Minibloq Arduino IDE is in Beta and in need of testers

minibloq_beta

If you have been chomping at the bit to give drag and drop Arduino programming a try, Minibloq is finally in Beta and ready for you to test!

We mentioned the application back in April of this year, when [Julián da Silva] was still in the early stages of developing the software. His graphical programming environment is meant to put the power of the Arduino and its derivatives into the hands of children in an easy fashion, with a gentle learning curve.

A lot has transpired since we first wrote about Minibloq, including a very successful Kickstarter campaign, along with many hours of programming and testing. The current Beta release includes a ton of features and programming “blocks” beyond what we saw earlier this year, so be sure to check out the video below for a quick tour of what’s new.

[Julián] says that the application’s source code will be released after they add a few key features, so keep an eye out for that if you’re interested in taking a peek under the hood.

Comments

  1. THeOReos says:

    a pity…they should have made a drag and drop layout-programm editor vor all the dip atmegas out there. but maybe a good idea to get the youngsters ready for realizing their ideas!

  2. Per Jensen says:

    And no Mac OS version?! Arduino was born on a Mac, so this is not too smart…

    • Tom says:

      yeah… well it’s all about market share dude… put the tool in as many hands as you can. arduino is not closed platform, its broadly adopted and open. so it makes sense to start there and get as many people using it as possible out of the gate. I believe they made the right choice.

    • ScottInNH says:

      Developers don’t want to be locked into an OS for development… that’s part of the attraction to Arduino (and Atmel chips in general).

      Converting a Microsoft codebase to Mac and Linux is -not- easy once the code is written. On the other hand, if you start out with crossplatform in mind (and using a capable cross-platform toolkit like Qt) then supporting additional platforms is much more possible.

      No Mac and Linux version is reason enough for me to not even download and try it. :/ I work on multiple platforms, and can’t be chained to one computer.

      • Well, I can say that Minibloq WAS created with cross-plaform in mind:

        1. We use GCC as the compiler.
        2. We don’t use QT due to their licencing scheme. Instead, we use wxWidgets, which is as cross as QT and really open source.
        3. Even the IDE is open source (we used a portable version of the open source IDE CodeBlocks).

        But the problem is that if we had waited to finish all the versions before releasing, Minibloq would not be available today. And at least, it’s now online for Windows, and for Linux with Wine (and some issues, but works).

        I made my best to have a Mac version, but the time was not enough, and I don’t even have a Mac either -too expensive for me-, so some friends were helping with this. But please take into account that we selected carefully every library to port Minibloq in the middle future to as much platforms as we can. It’s not a VC app, nor .Net, is a GCC+wxWidgets app, fast, native and potentially (very) cross-platform.

        Thanks!
        Julián

      • ScottInNH says:

        Thanks Julián for your clarifications. Good to hear that it is not a Windows-only product forever.

        One thing though – It used to be true you needed a commercial Qt license in order to distribute Qt. However for some time now Qt is licensed as LGBL, which is the same license as wxWidgets.

      • Hi Scott, well there are 2 main license reasons to use wxWidgets instead of QT:

        1. When I started to work on Minibloq (long time ago), the wxWidgets license waw really better than the QT, specially whem the application runs in Windows (if I remember well, QT had different licenses for Linux, Mac and Windows).

        2. wxWidgets is not LGPL. In fact, I really like GPL and LGPL but in some projects I have to avoid software based on them, because their uncompatibility with other (also open) licenses we use. The wxWidgets license is a modified GPL, and the modification makes it more similar (in some ways) to a MIT license than to the GPL itself.

        Said that, I have to say that right now, I can program quiet confortable in wxWidtets, while I don’t know much about QT, and you know, you can’t change the horse in the middle of the trip :). But I like QT too!

        Cheers!
        Julián

      • ScottInNH says:

        Thanks again Julián. You’re doing a great job here, patiently answering all our many questions. I look forward to trying out your application.
        Cheers,
        Scott

      • Thanks to you Scott!

    • Eirinn says:

      If you want the broadest support possible it’s not smart chosing a mac in the first place.

      I’m not bashing, it’s just the truth (market share).

  3. Badwolf says:

    @ Per Jensen

    When you’re developping a software especially while in beta,you don’t care about multiplatform. The main objective is to get things working,and since the program language is designed with cross-platform in mind,it will be after the official release.

    • Me says:

      Yes you do. Otherwise you get to rip it all up, develop a bunch of parts over again AND you still end up with a bunch of hacks and spaghetti code that slow you down every time you try to change anything for later versions.

      Maybe you don’t actually take it to the point of working in every platform.. but if you are smart when initially developing something you ARE thinking about what platforms you might want to one day support, future features, etc.. and writing in a way to be as accomidating as possible to this without actually doing it all at once. Otherwise.. you are shooting yourself in the foot.

  4. Mac Version will arrive sooner or later. We are on it. But we did not had time yet and most people using it now (backers, alpha testers, and some schools in our country) have Windows, and some of them use Linux. We are making our best to have it running in all possible platforms. Some friends are helping trying to run it on a Mac.
    Thanks!
    Julián

  5. Charlie says:

    2 hours to download? They shoulda done a torrent..

  6. Julián da Silva:
    I think the website will die under hackaday stress. My download says it will take 6 hours to complete on my 20 Mbps internet connection.

