Alternatives to Standard Arduino IDE: Which One To Choose?
The Arduino IDE is absolute genius and it’s the perfect tool for a beginner. But, what happens if you want more, if you want an alternative to this, a powerful development tool able to bring you advanced features in code efficiency and speed of development.
With the classical Arduino IDE an expert who wants to specialize in embedded software development can have a dead line in developing and debugging a project.
Another problem that can be solved with an advanced IDE is by writing code in other languages that the standard Arduino programming language. In theory, it’s not possible to write sketches in other language than the C like Arduino code, but if you write a compiler for the chip and define a series of built-in functions, you can transmit the compiled code via the serial port to the Arduino microcontroller. In this case, you can write your code in Python and uploaded it to the Arduino board, which is a good case for a developer with a lot of experience in a particular programming language.
Some of the tools explored in this article are just a front-end putting in the front of avr-gcc and avrdude, while other software are really peace of art with advanced features and a wide range of features.
An alternative to the classical Arduino IDE should have a great collection of libraries, it should able to serial communicate with the bootloader, multiple serial monitors, intellisense, provide multi-tab project where can be written libraries as one single project, and many other options for both novice and advanced users.
The Electron IDE is an HTML tool written in NodeJS and HTML and designed to run as an application on your computer. The IDE tools were designed in mind with the idea of mobility. Electron can be accessed from anywhere and is available with all the library attached to the tool.
Like any good IDE, the Codebender provide you built-in libraries, comprehensive documentation and the freedom to monitor the serial port and upload your sketch to Arduino directly from a browser. The tool uses the clang compiler able to provide very good descriptive warnings when you have done something wrong.
Stino is not a complete IDE, it’s just a plugin written for Sublime Text. But even it’s a simple plugin, it can offer a sophisticated text editor code, it can compile the code and upload the sketches in Arduino microcontroller. It is a plugin written in Python and can be run on several operating systems including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
Probably Eclipse is one of the most popular IDE in the world, and most probably, it would offer the most complete features to develop libraries and complex sketches for Arduino boards. The Eclipse can provide a set of features that are not available in all IDE’s such as multi-tab project where can be written libraries at the same time and as one single project. Beside a greater flexibility in coding, the Eclipse is fast, offer great shortcuts, and is clean.
Compatible with all versions of the Arduino, the Visual Studio could become your favorite IDE after installation of the Visual Micro plugin designed to support all the features of the Arduino including compiler errors, upload, board selection, or multiple pde/ino files.
Gedit [image source]
Fully compatible with Linux OS, the Gedit IDE is a highly customizable Arduino IDE that can make coding fast and fun.
Komodo Edit [image source]
MariaMole [image source]
With a lot of features such as a workspace enable to work in the same time with multiple projects and a built process configurable, the MariaMole is one of the best open-source IDE designed for professional Arduino developers. The software can be installed only on Windows OS.
With friendly configure options, the Zeus is a programmers editor with support for a wide range of programming languages and a set of features that can help you develop sketches for Arduino boards.
The Atmel Studio is already at the six versions and it’s a complete software development environment for Arduino able to provide a simulator, programmer, debugger, and also an editor.
AVR-GCC [image source]
AVR-GCC is a free software engineered to provide a series of libraries for use with GCC on Atmel AVR microcontrollers.
CodeBlocks is a fully compatible IDE for Arduino boards, with a set of features including Arduino core files and libraries, a compiler core files caches to speed up the compiling action, pre-configured AVR compiler toolchain, dedicated project wizard for Arduino development, it’s able to upload HEX to Arduino boards, and it can be integrated with Arduino API-level simulator.
ROBOTC for Arduino [image source]
With support for multiple other robot platforms such as LEGO and VEX robotics, the ROBOTC for Arduino is a complex IDE that support multitasking and has a built-in debugging window to access pin information and more.
Xcode is built for Mac OS X and is able to provide a lot of features that let you develop sketches for Arduino boards including debugging, git repository management, code snippets, self documentation, and many more features. The software is free.
ArduinoDroid – Arduino IDE
Now you can develop Arduino sketches using an Arduino device. This Android application is a complete IDE application that lets you develop, compile and upload your code to the Arduino board.
Yes, you can use the Notepad++ to develop sketches for Arduino. It cannot be used as a proper IDE with GUI and several other features, it can be used only to edit the .ino file after that you have to use the NPPexec script to run the Arduino IDE and load the sketch.