Software Prerequisites


Prior to the workshop, it is vital that you install some software on your laptop and create an account at Github by following the instructions below!

There is little time during the workshop to deal with installation problems, so it makes the day run much more smoothly if you arrive with your software already installed.


We maintain a list of common problems that can occur during installation and ways of solving them. Take a look at the Configuration Problems and Solutions wiki page for help.


Among many other things, Bash allows you to automate dull and boring tasks. We use it during the command line section of the course.


Bash will be provided as part of the Git for Windows installation as described below.

Mac OS X

The Bash shell is accessed by opening the “Terminal” application. The Terminal application can be found in the “Utilities” folder which is in your “Applications” folder.


The Bash shell is accessed via the Terminal application.

Text Editor

A text editor is the piece of software you use to view and write code. If you have a preferred text editor, please use it. If you don't have one, we recommend the following.


Notepad++. Just download the installer and run it.

Mac OS X and Linux

Nano is a text editor that is installed by default on Mac OS X and Linux.

You can verify you have nano installed by opening a terminal and entering:


If nano is not installed, you will receive an error. If it is installed, nano will open (appearing not dissimilar to the terminal window, but with menu items at the bottom of the window).

To exit nano press CTRL+X (you might be prompted you to save or discard modified buffer - just type “N” to exit without saving).


We use Python 3, because it is generally the most widely used version of Python. We will also use the numpy and matplotlib libraries and the nose unit testing framework. Fortunately, these do not need to be installed separately! The “Python3.6 Anaconda” installation provides everything Python-related you will need for the workshop. To install Anaconda, follow the instructions below.


Download the Python3.6 Anaconda installer. Double click the installer and follow the instructions.

Mac OS X

Download the Python 3.6 Anaconda Mac OS X Graphical installer. Double click the .pkg file and follow the instructions.


Download the Python3.6 Anaconda installation script. Install via the terminal like this:


When asked “Do you wish the installer to prepend the Anaconda install location to PATH”, answer “yes”. After it’s finished, close and reopen your terminal to reload the updated PATH and allow the installed Python to be found.


Git is the version control software we will use. It allows you to keep track of your software and the edits made to it.

Create a Github account

You must create a Github account before attending the workshop!

To create an account, go to the Github website and provide your details. It’s quick and it’s free. Once you have your account, you need to install the Git software as described below.


Download and install Git for Windows. Please note that you can accept the default installation options, with one exception - at the step ‘Configuring the terminal emulator to use with Git Bash’ you must select ‘Use Windows default console window’.

Mac OS X

On Mac OS X 10.12 Sierra, 10.11 El Capitan, 10.10 Yosemite and 10.9 Mavericks, Git will be installed automatically the first time you try to run it. Open a terminal and enter:


There may be a short delay whilst the installer operates. You can then follow the prompts to install the Apple command line development tools.

On Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leoapard, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion, download and open the Git installer image. Double click the .pkg file and follow the instructions.

If you intend to use an earlier version of Mac OS X, please contact us before the event.


Install via a terminal like this:

Ubuntu and derivatives:

sudo apt-get install git


su -
dnf install git

Verify your setup

To make sure that everything has installed correctly, we have written a simple Python script to test the prerequisites.

Close your existing terminal and reopen it (this is important!).

Enter the command below into your terminal. It will download the python script and run it to check your prerequisites.


From the Git folder in the Start Menu, open the Git Bash terminal.

curl -L | python

Mac OS X, Linux

Close your existing terminal and reopen it. This is important!

curl -L | python3

On Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, the script will run and output some text. If everything has installed correctly, within the text you will see eight passes and no failures, like this:

check command line shell (virtual-shell)... pass
check Git (git)...  pass
check Nose (nosetests)...   pass
check Nose Python package (nose)... pass
check Python version (python)...    pass
check Argparse (argparse)...    pass
check NumPy (numpy)...  pass
check Matplotlib (matplotlib)...    pass

If anything fails, please contact us before the workshop.

During the workshop

We will make use of the Etherpad collaboration tool during the workshop (Etherpad allows a group to edit documents online collaboratively in real-time). Please use this to keep collaborative notes and ask (and answer!) each others questions.