Bookware: VM instructions

Our official recommendation: Use Cloud9

As of Fall 2015, the Cloud9 Web-based IDE  is the recommended and fastest way to get started: entirely browser-based, so it works on any computer, even inexpensive Chromebooks. We have tested this on connections as slow as 256 Kbps (2G cellular data). The free account is sufficient for doing course homeworks and developing small projects, but you will still need to deploy to Heroku.

Other development options (not officially supported)

Others have successfully set up development environments on plain Linux, using Vagrant, and other scenarios, which you may find useful if you need to work in conditions where Internet connectivity is too poor to use Cloud9.

Many of them have contributed their instructions to our courseware wiki, but be aware that we have not thoroughly tested all of these  configurations and we cannot provide support for them.

If you choose to use the Amazon EC2 option, you will need to have an Amazon EC2 account and be familiar with how to launch instances on it.  MOOC student Jeremy Banks has helpfully created this tutorial for newcomers.