what is already installed on the machine.


We support:

  • macOS Mavericks (10.9)
  • macOS Yosemite (10.10)
  • macOS El Capitan (10.11)

Older versions may work but aren't regularly tested. Bug reports for older versions are welcome.


Download, review, then execute the script:

curl --remote-name https://raw.githubusercontent.com/thoughtbot/laptop/master/mac
less mac
sh mac 2>&1 | tee ~/laptop.log

Optionally, install thoughtbot/dotfiles.


Your last Laptop run will be saved to ~/laptop.log. Read through it to see if you can debug the issue yourself. If not, copy the lines where the script failed into a new GitHub Issue for us. Or, attach the whole log file as an attachment.

What it sets up

macOS tools:

  • Homebrew for managing operating system libraries.

Unix tools:

  • Exuberant Ctags for indexing files for vim tab completion
  • Git for version control
  • OpenSSL for Transport Layer Security (TLS)
  • RCM for managing company and personal dotfiles
  • The Silver Searcher for finding things in files
  • Tmux for saving project state and switching between projects
  • Zsh as your shell

Heroku tools:

GitHub tools:

  • Hub for interacting with the GitHub API

Image tools:

Testing tools:

  • Qt for headless JavaScript testing via Capybara Webkit

Programming languages and configuration:

  • Bundler for managing Ruby libraries
  • Node.js and NPM, for running apps and installing JavaScript packages
  • Rbenv for managing versions of Ruby
  • Ruby Build for installing Rubies
  • Ruby stable for writing general-purpose code


  • Postgres for storing relational data
  • Redis for storing key-value data

It should take less than 15 minutes to install (depends on your machine).

Customize in ~/.laptop.local

Your ~/.laptop.local is run at the end of the Laptop script. Put your customizations there. For example:


brew bundle --file=- <<EOF
brew "Caskroom/cask/dockertoolbox"
brew "go"
brew "ngrok"
brew "watch"

default_docker_machine() {
  docker-machine ls | grep -Fq "default"

if ! default_docker_machine; then
  docker-machine create --driver virtualbox default

default_docker_machine_running() {
  default_docker_machine | grep -Fq "Running"

if ! default_docker_machine_running; then
  docker-machine start default

fancy_echo "Cleaning up old Homebrew formulae ..."
brew cleanup
brew cask cleanup

if [ -r "$HOME/.rcrc" ]; then
  fancy_echo "Updating dotfiles ..."

Write your customizations such that they can be run safely more than once. See the mac script for examples.

Laptop functions such as fancy_echo and gem_install_or_update can be used in your ~/.laptop.local.

See the wiki for more customization examples.


Edit the mac file. Document in the README.md file. Follow shell style guidelines by using ShellCheck and Syntastic.

brew install shellcheck

Thank you, contributors!

By participating in this project, you agree to abide by the thoughtbot code of conduct.


Laptop is © 2011-2016 thoughtbot, inc. It is free software, and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the LICENSE file.

About thoughtbot


Laptop is maintained and funded by thoughtbot, inc. The names and logos for thoughtbot are trademarks of thoughtbot, inc.

We are passionate about open source software. See our other projects. We are available for hire.