You probably know how much we love the Raspberry Pi here at . Over the years, we have shown you how to use it in smart home projects. as a video game emulator and even as the heart of the film studio «»

But the device is not perfect. While using the NOOBS installer is easy enough to install one or more operating systems (Raspbian in particular), your first boot can be tricky, usually requiring a mouse, keyboard, and monitor to set it up.

  Linux PiBakery Drag

What if you could set up Raspbian before you downloaded the Raspberry Pi? Wouldn’t it be great to set up a wireless network beforehand, or tweak some other settings to get the Pi and its preferred OS working right out of the box?

Proof of pudding in food

The solution is PiBakery, an excellent block-based configuration tool for Windows and Mac computers (a Linux version is in development) by 17-year-old David Ferguson, whose explanation of why he created this tool is one of those «Duh — why no one did it already?! » moments.

The idea for PiBakery came about when I went to a Raspberry Pi event. I needed to connect my Pi to the network, but I didn’t have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I needed a way to add a network to my Raspberry Pi that didn’t require downloading and manually connecting.

Scratch-style dragging blocks to specify a specific configuration for your Raspbian installation is particularly clever, and the software remembers your settings in your Raspbian configuration, which can then be written to an SD card. Even better:

If you’ve already made an SD card with PiBakery, you can insert that card back into your computer and continue editing blocks to add additional software, set up new wireless networks, and change other settings.

The significance of this for Pi users old and new should not be underestimated.

Start with PiBakery

You can find PiBakery at — go there now to download the correct version for your computer and install it. It’s about 1 GB, so it might take a while, but be aware that he has a full copy of Raspbian Jessie complete with it.

Windows users will find that the SmartScreen service initially blocks the installation, so click » More»> «All equals run» . (This works for Windows 8 and Windows 10, but on Windows 7 just click » Yes» .) By the way, if Windows SmartScreen is not available, as it was for us, select the » Run» .

  Linux PiBakery SmartScreen Windows 8 10

In a few minutes, you should have a copy of PiBakery on your computer. Spend a few minutes looking at the interface; You will see a menu at the bottom left that contains commands. They can be dragged to the workspace and instructions can be added. You will also notice the import, export and write tools on top. We will look at them later.

Now it’s time to customize Raspbian the way you want it!

Raspberry Pi network preconfiguration

A common problem with the Raspberry Pi is connecting to a new wireless network without a keyboard and mouse. Even using SSH, you need to first connect the device to an ethernet cable.

With PiBakery, you can easily get around this problem by first setting up your wireless network connection. To get started, open startup and drag OnFirst Boot to the right panel. Add to this Network > Wi-Fi Setup .

  linux pibakery wifi

To set this up you need to click in the box Net: and add a name for the wireless connection. A password will also be required; add this to the box Pass: . You can also change type of network authentication.

At this stage, it is also worth changing the password. Consider the example above. But the utility designer. If you are public with your Pi, want to connect to the network, and have not changed the default password, then this is obviously a security risk, so open » Settings» and drag «Set user password» in: block the work area by adding a new password.

When you’re done, open Other and add Reboot to the program. Once saved, these instructions will be added to the bootstrap. However, before you do so, click » Export», to keep them safe. You can use the instructions in the future with the command import . This configuration file, saved in XML format, can be used on any computer, so you can share it with your friends and collaborators!

Advanced Raspberry Pi configuration with PiBakery

However, it’s not just preconfigured passwords and network connections. PiBakery also allows you to install software. For example, you can use the option Programs > Install Package: to do so by providing the package name for the application you would like to use on your Pi.

  Linux PiBakery Programs

Some predefined options are also available here. The Install Apache / PHP / MySQL block configures the installation of tools to, for example, turn your Pi into a LAMP server. You may find it more convenient if the computer is pre-configured as a VNC server. . Please note that these options are programs require network connection settings!

In the meantime, use the category others, to drag blocks into place if you want to run Python commands or scripts. They are best placed under the On Every Boot block.

  Linux PiBakery Pi zero mode OTG

And finally, if you are using a Pi Zero take a look at the Pi Zero OTG options which allow you to specify how the USB connector will be used. It can be used for data storage, MIDI and can even be disabled. It really is all up to you.

Don’t forget to save with the Export command before continuing!

Burn your baked pi to an SD card

Now that you’ve finished dragging blocks, it’s time to create a Raspbian disk image. All you have to do is insert a blank microSD card (or SD card if you have an early Raspberry Pi) and click » Write» . You will be prompted to select an SD card from a drop-down menu. Once this is done, click Start Write and Raspbian will be written to the card along with the configuration you created.

  Linux PiBakery Write to SD card

When done, safely remove the SD card, return it to your Raspberry Pi, and boot up. Raspbian should boot, complete with the configuration you provided on the spot!

Change your PiBakery configuration

Perhaps the coolest thing about PiBakery is the ability to edit a configuration even after it has been used on your Raspberry Pi. To do this, clear all blocks in the PiBakery workspace, then insert the SD card. A new button will appear in the menu bar, Refresh . Click this button to open the configuration currently saved on the SD card.

Note that if the Pi has been booted up, nothing configured as «On First Boot» will be present. These changes have already been instructed and applied, so they cannot be edited.

Now you will be able to edit the configuration. Don’t forget to save with the Export tool if you want to save the configuration for future Raspbian installations.

Get into the kitchen!

PiBakery is undoubtedly the most important Raspberry Pi tool as the NOOBS installer and make the job of preconfiguring Raspbian absolutely effortless. No more problems with wireless networks! The compact LAMP box is ready and waiting for you when you first boot — the benefits are endless. The developer is also busy adding new features, single-handedly revolutionizing how Pi users set up and use their computers.

Have you tried PiBakery? Would you like to see this extended to other Pi-friendly operating systems? Write to us in the comments.

Image Credits: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

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