Chromebook for Developers

August 1, 2018
Blog Chromebook Google Cloud Linux Pixelbook Crostini DevOps Python conda

ChromeOS is a modern approach to laptop: everything runs in a browser but it can host Android and Linux apps.

Chromebooks are very secure, fast, beautiful, and functional. Mine is a Pixelbook and it is the best device I ever had.

Open Terminal and test

Hit Launcher (circle icon on bottom left of your desktop), search for terminal and open it.

It is a fresh, clean, true Debian GNU/Linux in a container on an attached vm. We are going to install our developing environment including git, vscode, python (miniconda), gcloud sdk. These are inVisement choices. You can choose your dev portfolio apps.

sudo bash -c 'echo "deb testing non-free contrib main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list'
sudo apt-get update
 #install a few good utils
sudo apt-get install lsb-release apt-transport-https nano wget

# create a few folders
mkdir Downloads Docs PROJECTS Temp PROJECTS/inVisement
cd Downloads

Install git and clone repo

sudo apt-get install git
git clone https://your-repo-address your-local-repo-folder #change repo address like
#git clone ~/PROJECTS/inVisement
git config --global "your-user-name"
git config --global "your-email"

Optionally, you can go to .git/config and edit url to add your usename (and password, but it is not secure though) like url = https://your-username:[email protected] so push and pull will no longer needs yousername and password.

You may also change .git/info/exclude file to exclude some files and folder that you do not want git track them (like personal and hidden folders) to not clutter the repo.

Install google chrome,vscode, docker, etc.

You can download any .deb debian package in your Linux folders and double click on it to install it, another sweet feature of chrome os.

Setup python environment

For python, I recommend miniconda or anaconda since conda package manager is better than pip to handle non python dependencies.

bash ./Miniconda* # follow instruction. or bash./Anaconda*

Let us create and activate a python virtual environment. In Terminal (of vscode) type:

# create virtual environment, activate it, install some packages, test it, deactivate it
conda create -n inVisement
source activate inVisement
conda install numpy pandas pip pylint # install a few packages that you want
source deactivate

Pin applications to desktop shelf

Usually chrome os pins linux application that has graphical ui to the shelf automatically. But in case you want to do you yourself, Hit Launcher (bottom left corner of desktop), search for desired app (i.e. vscode or Terminal or Files) right click by alt+click, and click pin to shelf. To launch any linux app either hot the icon, or search it in Launcher (that left-bottom circle), or type it in termical.

Creating IDE to code

Launch code (vscode), open your project folder (File>Open Folder), toggle its integrated terminal (View>Terminal or ctrl+`).

In vscode, you can go to Extensions (left side bar or Ctrl+Shift+X) and install extensions you want like python, go, docker, hit reload to reload vscode.

The change the default python interpreter to virtual environment. Press Ctr+Shift+P to launch command Pallete. Type Python: Select Interpreter and select it. Among your choices, choose “Anaconda Inc, Python whatever (your-env)”.

Open your project folder (File > Open Folder) and create a python file. Send any line or selection of lines to execute in terminal by Ctrl+Enter.

Fortunately, vscode has an excellent git integration tool that you can find in sidebar icons to add and commit (check mark icon) and push and pull from the status bar. You can change repo and branch through status bar, too.

Congratulation, you are coding from chrome os and it is so convenient and beautiful.

Install cloud sdk and set it up

Follow instructions here in google page: Just do not forget that gcloud init might start authonticating on your chrome os browser, just copy that link to your linux chromium browser so container understands who you are or do gloud init --console-only and follow instructions.

# Create environment variable for correct distribution
export CLOUD_SDK_REPO="cloud-sdk-$(lsb_release -c -s)"

# Add the Cloud SDK distribution URI as a package source
echo "deb $CLOUD_SDK_REPO main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-cloud-sdk.list

# Import the Google Cloud Platform public key
curl | sudo apt-key add -

# Update the package list and install the Cloud SDK
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install google-cloud-sdk

# Install some coud components lile python app engine
sudo apt-get install google-cloud-sdk-app-engine-python
# you can install more components go to:

gcloud init # follow instructions. 

Enjoy coding and share it

Chrome OS is developing very fast and becomming an exciting project. Our organization is fully moved to google platform (for cloud, os, gmail, g suite, etc.) and I believe google offers very young but excellent working platform.