The more I dive into modern front end development tooling, the more I find myself creating custom environment configurations.
Several great tools, such as PhantomJS, Gradle, Maven and so forth, come often only as a standalone binary, without a Windows installer. While this is perfectly fine and while it allows to keep the system clean, it requires a bit of environment settings, specifically in Windows OS.
I have started to use the following rule:
System variable name: UPPERCASE_TOOL_NAME_FOLLOWED_BY_UNDERSCORE_BIN System variable value: C:\Development\tool-name\version-number\bin
The special system variable called PATH is then appended with the resulting variable, thus making the given tool available in the command line just by the name of its executables.
Any variable can be concatenated with another, by wrapping the other variable with %. Different paths are separated by comma.
For example in the case of PhantomJS 1.9.2, the variables would be the following:
PHANTOMJS_BIN = C:\Development\PhantomJS\1.9.2 PATH = ...;%PHANTOMJS_BIN%
The above mentioned path is targeting the directory where the executables of the given tool are. Once there is an upgrade to the version, the variable would just need the number to change. This way I can still keep the older versions in case needed for testing, and have the latest one available in the path.