Chapter 2: Getting Started

Getting Started

Since we’re not in the same room, I can’t be sure of what you do or don’t know about building web applications. Because of this, I’m going to assume a couple of things in this chapter:

Assumption #1: You have never operated a computer with the command line.

Assumption #2: You have not installed Meteor on your computer.

If both of these assumptions are wrong, skip this chapter. But if either of these assumptions are not wrong, continue reading. It won’t be long before we can start writing some code.

Command Line

Once upon a time, computers didn’t have graphical interfaces with buttons, windows, or menus. Instead, users controlled their computers by typing out commands and tapping the “Return” key on their keyboard.

These days, command line interfaces (as they’re known) are still used by software developers for a couple of important reasons:

  1. With practice, writing commands is faster than using a visual interface. For keyboard-heavy work like programming, this can save a lot of time over the course of a career.

  2. Visual interfaces are time-consuming to create and maintain, so if a piece of software is only going to be used by software developers, there’s no need for anyone to waste time building such an interface. Software developers are simply expected to have command line experience.

It’s no surprise, then, that there’s no visual interface for working with Meteor. You are required to use the command line. This, however, is simpler than most people would imagine.

To get started with the command line, find the command line application on your computer. All major operating systems have such an application, but its name will depend on the system:

  • On Mac OS X, the command line application is Terminal.
  • On Windows, the command line application is Command Prompt.
  • On Linux, the command line application will depend on the distribution (but if you’re using Linux, I’m going to assume you know what you’re doing).

After tracking down the application on your system, open it up and leave it open for the remainder of the book. We’ll be using it throughout all of the chapters.

Installing Meteor

At this point, Meteor is supported on all major, modern operating systems, including:

  • Mac: OS X 10.7 and above
  • Windows:
    • Windows 7
    • Windows 8.1
    • Windows Server 2008
    • Windows Server 2012
  • Linux: x86 and x86_64 systems

If you’re a Windows user, visit meteor.com/install and download the .exe file. Installing Meteor on Windows is like installing any other kind of software, so there’s nothing else to explain. Follow the installer’s steps and then move onto the next chapter.

If you’re a Mac OS X or Linux user though, we’ll need to use the command line for the first time.

To begin, copy the following command to the clipboard:

curl https://install.meteor.com/ | sh

Then paste it into the command line and tap the “Return” key.

This command will:

  1. Connect to “install.meteor.com”.
  2. Download the latest version of Meteor.
  3. Install that version of Meteor.

During this process, if you’re asked for your computer’s password, type it out and tap the “Return” key for a second time. This is just to confirm that you have the appropriate security privileges.

Summary

In this chapter, we’ve learned that:

  • Before graphical interfaces, users operated computers using the command line.
  • These days, the command line is heavily used by software developers.

To gain a deeper understanding of what we’ve covered:

  • Read “The Command Line Crash Course”. It’s not necessary reading, but the more you know about working with the command line, the more productive you can be with it.