I am considering using a Raspberry Pi in a simple project. It should run some small Java (preferably) or Python console application, in its essence a very simple server. I know this will not be a problem for it and what I have to do is just install a Linux distro and add a Java package (which seems a little fiddly but much easier with Java 8).
What I would like to know is could this be done on an image of an SD card using some virtual machine on a Windows PC? Basically I want to set up the OS, install packages and set up my program to run on boot (and probably enable SSH), and only then write that virtual image to an SD card and insert it into the Pi to use it. What programs would I need to accomplish this, and are there some tutorials? Also I will probably use this same image on 2 or 3 Raspberry Pis later.