On Yosemite & Developer Tools

October 13, 2014

OS X Yosemite was released on October 16. Usually, I just grab the golden master (which is the release version that is made available earlier for developers) and do the upgrade, but this year was different. I've been testing their work-in-progress OS for the past few months, for various reasons.1

I did an in-place upgrade from Mavericks on my main development machine after having tested beta 4 extensively on my MacBook Air and finding no major show-stopping issues.2

Yosemite running on my MacBook Pro, being generally awesome and stable.

So here we go, let's take a look at what you should be doing before and after you upgrade to Yosemite. I tried it out on my development machine so you don't have to say 'hey, why doesn't Vagrant work anymore?' after you upgrade. We'll fix that here.

What to do before you upgrade

Woah there, buddy. Let's take a look at the required steps you'll need to take before you go and upgrade your machine to the release version of Yosemite.

  1. Make a backup with Time Machine or your favorite imaging tool
  2. Make some manual backups, just in case
  3. Google a bit to find out if there are any major issues with your most important software (does something not run? you might want to postpone upgrading)

I want to repeat: do use Time Machine or at least set up another way of backing up your machine if you dislike Time Machine. It will save you. Back up your goddamn data.3

Do you use Homebrew? Have a filled /usr/local folder? Check out this article by Jim Lindley.

What to do during your upgrade

Grab a cup of coffee or relax for a while. You're going to have to wait a while, regardless.

What to do after you upgrade

After you upgrade, most (if not all) apps should just work without issues. Your Mac will look a bit different, and you might have to get used to it.

As a web developer, I run a bunch of shell scripts, and make extensive use of NPM, as well as Vagrant for my virtual machines. After an upgrade, I had to:

  1. Reinstall VirtualBox
  2. Reinstall Vagrant
  3. Reinstall NPM
  4. Reinstall Java (for PhpStorm)
  5. Reinstall the mcrypt extension for the built-in php version4

It's just a process you'll have to do once. Everything seems to be working just fine after doing clean installs.

In addition, you might have to:

  1. Reinstall command line tools
  2. Upgrade to the latest version of Xcode (6.1) -- recommended
  3. Update your applications, they might be patched and modified to run better or fix visual issues on Yosemite

  1. Although I'm still part of the Developer Program, I did not install the GM Candidate, but the latest public beta, so I could report some visual glitches, but that's another story. Most of those seem to be resolved, save for a few minor ones that will probably be patched in either the final GM or the first .1 update. 

  2. Before you install a beta OS on a production machine, make a) backups, b) sure it runs well on a test machine. 

  3. Even do it when you're not installing a major OS upgrade. 

  4. Yosemite ships with php 5.5.14, if you are curious.