Have you ever wanted to cross-compile a Qt application on your Raspberry Pi but hate bash scripts because bash scripts are literal garbage? Well now you can, with some handy Ansible playbooks that I wrote!
Simplify Complex Processes
Ansible is a tool used to automate computer configuration, usually on Linux servers. It lets an administrator run a sequence of tasks and makes sure the tasks get applied to a fleet of computers. However, it is also great for configuring just a few computers that may need some complicated configuration. If I think I might have to do a task more than once, I use Ansible instead of manually typing commands into a shell.
A good example of complicated configuration is setting up a cross-compilation toolchain on your Linux desktop so that you can build Qt apps for your Raspberry Pi. I submit to you this excellent wiki article on setting up Qt for the Raspberry Pi as an example of a complicated process. This article was indispensable to me and helped me get Qt running on my Pi2.
However, I never want to go through the manual process again, so I wrote some Ansible playbooks to help me automate it. The advantage is if I have to upgrade to a future version of Qt, say 5.9.1, I'll be able to do so easily and deploy the new version to my Pi exactly like I did version 5.9.0.
My Ansible Solution
I've posted my Ansible playbooks on Bitbucket so download them there. I assume you have a working Ansible installation, and that you're using CentOS 7 (a good Linux). The README provided on Bitbucket will give further instructions, but here's a brief overview of the three playbooks:
- 01 - Set up the Raspberry Pi with development tools that will be needed for the next playbook.
- 02 - Set up the CentOS 7 host with a cross-compilation toolchain and compile Qt 5.9 for the Raspberry Pi.
- 03 - Deploy Qt (and your own software) to the Raspberry Pi. You can run this again whenever you update Qt or build new versions of your software. A little Ansible knowledge will help.