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Set Up Virtual Machine

Creating a folder to work in

Your first task is to create a folder that will hold everything you create during the workshop.

This folder will be shared between the virtual machine and your computer. Like sharing files between two real computers with Dropbox or Google Docs, files need to be saved in a place that both your computer and the virtual machine can see. Save all your work in the hands-on exercises here so they can be run in the virtual machine.

How you will create this folder will depend on whether or not you downloaded the Installfest files before the workshop.

If you were unable to download the VM ahead of time, we have copies on USB drives.

Please choose the one of the next two sections that applies to you!

If You're Using a USB Drive at the Workshop

Drag the railsbridge folder from the USB drive to your desktop.

If You Downloaded the Files Already

Create a new folder on your desktop by right-clicking and selecting "New Folder". Name it railsbridge.

Note that the name railsbridge should be lowercase.

In File Explorer or Finder, drag and drop "railsbridgevm-2018-03.box" from your Downloads folder to your new railsbridge folder.

Set up the virtual machine

This is a one-time step to create the virtual machine for the workshop.

Open your computer's command line. (Windows users, open Git Bash.) See the Command Line page for instructions on how to open it.

Go to your new railsbridge directory:

cd ~/Desktop/railsbridge

If you've been to a workshop before, please ask a TA for help removing your old VM image before proceeding.

Type this:

vagrant box add railsbridge ./railsbridgevm-2018-03.box --name railsbridge

Then type:

vagrant init railsbridge

Here is what you should see (approximately):

Your-Computer:railsbridge$ vagrant init railsbridge
A `Vagrantfile` has been placed in this directory. You are now
ready to `vagrant up` your first virtual environment! Please read
the comments in the Vagrantfile as well as documentation on
`vagrantup.com` for more information on using Vagrant.

Type this to list all the files you've made:


Look at the railsbridge folder in Finder or File Explorer. You'll notice it now contains a file called Vagrantfile. This contains configuration information that Vagrant needs to start and connect to the new virtual machine. We have to have a command line open and be in this folder when we start or connect to the vm so Vagrant can read the configuration information.

Leave this Finder or File Explorer window open for the next step.

Starting the Virtual Machine

The virtual machine has to be "powered up" in order to use it.

This is how you will start up and shut down your VM every time you use it.

If you closed your command line, open it again and type cd ~/Desktop/railsbridge to return to your folder. This folder contains the file Vagrantfile, which has the configuration settings needed to start the vm.

From the command line type:

vagrant up

It will do something like this:

Your-Computer:railsbridge$ vagrant up
Bringing machine 'default' up with 'virtualbox' provider...
[default] Importing base box 'railsbridge'...
[default] Matching MAC address for NAT networking...
[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] -- 3000 => 3000 (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

If you're using Windows and the system firewall asks you about allowing connections here, tell it to allow connections on private or local networks, but not on public networks.

To use the virtual machine, you must connect to it. From the command line, type

vagrant ssh

to connect to the virtual machine.

You will see a welcome message something like this:

Your-Computer:railsbridge$ vagrant ssh
Welcome to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.13.0-24-generic i686)
* Documentation:  https://help.ubuntu.com/

Welcome to the RailsBridge Boston virtual machine!


Disconnect from the virtual machine (turning it on and off)

When you're done working in the virtual machine, type


to disconnect from the virtual machine. To stop the virtual machine, type

vagrant halt

from the command line.

And close the command line window.

When you want to use the virtual machine (tomorrow morning, for instance), start your machine. Open the command line, then:

cd ~/Desktop/railsbridge
vagrant up
vagrant ssh


To open an extra command line on the virtual machine, open another command line window, then type:

cd ~/Desktop/railsbridge
vagrant ssh

Note: you can also get to your railsbridge directory this way, if ~ is inconvenient to get to on your keyboard:

cd Desktop
cd railsbridge

Next Step

Now that you've got your VM, it's time to Try Your Text Editor.