Summary of what you are going to install:
Although you may use Linux or MAC OS as an operating system for your development computer, as a beginner it is recommended that you use a windows-based operating system for MIPS coding.
You can setup a Linux box to compile MIPS code, but it is a little bit cumbersome and sometimes it gets complicated.
Here are the steps:
Step 1 – Install QtSpim
Always download binaries directly from the official site.
Installation is pretty straightforward.
Step 2 – Install notepad++
Apart from being an awesome lightweight editor anyway, notepad++ can also color MIPS code correctly.
You can download notepad++ from here.
Installation is pretty straightforward. But beware of hidden check boxes that install adware. Only install software and features you need.
Step 3 – Download a reference sheet (optional)
You can download a good MIPS reference sheet here.
You can also download a unofficial visualization here.
Once you have setup the IDE, you could install additional software: