Thursday, January 1, 2015

Using the Android Hyper-V Preview with Visual Studio 2013

   Happy New Year to you all! While I am anxiously waiting to know if I will be renewed today as an Microsoft MVP (btw being MVP is an awesome experience, the MVPSummit was a great experience even if I was expecting to see more new things so if you can get involved and try this experience). Still planning to do the post on BLE background agents but there are so many things to write that I have to find time to write it. Hopefully this will happen soon.
    So this small post is all about running the Android Hyper-V Preview Emulator that comes with the Visual Studio 2015 Preview as a stand-alone emulator and use it with your production machine running Visual Studio 2013 and the Xamarin tools. Even if the emulator is still in preview if you are doing Android and Windows Phone development on the same machine you won't have to reboot your machine without Hyper-V support in order to have a decent Android emulator. Strangely Microsoft decided for this preview that the emulator can install only if you have the preview of Visual Studio 2015. In theory you could run the preview along with Visual Studio 2013 but things are not always perfect so many of you will keep two different instances for VS 2013 and the Preview. In oreder to get the emulator work you will still have to install the preview of Visual Studio 2015 on some virtual machine or secondary machine and copy the needed files.
    The method is pretty simple. All you will need to do is to copy the folder "Microsoft Visual Studio Emulator for Android" that is located inside Program Files (x86) [ %PROGRAMFILES(X86)%] folder to the machine you want to run the emulator on. At this point you have everything you need. Copy the folder at the same location on the other machine. We still need to take two steps before launching the emulator for the first time. Inside the folder that you've just copied there are two files vsemu.vhd and sdcard.vhd that will be used to "generate" the two virtual machines (phone and tablet). Here are the two steps that you have to take:
  1.  Make sure that adb.exe is in your Path as it will be used by XDE.exe
  2. Create a new folder called Android inside the folder "%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\XDE" and copy the two vhd each of them two times with the following names:
     vsemu.vhd copied as: and
     sdcard.vhd copied as and

     Now we are ready to start the emulator. You won't be able to start the emulator from Visual Studio 2013 the way VS 2015 Preview does but you can start it manually and once you've started it and the adb automatically connects to the emulator you will see it in Visual Studio as a deployable device. Let's not mention that you can actually use the accelerometer, the location, battery simulation and the screenshot (awesome).

     Here are the two commands that you need to run (make a batch on your desktop):

Phone Android Emulator:
"%PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\Microsoft Visual Studio Emulator for Android\1.0\XDE.exe" /name "VS Emulator Android - Phone" /vhd %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\XDE\Android\ /video "720x1280" /memsize 1024 /telemetrySession "14.0;eyJBcHBJZCI6MTAwMSwiRGVmYXVsdENvbnRleHRJZCI6ImJkNmMxNjk2LTQ5ZjUtNDI4My1iZTk2LWUzNGNjZWYwZTA4YSIsIkhvc3ROYW1lIjoiRGV2MTQiLCJJZCI6ImIyOWZlODMwLThhOWMtNDE1Yy04MWExLWFlNTFkNzFiYTUwNSIsIklzT3B0ZWRJbiI6dHJ1ZSwiUHJvY2Vzc1N0YXJ0VGltZSI6NjM1NTU2MTAxODUyMjI0MzA1fQ=="

Tablet Android Emulator:
"%PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\Microsoft Visual Studio Emulator for Android\1.0\XDE.exe" /name "VS Emulator Android - Tablet" /vhd %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\XDE\Android\ /video "1080x1920" /memsize 2048 /telemetrySession "14.0;eyJBcHBJZCI6MTAwMSwiRGVmYXVsdENvbnRleHRJZCI6ImJkNmMxNjk2LTQ5ZjUtNDI4My1iZTk2LWUzNGNjZWYwZTA4YSIsIkhvc3ROYW1lIjoiRGV2MTQiLCJJZCI6ImIyOWZlODMwLThhOWMtNDE1Yy04MWExLWFlNTFkNzFiYTUwNSIsIklzT3B0ZWRJbiI6dHJ1ZSwiUHJvY2Vzc1N0YXJ0VGltZSI6NjM1NTU2MTAxODUyMjI0MzA1fQ==" /noStart

You won't probably need the /telemetrySession but this way you could give back some feedback (I guess). Also the first time you run the emulator it will ask permission to configure the Internet on the device and of course you will have to accept.

Also while digging to make this work I found out that the source code of the Android Preview Emulator is published here: . In the same place there is also the source code for the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. It looks like it is running on Linux kernel with a pretty decent CPU and we might get some new features other than a simple Miracast adapter.

Until my next blog post: NAMASTE and again HAVE A GREAT NEW YEAR!

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