Vagabond – Update

Aside from the getandroidsdkdl script that I was offering for people who wanted to get started with Android Development on Linux, another cool tool I wanted to throw out there was a script I call “Vagabond” which is a Vagrant deployable which automatically configures a development environment that you can use for Android Development on your Linux computer. In fact, it may prove far easier to use it instead of the getandroidsdkdl script (it actually builds off of it). The actual Vagabond script isn’t available yet but I’m letting a rather close circle of friends test it out first before I make it public which shouldn’t be too far off from now. I wanted to give an overview of what it does.

If you’re unfamiliar with Vagrant, follow the previous link to get a better understanding of what it is.

What is Vagabond?

Vagabond is little more than a bash script that you’ll download and execute. Once you execute it, all you’ll need to do is sit back and relax while it configures the VM, installs all of the requisite packages to both update the base VM and the required packages for the Android SDK, and then exposes the synced directory from the guest to the host via host’s PATH and that should take care of everything. The user can then install an IDE of their choice on the host and run the Android SDK tools from their host computer.

Got that? To further simplify, the purpose of the Vagrant image is to host and isolate the the Android SDK and to make it even more portable since it’ll exist exclusively in a VM. The Vagrant Provisioner Script, in tandem with the Vagabond Script, exposes the SDK hosted in the guest VM to the host machine. If it still doesn’t make any sense, you may need to read up on what Vagrant is so that it sinks in a little more.

Vagabond Usage

Vagabond is, and will continue to be, stupid simple to use. I’m planning on adding some additional features to it but for right now, it only requires that you provide it with a directory where you want Vagrant to install and configure the VM in. That’s it. The rest is up to the script. [vagrant-project-directory]

Vagabond Details

Vagabond relies on three different pieces of software – Vagrant, Git and Zenity. It will check for the existence of these three on the computer before attempting to do anything. If either one of these are missing from the computer, the script will fail and return an error code specific to whichever program was missing. These codes are detailed in the comments in the script.

Clearly, the reliance on Vagrant should be rather obvious. Git needs to be installed since Vagabond will pull down the Vagrantfile and bootstrap provisioning script from my GitHub. Zenity is used to display the output from Vagrant while it’s running the VM configuration and provisioning script. The choice to use Zenity was made since the output from the provisioning script couldn’t easily be piped back to the terminal that was running Vagabond. I’m still not really sure why this was the case but that’s what was happening. If I can figure it out, or if someone a bit more skilled at bash scripting than myself modifies the source, I’ll yank the Zenity dependency out of there. I can’t say I don’t entirely dislike it though.

Vagabond then attempts to make the directory that the user specified while launching the script. No real magic here. The only thing is that it will check to see if the directory exists prior to running mkdir. Some may see it as a redundant check since mkdir will cater to already existing directories but I wanted some conditionally verbose output. Sue me.

Next Vagabond will move into the new directory and use Git to clone from my GitHub repository that contains the Vagrantfile and bootstrap Provisioning Script. Details on the Vagrantfile can be found if you read the Vagrant documentation. The purpose of the bootstrap script will also become evident as well. At least what it does with regard to Vagrantfile. Cloning from the GitHub will make a vagabond directory inside the directory the user specified for the Vagrant Project and we don’t want that. Vagabond will move the cloned files out of the cloned vagabond directory into the Vagrant Project directory and then remove the cloned directory.

At this point, we’re ready to use Vagrant. Now that Vagrantfile and bootstrap are in place, a call to vagrant up will use the Vagrantfile to configure the VM. Vagrantfile will then rely on bootstrap to supply additional configurations and instructions to the VM. The Vagrant Box used is the hashicorp/precise32 (Ubuntu Precise 32-bit). All other Vagrant configurations are defaults. The bootstrap Provisioning Script does the following:

  • Update apt repositories
  • Upgrade the system as well as install base dependencies for the Android SDK
  • Use a modified version of my getandroidsdkdl script to download the Android SDK from Google. This script will also unpack the SDK into /opt in the VM and configure permissions on it.

Once this is done, Vagabond will expose the synced directory, which is linked to the directory in the VM that contains the SDK, to the host system via a modification to PATH. That’s it. After that, so long as the VM is running, the host will have access to the SDK. The user can download and use whatever tools they want. Since the SDK exists exclusively in the VM, you can port the VM to anywhere you want.

What’s Next?

As I mentioned before, I’m letting a few people test this before I give it GA. Once I get those test results back and make some modifications to the script based on those tests, the version will be locked as 1 and released for GA. Stay tuned!

Ohio Linux Fest – The Aftermath

I’m back home from the Ohio Linux Fest and I’m very, very tired. As much as I want to write more, I think I’m going to keep this short and sweet for the time being and just give a minor overview and save most of the major content for some of the upcoming podcasts that I’m going to be co-hosting to go over the event.

First of all, I know that some of you reading this most likely attended the event and even came to my talk to which I want to extend an infinite amount of gratitude to you for. Little fact – this was my first talk ever at a technology conference. That being said, the turnout far exceeded any expectations I had and the audience was amazing. I got so much great feedback from all of you and you all graciously put up with my horrible jokes. Even more humbling to me was the swath of people who came up after I was done. That made all the stress and shitting bricks worth it.

That being said, the slides that were uploaded to the OLF website on my session profile are not the ones that I used for the presentation. The ones I used were modified in terms of order and containing a few slides that detailed my previous work. Some of you had asked about getting a copy of the slides and I want to make sure that you get the most recent ones so I’m going to upload them and you can download them at your leisure. Of course, I won’t be doing this until tomorrow since I’m seriously going straight to bed right after this. You all can wait until then.

The other thing that I didn’t have that I got asked for was business cards. Thankfully my contact information is “federated” in the sense that all the names are similar. My website is, my email is and my phone number is 1-800-gregfmartin (not really but it sounds good). Had I known that there was going to be this clamoring for my contact information, I would have better prepared for it.

Finally, I wanted to give honorable mention to Brian Wagner for being not only a tremendous help and resource but a great friend. Also to Stephen McLaughlin a.k.a. DoorToDoorGeek for being a wealth of audio production knowledge and for help with the audio recording equipment (even though I screwed up due to technical difficulties).


Kid-rows! Don’t ask me what that means exactly because I don’t know either. I just made it up.

I’m still plugging away at apps. Smsr is in the process of undergoing a major rewrite. Last weekend I was playing with the SMS Content Provider again and having found some glint of genius in a single moment or realisation, I found a significantly more efficient way to write how it works. Implementing it throughout the project will effectively result in an entire rewrite but what’s computer science without the “science?”

Even cooler than that, my talk proposal for the Ohio Linux Fest (OLF), “Android Development on Linux,” has been approved and I received my invitation yesterday morning (read date on this post). OLF takes place in Columbus, OH starting on October 24th and runs the whole weekend until October 26th at the Columbus Convention Center. There are already a lot of great talks scheduled for there and my friend Brian Wagner is also giving a talk there about DevOps as well. If you’re planning on attending the event and want to attend either of our sessions, both Brian and I are going to be giving our talks on Saturday the 25th. Room placement and times are still tentative at this point as the event planners are still going through everything. It’s shaping up to be a really awesome event so if you’re into technology or open-source and you’re in the area, make sure to stop by!