To begin we need a way to create and edit files. There are many IDEs (Integrated Development Environment) that can help us edit files, and depending on what language and platform you will be building apps in, you must choose a certain IDE. However for entry level developers just getting started into development I suggest using Visual Studio Code.
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code is Microsoft’s code editor. I wouldn’t say it’s an IDE, but it’s lightweight and useful to get coding right away. In addition there are many extensions you can install to make your experience that much easier.
- ESLint — A tool to alert you about errors your code may have
- Prettier — A way to format your code to make it look pretty
- GitLens — Supercharge your git experience. Git blame annotations and view git history
There are a ton of extensions, let me know what you recommend if you are a super user.
Now let’s talk about Node.js.
Node and NPM
Let’s install Node and NPM using NVM.
NVM — (Node Version Manager)
This link is for installing NVM on Windows. If you need to install for Mac or Linux, follow this link:
Once you have NVM installed go to your command prompt and type:
This will show that you have correctly installed NVM. If you get an error saying that it cannot find NVM, close down your editor or prompt and open it again. It should load. If for some reason you still can’t get it to work, follow the steps again in the above links.
So now that we have NVM installed, let’s install Node and NPM.
nvm install latest
This will install the latest version of Node an NPM. Which at the time of this article is 14.3.1. Once it is download we need to tell NVM what version we want to use.
nvm use 14.3.1
Now we can check if we have correctly installed Node and NPM by typing these commands:
node -v npm -v
If they return without any errors and display the version then it means we now have correctly installed Node and NPM.
Express - Node.js web application framework
Express will enable you to build a back end API that is capable of connecting to a database, running scripts, calling out to 3rd Party APIs and just about anything you can think. It is lightweight, meaning it doesn’t impose a lot of rules to use it.
Next.js is an all in one production ready framework that combines a server side rendering front end using React and a backend server API using Node.js. If you need your application to handle SEO and static site generation that I suggest using this right away.