Documentation > Programming Guide > Development with External Devices

Development with External Devices

Applications may comprise components which need to run on external devices, e.g. one that contains special hardware. As an example, an IoT application may include a component which uses a Raspberry Pi to attach sensors.

Here you don't want to have to edit files on the external device via SSH, but rather use your established editor etc. on your development machine.

A way to get there is to mount a working directory from your development machine on the external device.

We show you two ways of achieving this.

The instructions here assume that both machines run a form of Linux/*nix.

You need to be able to ssh into the external device.

For the first method, additionally your development machine has to have an SSH daemon running and port 22 open for SSH. It's cleaner than the second method, and it's possible that it can be adapted to work on Windows.

The second method works without the SSH daemon on your development machine, and does not require any open ports on there either.

Method 1

On the external device, sshfs is required, which you can install by developing

sudo apt-get install sshfs

You need to know the IP of your development machine, which is part of what is listed when you do


This can list several devices, e.g. for Docker and virtualization sulutions. Usually the address in the 192. network is the correct one.

Now, in the SSH session with the external machine, mount your working directory:

sudo sshfs -o allow_other your_dev_machine_username@ ~/remote_dir

This mounts a source directory in your home directory to the mount point you choose on your external device.

Now you can do code edits in your favorite editor on your development machine and all you need to do via the SSH connection is launch the component on the external device.

Method 2

Create a mountpoint on the Pi

mkdir -p iotcookbook

and then mount your local working copy on your Pi from your notebook:

dpipe /usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server = ssh pi@ \
    sshfs :${HOME}/iotcookbook /home/pi/iotcookbook -o slave &

The dpipe command comes as part of the vde2 package, which can be installed with sudo apt-get install -y vde2.

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