Project 103 Best Arduino IDE alternatives to start programming

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Project name: Best Arduino IDE alternatives to start programming

Tags: Arduino IDE, Arduino IDE alternatives

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General

The Arduino IDE is a great development tool for those just getting started with Arduino. However, if you’re an intermediate prototyper or have a strong programming background, you’ll find it to be pretty basic.

The development features are pretty limited, and you have to write your programs in Arduino’s version of C/C++. The IDE supports sketches in the (.ino) format, which can be limited if you want to create your own set of C/C++ programs.

In this article, we are going to share with you the information about the best alternatives of Arduino IDE.

1. PlatformIO IDE

platformio logo Arduino IDE

PlatformIO is one the most known Arduino IDE alternative. It is an integrated development environment for IoT. It supports not only Arduino boards but many other boards such as Raspberry, ESP32, ESP8266 and many others. The IDE supports all the features you would expect like code completion and so on. It is not only an IDE but it has a CLI (Command Line Interface) support too. Moreover, PlatformIO supports multi-projects, themes, library management. The interface is very attractive and easy to use and it is very different from the standard Arduino IDE. It is open source and you can download the source code from Github. It requires Python and runs on several OS. This Arduino IDE has two different versions: one built on top of Atom and another one as Visual Studio code plugin. 

Arduino with Atom.io Platformio

PlatformIO is independent of the platform, in which it is running. In fact, the only requirement is Python, which exists pretty much everywhere. What this means is that PlatformIO projects can be easily moved from one computer to another, as well as that PlatformIO allows for the easy sharing of projects between team members, regardless of operating system they prefer to work with. Beyond that, PlatformIO can be run not only on commonly used desktops/laptops but also on the servers without X Window System. While PlatformIO itself is a console application, it can be used in combination with one’s favorite Cloud & Desktop IDE or text editor such as PlatformIO IDE for Atom, CLion, Eclipse, Emacs, NetBeans, Qt Creator, Sublime Text, VIM, Visual Studio, VSCode, etc. You can find more information here.

2. Visual Studio Code + Visual Micro

VSCode IDE

Visual Studio Code is a very interesting tool made by Microsoft. It is completly free and there are several versions for Linux, Windows and OSX. It offers a set of high level code features very useful and easy to use. The interesting part is that VSCode has a marketplace where it is possible to download new extentions that add new features to this IDE Alterenative. One of these extensions is PlatformIO that can be downloaded directly into the VSCode. You will have all the features of PlatformIO described above in a completly new IDE. You can find more information and download the program here.

Visual Micro is a plugin for Microsoft Visual StudioVisual Micro helps you create Arduino compatible cross-platform programs for hundreds of different Arduino compatible micro-controllers. Visual Micro supports projects that contain one or more .ino code files and standard c++ cource code files, just like the Arduino IDE.

The full Visual Studio IDE is available for free for full time students, open source and independant developers. Visual Micro also offers a number of additional features over the Arduino IDE such as:- multiple serial monitors, simple pre-configured hardware (GDB) debuggers, a unique alternative full speed software debugger, various programmers, local libraries, shared libraries, shared code projects +++.

When writing code with Visual Micro, if you adhere to the Arduino.cc rules, then the code you create will remain Arduino IDE compatible. Use the Arduino compatible library and board managers to discover and download hundreds of Arduino compatible boards and thousands of libraries. Visual Micro can be installed (or uninstalled) from within the Visual Studio IDE using the “Extension Manager” or from the Microsoft Gallery. Full control over tool bar visibility (auto/manual) enables uncluttered or easy access modes. You can read more about it here. All you need to do is install the Arduino Add-On for Visual Studio Code.

3. Zeus IDE

Zeus Icon

Zeus is an IDE designed for the Windows platform and comes pre-configured for several popular languages like C#, Go, Lua, Rust and Python just to name a few. Being highly configurable, with minimal effort it can be made to work with almost any programming tool or programming language.

First slide

Zeus offers super fast start-up and file loading, is fully scriptable and comes with many features specifically designed for the task of programming, making it the perfect tool to help improve productivity when writing code.

Features

  • Syntax highlighting for C#, C/C++, Cobol, Fortran, Go, Lua, Java, Perl, Python, Rust, SQL etc
  • Integrated class browser, code completion, code folding and code navigation
  • Complier and build your code without leaving the editor
  • Fully scriptable in multiple scripting languages including Lua, Python or Java Script
  • Seamless FTP file editing includes support for SSH, SSL/TLS secure FTP protocol
  • Brief, WordStar, Epsilon and Emacs keyboard emulation
  • Seamless Git integration allows Git commands to be run from within the IDE
    All this and much more…

You can find more information and download the program here.

