Development Environment

Experience unparalleled flexibility and productivity through local development, a reality realized by embracing the the “open, unless” approach.

In the context of automation initiatives for the Dutch government, the development environment is often overlooked. Nevertheless, it plays a pivotal role in the success of any project, particularly those utilizing Ansible. The adoption of a local development environment, equipped with native virtualization capabilities, offers numerous benefits in contrast to relying on data center-based infrastructure, where VMs are created and managed by external teams.

  1. Enhanced Iteration Speed: A local development environment empowers engineers to iterate and test their solutions rapidly. This autonomy eliminates the need to rely on the infrastructure team for VM provisioning and de-provisioning, significantly boosting development efficiency.
  2. Isolation and Security: Leveraging local virtualization technologies such as LXD and VirtualBox ensures a secure and isolated environment for Ansible development. This isolation minimizes conflicts with other software components and maintains control over the testing environment.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: A local development environment proves cost-effective as it negates the necessity for provisioning additional VMs and incurring extra expenses. This approach optimizes resource utilization and budget allocation.
  4. Flexibility: Engineers gain the freedom to configure and set up their own VMs based on specific project requirements. This flexibility enables comprehensive testing of various configurations and scenarios, facilitating robust development.
  5. Learning Opportunities: Setting up and managing a local development environment and VMs offer engineers valuable learning experiences. This hands-on practice in virtualization and infrastructure management enhances their expertise, making them more proficient Ansible engineers.

Incorporating a local development environment into Dutch government automation projects ensures engineers can work productively, start promptly, and remain independent of data center access and administrative hurdles. This approach fosters agility, cost savings, and a deeper understanding of infrastructure management, ultimately contributing to the success of Ansible automation initiatives.

High-end Developer Laptop

An advanced developer laptop running Ubuntu 22.04 serves as the foundation for the local development environment. Its capabilities empower engineers to tackle demanding tasks efficiently.


Vagrant provides a user-friendly platform for creating and managing simple local development environments, streamlining the setup process.


Lightweight and agile, LXD offers swift virtualization of VMs, combining the benefits of traditional VMs with the agility of Docker containers.


In cases where LXD is not feasible, VirtualBox offers a reliable alternative. It provides pre-configured VM images, including options for Microsoft Windows targets, ensuring compatibility across diverse environments.

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code offers a rich set of features, including syntax highlighting, linting, debugging, Git integration, and an extensive range of extensions. These capabilities simplify tasks such as playbook creation and inventory management.