Setup for a Vagrant-Based Environment

A Vagrant-based environment is the preferred way to replicate our classroom environment on your home PC. It is relatively easy to install, especially when compared with installing all the different software components one-by-one, directly on your PC. It also provides a consistent working environment, so all our other instructions only need to be written once, instead of once for each operating system. Finally, Vagrant-based environments are becoming more and more common in professional software development organizations, so becoming familiar with this technology will serve students well in the future.

Resulting Environment

Once you are done following these instructions, you will have a command line tool provided by Vagrant. Using Vagrant, you will be able to create a lab environment inside a virtual machine running on your PC. This environment will behave just like the one we use in the CoderDojo classrooms, so you will be able to follow along with all the examples.

Installation Steps

These steps outline the tasks you need to perform to be able to use our Vagrant-based lab environment.

Step 1: Install Vagrant

Vagrant is free, open source software from HashiCorp that helps recreate development environments from a simple set of instructions that Vagrant understands. A development environment is a computer setup where authors of software have all the tools they need to write, test, and run their software.

Vagrant can be downloaded for Windows, Mac, and Linux from the Vagrant website. Visit the website, then click on the Downloads link and chose the right version of the software for your PC’s operating system.

Install it like you would any other software.

You can check if you have the latest version of the Vagrant software installed correctly by typing in the following command at a command line:

vagrant version

It should print output similar to the following:

Installed Version: 1.7.2
Latest Version: 1.7.2

You're running an up-to-date version of Vagrant!

Step 2: Install VirtualBox

VirtualBox is used by Vagrant to host virtual machines that contain all the pieces of our development environment. A virtual machine is a simulated computer, running inside your actual computer. Vagrant takes care of setting up the virtual machine, starting and stopping it, and destroying it when you no longer need it. But you need to install VirtualBox yourself before Vagrant can do the rest.

VirtualBox can be downloaded for Windows, Mac, and Linux from the VirtualBox website. Visit the website, then click on the Downloads link. You want to download the VirtualBox platform package for your PC’s operating system.

Install it like you would any other software.

You can check if you have the latest version of the VirtualBox software installed correctly by typing in the following command at a command line:

vboxmanage --version

It should print output similar to the following:


Step 3: Get a Copy of the python-minecraft Repository

The files we use in our CoderDojo workshops are stored on GitHub. GitHub is organized into repositories, and the python-minecraft repository contains all the files used for our lab environment.

The simplest way to get a copy of these files is to download the Zip file with all the files from the project. Decompress this file into a place where you can work on the files, such as a folder under your My Documents folder on Windows, or your home folder on OS X. We will refer to this location as your working directory.

Another alternative, if you have installed a version of Git for your PC, is to clone the repository from GitHub into a working copy on your PC. The following command, entered at the command line, will create a copy in a folder named python-minecraft:

git clone python-minecraft

Using the Environment

Once you’ve completed the steps above, you have everything in place. As mentioned above, Vagrant is the tool that assembles all the pieces and starts and stops environments. This section describes how to use it.

All the commands in this section are intended to be typed at a command line. Before continuing, be sure to change to the appropriate working directory you created with a copy of the python-minecraft repository. Use the cd command as follows:

cd python-minecraft

To start your lab environment

The first step is to configure a file in your python-minecraft folder called private_config.yaml. The easiest way to do this is to open the file named sample_config.yaml in a text editor and use the equivalent of File ‣ Save As to create a copy with the name private_config.yaml. Once you’ve saved a copy to the new filename, you must edit it to place your Mojang account name in the appropriate place. You might also want to replace the default IPython password.

Once the configuration file is in place, start up the environment using the vagrant up command with the argument --provider=docker. Together, the two will read vagrant up --provider=docker. An example of how this looks on an Ubuntu PC is as follows:

[user@pc:~/python-minecraft]$ vagrant up --provider=docker
Bringing machine 'default' up with 'docker' provider...
==> default: Creating the container...
    default:   Name: python-minecraft_default_1424041630
    default:  Image: coderdojotc/python-minecraft-student:latest
    default: Volume: /home/user/python-minecraft:/vagrant
    default:   Port: 10443:8888
    default:   Port: 10565:25565
    default: Container created: 76984c0ca81b1fd8
==> default: Starting container...
==> default: Provisioners will not be run since container doesn't support SSH.


The first time you execute the vagrant up command on a PC might take a long time, depending on the speed of the computer and the speed of your connection to the Internet. It could take tens of minutes, or maybe even an hour.

Vagrant downloads software from the Internet to create the lab server environment. Most of this software is saved on your computer, so it should be faster when you start it a second time.

After running the above command, you can pick up with the instructions in Connect to Your Lab Instance. Since you are running this on your own PC, you won’t have a lab instance connection card. Instead, check the table below for the necessary information:

Information Description
Server Name In the classroom documentation, wherever it says, use localhost instead. The name localhost refers to your PC itself.
IPython URL For your local environment, your IPython URL is https://localhost:10443/.
IPython Password This is the value you placed in your private_config.yaml file. It defaults to fooBARbaz.
Mojang Account Name This is the value you placed in your private_config.yaml file. It should be something like coderdojotc01. It is not your email address.
Mojang Server Address For your local environment, this is the value localhost:10565.

Destroy the virtual machine

To temporarily stop the lab environment, use the vagrant halt command. You can restart the environment later with the vagrant up command.

To shut down the lab environment, permanently releasing the memory and hard drive space it is using, you use the vagrant destroy command:

[user@pc:~/python-minecraft]$ vagrant destroy
    default: Are you sure you want to destroy the 'default' VM? [y/N] y
==> default: Stopping container...
==> default: Deleting the container...

Any servers you were running will be stopped and your Minecraft world will be lost. The files you edited in your working directory will still be present. And you can always recreate the lab environment using the vagrant up command described above.