VirtualBox SDK Setup
By Fraser Sherman
VirtualBox is a program for creating a virtual machine. Once you set up VirtualBox on your computer, you can use it to run a completely different operating system -- for example, running Windows on a Mac or Apple on a Linux computer. With VirtualBox, you can run more than one OS simultaneously, or work on an outmoded OS such as DOS that isn't supported by current hardware.
When you download VirtualBox, you also download a Software Developers Kit (SDK) for writing code that interacts with the virtual machine. SDK contains platform-independent text files and documentation that work regardless of which platform you run your VirtualBox on. If you need a platform-specific package, you will have to order that separately. SDK works with VirtualBox's Application Programming Interface (API), which enables you to configure, start and stop VirtualBox and retrieve performance statistics about how well it runs the software you develop.
The first step to setting up SDK is to install the virtual machine components -- they're open-source and free to download -- and start up VirtualBox. To start the program on Windows, go into the Programs menu and click on "Start" in the VirtualBox menu item. On a Mac, open the Applications folder and double-click on "VirtualBox." On Linux, you find VirtualBox in either the System or System Tools group of the Applications menu.
There are two ways to set up the SDK to interact with the API. VirtualBox ships with a Component Object Model (COM), a mechanism that will enable you to use the API if you're proficient in a language such as Java, Visual Basic or C++ that works with COM. The alternative is to order the VirtualBox Web service that maps the entire API. You can use the service with any programming language that incorporates Web Service Definition Language, such as Java, C++, Python, PHP and Perl.
The exact steps for setting up the SDK will depend on whether you're working through the COM or the Web service approach, and which language you're working with. If you want to use the Web service with Python, for example, you will have to install Python's ZSI SOAP implementation on your machine before you can run any of the sample developer code in the SDK. If you use Python with the COM, on the other hand, it runs better without SOAP. Oracle provides details on different installation options.
A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.