4. Atmel Studio

Microchip logo

This is a professional platform.  Studio 7 is the integrated development platform (IDP) for developing and debugging all AVR® and SAM microcontroller applications. The Atmel Studio 7 IDP gives you a seamless and easy-to-use environment to write, build and debug your applications written in C/C++ or assembly code. It also connects seamlessly to the debuggers, programmers and development kits that Support for 500+ AVR and SAM devices.

Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „atmel studio“"

Additionally, Studio includes Atmel Gallery, an online app store that allows you to extend your development environment with plug-ins developed by Microchip as well as third-party tool and embedded software vendors. Studio 7 can also seamlessly import your Arduino sketches as C++ projects, providing a simple transition path from Makerspace to Marketplace.

You can find more information and download the program here.

5. ArduinoDroid

The app takes about 210 Mb as it contains IDE, compiler and uploader. Make sure you have enough free space in internal storage and it can’t be installed on sd card because of Android security policy. It runs on Android devices and using it you can program your Arduino. This is the first IDE that runs on Android OS. It is worth mentioning because it helps you to write code using an Android device. It supports several Arduino boards.

You can find more information and download the program here.

6. Codebender

Codebender Logo

Codebender is a cloud Arduino IDE. It works online and you do not need to install the application locally. It is a Web-based Arduino IDE that provides all the feature you would expect from an IDE. It uses a cloud-compiler to convert the source code and upload it in Arduino. It is an open source platform and its code is available at Github. The Arduino IDE supports code highlighting and many other features. Moreover, your Arduino code is in the cloud so you can use and access it everywhere. It supports several boards and if you do not find your board you can upload your board definition. This feature makes this platform very versatile. Moreover, it has an important feature: the capability to use Arduino code written by others on your board. This helps you to improve your knowledge.

Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „codebender“"

You can read more about it here.

7. Ktechlab

KTechlab Icon

Ktechlab is another open-source IDE that was built as a supporting platform for microcontrollers and electronics projects. The platform supports a wide range of development activities in its environment which includes supportive features missing in the Arduino IDE. This IDE is supported by the Windows and Linux ecosystems which are widely used by electronics enthusiasts.

Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „Ktechlab“"

With the Ktechlab, you can simulate circuits, manage codes, create projects, and import old projects for editing. It also allows you debug your codes as well as embedded boards. The Ktechlab is also totally free and quite easy to use which makes it another solid IDE platform you can consider using when searching for something similar to the Arduino IDE. You can easily access this IDE on Github by simply searching for it. You can read more about it here.

8. embedXcode

Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „embedXcode“"

embedXcode is a template for for XCode 5 and XCode 6, Apple’s official IDE on macOS, and eases development for the most popular embedded computing boards. The embedXcode template comes in two editions : embedXcode standard edition with core features, and embedXcode+ edition with extended functionalities. This IDE supports syntax highlighting, line numbering and so on. This IDE simplifies the Arduino sketch development using a smart environment that assists you during the development. This IDE can be used with several prototyping boards such as Arduino, ESP32, ESP8266, Adafruit and board based on Atmel and Cortex. embedXcode has different versions and licenses.

Use Xcode with Arduino

You can read more about it here.

9. Arduino Eclipse plugin: Sloeber

Sloeber is an open source IDE for Arduino programming. It is based on Eclipse. It has several interesting features:

  • Context senstive coloring
  • Multiple projects support
  • Multiple configurations
Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „sloeber“"

Moreover, Sloeber supports several prototyping boards. You can read more about it here.

10. Programino IDE for Arduino

Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „Programino IDE“"

Programino Arduino IDE is an Arduino IDE alternative with several features. This Arduino IDE can be used with Arduino/Genuino boards or compatible microcontrollers. Programino supports C/C++ language. It adds support for other languages, such as HTML, Javascript, and several others.

Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „Programino IDE“"

It is fully Arduino compatible, and the main features include:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Function explorer
  • Code competition
  • Code folding
  • Hardware viewer

This last feature is very useful because you have a view on the hardware you are using so that you do not have to remember the pin number for example. You can read more about it and download the program here.

11. Eclipse Arduino IDE

"Eclipse

This is a plugin for Eclipse IDE that helps to develop Arduino applications. You can download the plugin directly from the Eclipse Marketplace. Of course, it requires you to install the Eclipse C++ IDE. Once, this plugin is installed in Eclipse IDE, you have to select the platform or, in other words, the SDK that includes all the libraries necessary to build the application. Once the plugin is configured, you are ready to develop your Arduino sketch. The IDE is essentially the Eclipse IDE, so if you are familiar with Eclipse, you do not have problems to use it. This Arduino IDE has all the features you have in the standard Arduino IDE, such as a serial monitor to debug the Arduino sketch too.

use Eclipse with Arduino

You can read more about it here.

12. Netbeans Arduino plugin

This is another interesting plugin. This plugin works with Netbeans, so you have all the feature of Netbeans while developing an Arduino sketch. It works with Arduino Uno R3, Arduino Mega 2560 and Arduino Duemilanove. If you want to try it, you can download the plugin.

Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „Netbeans Arduino plugin“"

You can read more about it here.

13. Emacs

An extensible, customizable, free/libre text editor. Emacs runs on several operating systems regardless of the machine type. The main ones are: GNU, GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, MacOS, MS Windows and Solaris.

The features of GNU Emacs include:

  • Content-aware editing modes, including syntax coloring, for many file types.
  • Complete built-in documentation, including a tutorial for new users.
  • Full Unicode support for nearly all human scripts.
  • Highly customizable, using Emacs Lisp code or a graphical interface.
  • An entire ecosystem of functionality beyond text editing, including a project planner, mail and news reader, debugger interface, calendar, and more.
  • A packaging system for downloading and installing extensions.

You can read more about it and download the program here.

14. Gedit

gedit-logo.png

gedit is the GNOME text editor. While aiming at simplicity and ease of use, gedit is a powerful general purpose text editor.

Features:

  • Full support for internationalized text (UTF-8)
  • Configurable syntax highlighting for various languages (C, C++, Java, HTML, XML, Python, Perl and many others)
  • Undo/Redo
  • Editing files from remote locations
  • File reverting
  • Print and print preview support
  • Clipboard support (cut/copy/paste)
  • Search and replace with support of regular expressions
  • Go to specific line
  • Auto indentation
  • Text wrapping
  • Line numbers
  • Right margin
  • Current line highlighting
  • Bracket matching
  • Backup files
  • Configurable fonts and colors
  • A complete online user manual
  • A flexible plugin system which can be used to dynamically add new advanced features
screenshot-gedit-on-windows-8.png

Windows OS and Mac OS versions available. You can read more about it here.

15. Geany

Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „geany“"

Geany is a powerful, stable and lightweight programmer’s text editor that provides tons of useful features without bogging down your workflow. It runs on Linux, Windows and MacOS is translated into over 40 languages, and has built-in support for more than 50 programming languages.

Build process

Many supported filetypes including popular programming languages like C, Java, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, Python or Perl. But Geany also includes support for other useful filetypes like ini-style config files, Diff output, SQL files and many more.

With Geany’s plugin system, users can get more features into Geany and developers can easily add new features and/or improve existing ones. You can read more about it and download the program here.

16. Brakets

Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „brackets“"

Brackets is a lightweight, yet powerful, modern text editor. With focused visual tools and preprocessor support, Brackets is a modern text editor that makes it easy to design in the browser. It’s crafted from the ground up for web designers and front-end developers. Designed for Windows OS.

Screenshot of Brackets

You can read more about it and download the program here.

17. Sublime text

Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „sublime text“"

A sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose. Sublime Text has a powerful, Python API that allows plugins to augment built-in functionality.

Sublime Text is built from custom components, providing for unmatched responsiveness. From a powerful, custom cross-platform UI toolkit, to an unmatched syntax highlighting engine, Sublime Text sets the bar for performance. Sublime Text is available for Mac, Windows and Linux. One license is all you need to use Sublime Text on every computer you own, no matter what operating system it uses.

You can read more about it and download the program here.

18. Vim

Vim is a highly configurable text editor for efficiently creating and changing any kind of text. It is included as “vi” with most UNIX systems, Windows and with Apple OS X.

Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „Vim“"

Vim is rock stable and is continuously being developed to become even better. Among its features are:

  • persistent, multi-level undo tree
  • extensive plugin system
  • support for hundreds of programming languages and file formats
  • powerful search and replace
  • integrates with many tools

You can read more about it here.

19. Atom

Atom is a hackable open source text editor.

Features:

  • Cross-platform editing. Atom works across operating systems. Use it on OS X, Windows, or Linux.
  • Built-in package manager. Search for and install new packages or create your own right from Atom.
  • Smart autocompletion. Atom helps you write code faster with a smart and flexible autocomplete.
  • File system browser. Easily browse and open a single file, a whole project, or multiple projects in one window.
  • Multiple panes. Split your Atom interface into multiple panes to compare and edit code across files.
  • Find and replace. Find, preview, and replace text as you type in a file or across all your projects.
Vaizdo rezultatas pagal užklausą „Atom“"

You can read more about it here.

20. Arduino Command Line Interface (CLI)

Last summer, there was a big uproar when Arduino announced the introduction of its Command Line Interface (CLI).

If you’re the kind of person who lives in the terminal, then you don’t need an IDE. Just use the Arduino CLI. With just the terminal and a generic text editor, you can whip up an Arduino program, compile, and upload.

One benefit to using the Arduino CLI, is that the commands have the option to output JSON for easy parsing by other programs. This makes it super user-friendly when it comes to the developer community as a whole. 

You can read more about it here and on GitHub.

Summary

This article listed several Arduino IDE alternatives you can use if you do not feel satisfied with the standard Arduino IDE. It is up to you to choose the right one that fits your needs and your way of coding.

All these platforms help you to write Arduino applications easily and fast! Happy coding!

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