Azure Sphere Now Supports Linux and Windows for Development

Recently, Microsoft released Azure Sphere developer tools for Linux, adding support for Linux OS development machines.

When Microsoft first released the initial Beta's of Azure Sphere, the development tools only supported Windows as the development operating system (OS). This meant that you could only using a Windows PC to code, deploy, and debug Azure Sphere solutions. Recently, Microsoft released Azure Sphere developer tools for Linux. Now, you can use either Linux or Windows as the OS for your Azure Sphere development.

Keep in mind that Azure Sphere still runs the custom Azure Sphere OS; which is a custom version of Linux that Microsoft has developed for the platform. The same Azure Sphere OS will be running on the Azure Sphere device regardless of which OS is running on the development machine. This means that developers running either Windows or Linux on their development PC will be able to build Azure Sphere solutions.

Azure Sphere Extension for Visual Studio Code

With the addition of supporting Linux for development machines when building Azure Sphere based IoT solutions, Microsoft has released the Azure Sphere Extension for Visual Studio Code. This new extension for Visual Studio Code support both Windows and Linux machines for development.

Azure Sphere Development Machine Requirements

To develop for Microsoft Azure Sphere, your development machine will now need to be running either Windows or Linux.

For a Linux development machine, your machine will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
  • Linux sudo permissions on the development machine
  • Installation of the Azure Sphere SDK
  • Installation of Visual Studio Code with the Azure Sphere Extension

For a Windows development machine, your machine will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Windows 10
  • One of the following IDEs
  • Either Visual Studio 2019 or Visual Studio Code with the Azure Sphere Extension installed
  • Installation of the Azure Sphere SDK Preview for Windows or Azure Sphere SDK Preview for Visual Studio

Keep in mind these requirements are likely to change over time, so it's best to check the official documentation for the latest specification requirements.

What About macOS?

The community has already requested macOS support for developing Azure Sphere solutions. The official feedback site lists the item of "Add Mac Support" as the status of "Under Review". We should expect that this is an indication that they are working on adding macOS support for developing Azure Sphere solutions. Hopefully, this will be something we'll see added to the tool chain for Azure Sphere since many IoT developers use macOS as their development OS.

Chris Pietschmann
Chris is a long time Microsoft MVP, the Founder of Build5Nines.com, and Principal Cloud and DevOps Solution Architect at Solliance.
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