Getting Familiar With Arduino IDE

In this article you will learn about Arduino IDE development environment.

                                       Figure: Arduino

It is the Arduino IDE what you use to write code for Arduino and Arduino compatible boards. In the previous article we have downloaded Arduino software and done the setup for MediaTek LinkIt one board which is an Arduino compatible board. Before running our first sketch, let’s get familiar to the development environment ‘Arduino IDE’.

Arduino IDE is a development environment which is a program where you write code, upload it to board and check for errors. If you open the Arduino IDE in Windows OS it will look familiar to this.

Arduino IDE in Windows OS
               Figure: Arduino IDE in Windows OS

As you can see here, when you open the IDE it already contains two blank functions which are the default functions, about these we will learn in the next part. The Arduino IDE looks simple, let’s get a brief overview about it.

The IDE is split into the following four parts:

  1. File menu at top
  2. Toolbar below this,
  3. Code window
  4. Message window

The buttons at toolbar provides easy access to most commonly used functions like Verify, New, Upload, Open, Save, Serial Monitor.

  • Verify: This is used to check that your code is correct before uploading to board.

  • Upload: Used to upload the code to your board.

  • New: This button create a completely new sketch with two default functions in another window. It is named with current date by default which you have to save before uploading.

  • Open: Opens a sketch.

  • Save: Save the current sketch.

  • Serial Monitor: This is very useful tool for debugging the code. It opens another window that displays the serial data being sent out by board.

    Serial Monitor
                                        Figure: Serial Monitor

On the File menu, you will get the option to Create, Open, Save, and Print a sketch. There is a sketchbook option where you can put some sample sketch and take a look at them.

Adding Sketchbook to Arduino IDE

  • Open Arduino IDE.

  • Select “File" -> "Preferences”.

                            Figure: Preferences

  • View the “Sketchbook Location” field.

  • Click “Browse” and copy the Sketches into the resulting folder and rename it with something appropriate.

With the Arduino IDE version 1.6.4 and greater you can easily add 3rd party boards directly from the stock IDE by adding the URL in Preferences under File menu.

In examples you will find many sample programs that come with Arduino IDE.

In Sketch tab, you will find options to Verify, Compile, Upload Code and option to import library.

In the Tools menu you will find option to Auto Format your code and make it look nicer. Here you can select the COM port to which your board is connect, and you can choose your board from Board Manager.

The final option is the Help Menu where you can find information about the IDE and links to Arduino website and other useful pages.

Now you have learned to use the Arduino IDE and its components and buttons. Arduino IDE is pretty simple, you can easily get your hands on it by running few sketches. Now you can make the hardware work with the software.

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