Firestorm for beginners: Windows version

This week I took the plunge and installed Firestorm on my Samsung Galaxy Book running Windows 10. I have searched this site but there doesn’t seem to be a tutorial for us newbies to PixelBlaze and in particular to the code, platforms, programs, and language that Firestorm requires. It appears as though many Forum regulars are very advanced, for them using Git is probably as easy as breathing, while for some people (like myself) this can be a very daunting task. I didn’t intend to post my experience here, but after thinking about it for a while, thought there may be more users that have similar interests, but lack the technical capabilities and could use a little help.

  1. Download Git. I chose Visual Studio Code as my editor. Git - Downloading Package

  2. Download Node.js. I chose LTS Version. Download | Node.js

  3. Install Yarn. Using npm package manager which comes bundled with Node.js when you install it on your system. Once you have npm installed you can run the following to both install and upgrade Yarn, “npm install --global yarn

  4. Go to Windows PowerShell (admin) and make sure the above are all installed and functional. In the pop-up command window, type “node --version” , or “yarn --version” and PowerShell should return a version number if the programs are installed and working on your computer.

  5. When you start using Git Bash, PowerShell may give you the error message “xxx cannot be loaded because running scripts is disabled on this system”.
    i) Open Windows PowerShell (admin) and in the pop-up window type the following command to get the list of Execution policies on your PC “Get-ExecutionPolicy -List
    ii) If you find Execution Policy is set to either Undefined or Restricted you can type in the following command to change it, “Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted” and hit Enter.
    iii) Now you can hit the Y key or the A key to change the Execution Policy.

You should now be able to run Firestorm. :fire: :+1:

@wizard has very good instructions from this point on…

For future reference, here are the steps:

  1. Either download a zip from https://github.com/simap/Firestorm or use git clone https://github.com/simap/Firestorm.git in the terminal to get a copy of the Firestorm code. You need to repeat this step to get a new version! Be sure to toss old versions first.
  2. cd into this directory. e.g. cd Firestorm or cd ~/Downloads/Firestorm-master/ after unzipping on a Mac. Also on Macs, you can type "cd " (trailing space!) and then drag and drop the folder on the terminal window and it will paste the path, then hit enter. If this works, you shouldn’t see an error message and your command line prompt will change.
  3. Now that you are in the Firestorm directory, run yarn. Just yarn. That will install the dependencies.
  4. Now build the web pages with yarn build. This compiles the web app.
  5. The last step runs the server, and this is the only step you need to run to run Firestorm in the future (once you are in the right directory). Run PORT=3000 yarn server to start a server on port 3000, which you can access at http://localhost:3000 from the same machine.

There are bound to be errors in this as I was not documenting my progress. It was only when it was all installed and I was watching three of my PixelBlazes synchronized on Firestorm to sound reactive patterns that I realized if I had to start from scratch again, would I be able to retrace my steps?

This Forum has been very helpful and I appreciate all of your assistance. Any corrections or suggestions to make this tutorial more accurate and complete are gratefully accepted.

6 Likes

Excellent write-up. Yeah, the assumptions of prior knowledge are often the sticking points to new users learning how to do things. Thanks for documenting a good how-to.

This is fantastic! I actually got Firestorm running under Windows a while ago, but neglected to document the process, and wondered if I would ever be able to repeat it. Thank you for creating this reference!

2 Likes

@Glitch , this is awesome! Mind if I add it to the readme in the Firestorm repo?

Thanks for writing this up! It’ll be a huge help getting new people started. A couple of notes:

You don’t actually need to install Git, Git Bash, or anything Git-related for Firestorm to work unless you’re planning on making changes to the code and keeping a custom version. For the purpose of simply running Firestorm, github.com is just another website from which you can download things. Just download the .zip version from the website and extract Firestorm-master into whatever folder works for you.

You also don’t need to involve Powershell or change execution policies, unless you have some need to run Firestorm as an administrator. On general principles, I wouldn’t. The instructions for installing node.js, npm and yarn above work fine in a normal Windows command shell, as does the procedure for building Firestorm.

Although Windows is not picky about letting you use port 80, if you want to set Firestorm’s port to something else before running, use the command:
set PORT=3000
then
‘’‘yarn server’’’
to start Firestorm.

4 Likes

That would be great!
I can’t tell you how many times I visited that readme only to leave, scratching my head and wondering how to implement those instructions. I would be pleased to be your Firestorm freshman. Then the people will say, “Hey! If Glitch can do it, anyone can!”
I am certain that between yourself and @zranger1 you can eliminate the mistakes and needless steps in my post.
Maybe even, if the differences warrant it, a separate set of instructions for Windows and Mac users?

1 Like