There are several options for quick start, depending on what you are trying to do:
Easy: Build your first application in the NEAR Studio IDE
Intermediate: Use NEAR with an existing front-end
Advanced: Build and run a local DevNet node
Expert: Build and run a local multi-node AlphaNet
We have 3 development environments currently available:
Local DevNet: You run this node in your local environment.
Hosted DevNet: NEAR hosts a single-node DevNet in the cloud. This is currently the default pointed to by our online Studio IDE, Block Explorer and Wallet.
Hosted AlphaNet: NEAR hosts a multi-node AlphaNet in the cloud.
Blocks on the DevNets are not produced continuously -- they are only created when needed (so you can't necessarily rely on them for timing purposes).
Quick reference: Link to the Hackathon Quickstart Vagrant box