I recently acquired a low end Chromebook (Acer Chromebook 14) as a bit of a side project. My nephew has one because they are super-cheap and he wants to be able to do homework and play Roblox (so by defacto I am the IT support), but also because I had heard rumblings about development possibilities on Chromebooks now and I wanted to explore. As someone who likes to understand what different folks are using for their day-to-day IT I decided to pick one up and experiment.
This is not a laptop review (though if you’re wondering, this particular model does feel as super-cheap as it cost!), instead, I wanted to just quickly document how I managed to get an Azure development environment up with minimal effort and a little searching.
One of my primary goals with this Chromebook has been to see if I can use Azure and do actual work without having a full-on machine. I wasn’t disappointed.
The order of events to get from standard Chromebook to Azure Development goes along the lines of:
- Update ChromeOS to the latest version
- Enable Linux Beta
- Enable Crostini
- Update any components
- Install .NET Core (not required as a separate step but I just wanted to have it there)
- Download and install PowerShell Core
- Download and install Azure CLI
- Download and install Visual Studio Code
- Install the PowerShell Extension
- Install the Azure Extension
At the end of these steps we have a Chromebook running Linux Containers with Microsoft command line and IDE tools running inside! As I often say “what a world we live in!”
Here is what I did to get set up:
- Follow the sections in this article to “Check your ChromeOS Version“, “Enable the Crostini Flag” and “Turn On Linux Apps“: https://www.androidcentral.com/how-install-linux-apps-your-chromebook
- Once you reach the “Download and Install an Application” section, you need to install wget so you can do web requests. Run “sudo apt-get install wget“
- Now you’d be ready to install .NET core (if you want it). Follow this link for instructions to install the Debian package: https://dotnet.microsoft.com/download/linux-package-manager/debian9/sdk-current
- Go to the following link and download PowerShell for Debian: https://github.com/PowerShell/PowerShell. Then go back to “https://www.androidcentral.com/how-install-linux-apps-your-chromebook” and follow the section “Download and Install an Application“
- Follow the steps here to install the Azure CLI: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/cli/azure/install-azure-cli-apt?view=azure-cli-latest. NOTE: the “az login” command will not work on its own. It will open a log in page in the host OS, but after authentication, the redirect will not make it back into the container. Instead, use “az login –use-device-code“. This will allow you to log in through the portal and provide a code given at your terminal, once your authentication is processed your terminal log in completes without the need for the browser to redirect you
- Visit “https://code.visualstudio.com/” and download the Debian package. Once again, follow the section “Download and Install an Application” in “https://www.androidcentral.com/how-install-linux-apps-your-chromebook” to get the package installed
- Launch Visual Studio Code from your app launcher in ChromeOS. Click on the Extensions button and install the PowerShell Extension and Azure CLI Tools extension
- WIN! Log into Azure and develop, develop away!!