Use Vagrant To Install The Pebble Sdk In Minutes

Although my Orange Pebble has not arrived yet, I had to start digging around the SDK. As always the first step is to install it on your computer.

Orange Pebble

The official approach might seem a little complicated to some developers and is not available on Windows. In this post, I suggest using Vagrant to set-up a development virtual machine. You will be ready in a few minutes and it works on every platforms.

Note that you can also use CloudPebble to compile apps online without having to download anything.

What is Vagrant?

Quoting from their website, Vagrant lets you create and configure lightweight, reproducible, and portable development environments.

In a nutshell, it prepares and starts a headless virtual machine with all the development tools you need. In our case, the virtual machine will have the Pebble SDK ready to use, you will edit the code on your computer and have the virtual machine compile your code.

Install the Pebble SDK through Vagrant

First you will need to install Vagrant on your computer. Download Vagrant for your platform. Once you have installed Vagrant, you will also need to install VirtualBox if you do not have it already (it’s a free alternative to VMWare).

Now create a new directory on your computer and run the following command:

vagrant init pebblesdk1.1.1

Vagrant will download an image of Ubuntu 12.04 with the PebbleSDK pre-installed and will create a new instance of that machine for your project.

To start this virtual machine, simply type:

$ vagrant up
Bringing machine 'default' up with 'virtualbox' provider...
[default] Setting the name of the VM...
[default] Clearing any previously set forwarded ports...
[default] Creating shared folders metadata...
[default] Clearing any previously set network interfaces...
[default] Preparing network interfaces based on configuration...
[default] Forwarding ports...
[default] -- 22 => 2222 (adapter 1)
[default] Booting VM...
[default] Waiting for VM to boot. This can take a few minutes.
[default] VM booted and ready for use!
[default] Configuring and enabling network interfaces...
[default] Mounting shared folders...
[default] -- /vagrant

Your virtual machine is starting and you can connect to it using vagrant ssh. The /vagrant folder of your virtual machine is synchronized to the current folder on your computer.

To create a new project, you can run the create_pebble_project command:

macbookpro$ vagrant ssh
Welcome to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.2.0-23-generic-pae i686)

 * Documentation:
Welcome to your Vagrant-built virtual machine.
Last login: Tue Jun 11 00:26:31 2013 from

vagrant@precise32:~$ cd /vagrant
vagrant@precise32:/vagrant$ create_pebble_project myfirstwatchface

Creating project here:


Now run:

	cd myfirstwatchface
	./waf configure
	./waf build

To finalize the initialization of your first project, run:

cd myfirstwatchface
./waf configure

Look on your computer, a myfirstwatchface folder should have appeared in your current directory. You can use your favorite editor and source-control tool to write your app. When you want to compile it, just go back to your ssh session and type ./waf build.

For more information on how to get started writing watchfaces and apps for Pebble, read the docs!

To save some RAM and disk space (~1.5Gb) you can destroy the virtual machine at anytime (vagrant destroy). Of course, it will not touch your project files on your computer. The next time you need it, just run vagrant up and it will be ready again in a few seconds.


Hope this helps some of you get started with the Pebble SDK! Feel free to post questions in the comments below or on the Pebble forum.

Post-Scriptum: How to prepare the Vagrant image?

For the sake of repeatability, here is how I prepared the image:

  • Start from a precise32 image
vagrant init precise32
vagrant up    
vagrant ssh
  • Install everything
# Update apt database
sudo apt-get update

# Install pre-requisite
sudo apt-get install libmpc2

# Now install pebble sdk
mkdir pebble-dev
cd pebble-dev

# Download and install arm toolkit
tar -jxf arm-cs-tools-ubuntu-12.04-2012-12-22.tar.bz2
rm arm-cs-tools-ubuntu-12.04-2012-12-22.tar.bz2

echo 'export PATH=~/pebble-dev/arm-cs-tools/bin:$PATH' >> ~/.bash_profile

# Install SDK dependencies
sudo apt-get install dpkg-dev python-dev python-pip

# Install SDK
mkdir PebbleKit-v1.1.1
cd PebbleKit-v1.1.1
tar -zxf /vagrant/PebbleKit-v1.1.1.tar.gz

# Installing python modules for the SDK
pip install --user -r PebbleKit-v1.1.1/Pebble/sdk/requirements.txt

# Create a handy alias to
echo 'alias create_pebble_project="~/pebble-dev/PebbleKit-v1.1.1/Pebble/tools/ ~/pebble-dev/PebbleKit-v1.1.1/Pebble/sdk"' >> ~/.bash_profile

# Clean up
sudo apt-get clean  
  • Finally prepare the image
vagrant package
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Copyright Thomas Sarlandie 2013, 2014
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