    These minibloq downloads *REALLY* need a .torrent file for them so we can all donate download bandwidth instead of just leeching it from the author’s resources. I plan to create a .torrent file for http://multiplo.com.ar/soft/Mbq/Minibloq.v0.8.Beta.zip
    when my download completes. This file is the English “PortableApps” version that works in Linux Wine.

    Other file versions need .torrent files too…

    Julián da Silva, do you approve of using .torrent files so that we can share the cost of your upload bandwidth for the “torrent” of hackaday traffic that is all directed at your webhost?

    If so, please post .torrent files here. The latest utorrent will create them by dropping the .zip file on a “Drag’N’Drop” window.

    P.S. You can test multiple platforms with an emulator such as VirtualBox, QEMU, or VMWare. VirtualBox can give the emulated system direct access to USB devices. ;-)

  7. Billy Bob says:

    5KB/sec……………..

  8. Thanks! Of course I approve the use of torrent. I will try to make what you are suggesting in about an hour.
    Of someone else can download the files and put the torrent to work, will be very welcome!
    Thanks again guys!
    Julián

  9. Charlie, you beat me. You posted the core of my content while I was typing it. ;-)

    You have 2 hrs left? I still have about 5 hrs ETA. His poor website must be suffering an unintentional DDoS triggered by the HaD posting…

    If somebody (Julian?) posts the .torrents, I will stop my direct download and switch to the .torrent distributed download. I plan to start the torrent to create empty files, then stop it, copy my partial direct download onto the freshly created empty torrent download and “force recheck” before resuming the torrent download. Then I will abort the direct download.

    I am anxiously waiting for a .torrent to be posted here (which should also be on the minibloq download page before it goes down due to bandwidth overconsumption)…

  10. Sqelch says:

    Wow no Mac. So sad cause that is the platform most dev on/for, not. No just the most entitled users there, realy would love it if “macs” would get over themselves. Get a real os.

  11. Julián, when you post the .torrent files here and on your website, you might want to add a comment to the minibloq download page asking people to use the .torrent files instead if possible. If neccessary, you may need to temporarily take down the direct download links if you website starts to stumble under the load…

  12. Hi, I’m back, and will start right now to work on the torrent (and will add both a comment here and once more in the website). Here is already a mirror for the Spanish versions (both zip and exe) here:

    http://www.mexchip.com/2011/10/minibloq-beta-disponible-para-descargar/

    But those Spanish versions ALSO INCLUDE THE ENGLISH EXE as well (a multilanguaje version will arrive in the middle future). So if you can download Minibloq from the mirror, after uncompress it, you can change the version doing the following:

    1. Go to the ESP\Components\Minibloq\v1.0 subdir. There you will see a “Minibloq.exe” file. Rename or delete it.

    2. Change the name “Minibloq.ENG.exe” by “Minibloq.exe”

    3. Go back and execute MinibloqRun.exe.

    It should work, and by now may be a temporal solution until I set up the torrents.

    Thanks!
    Julián

    Thanks!
    Julián

  13. marsrover says:

    So this could let me (with not much programing expereince and has no clue on how to actualy write code) to program an adruno?
    It seems like the old program for the lego RCX 2.0 bricks, where everything was drag and drop. No programing needed.

  14. My download still had HOURS remaining from the original links. The mirrors for the spanish versions are MUCH faster. After just a few minutes the download was complete (at 455KB/Sec).

    Julián posted a comment elsewhere saying that the Spanish versions can be converted to English by renaming or deleting ESP\Components\Minibloq\v1.0\Minibloq.exe, and renaming Minibloq.ENG.exe to Minibloq.exe.

    Spanish mirrored Linux Wine-compatible “Portable” version:
    http://www.mexchip.com/descargas/Minibloq.v0.8.Beta.ESP.zip

    Spanish mirrored Windows Installer version:
    http://www.mexchip.com/descargas/Minibloq.v0.8.Beta.ESP.exe

    Remember to cancel your direct downloads from the minibloq website.

  15. Julián, you beat me! You posted the same info as I was typing it. ;-)

  16. Thanks Rob! I’m still working with the torrents also. I updated the downloads page with the mirrors too. Sorry for this low bandwidth problem!

  17. Delmar says:

    I’ll be more than happy to be part of the testing process. Working on downloading now.

  18. Chet says:

    http://www.fileserve.com/file/UW4w4Uy

    Fileserve link to the Spanish installer linked above

  19. Carlos says:
  20. Thanks a lot Carlos!

    • Carlos says:

      It’s a shame that it’s going to take a while before burnbit has completed the download itself to generate the torrent file, but once it’s done it will be the faster way to deliver the file.

      Julian, in the future before you publish updates make sure you generate .torrent files so your server wont be punished like this. Burnbit is interesting in this use as your server will be used as a webseed and requires little knowledge to setup.

  21. smoketester says:

    Have it downloaded and installed. This looks so Cool! Just what I’ve been waiting for. Tried Modkit for the same purposes but this looks so much better. Look forward to testing and tinkering. Thanks Julian.

  22. CassLan says:

    This looks just like 12Blocks: http://12blocks.com/

    12Blocks was written for the Propeller

  23. adam says:

    I downloaded it yesterday and had a simple robot running in a few minutes.

    One of my engineering professors has a son that wants to build a robot for a high school project and I just showed her minibloq today and I’m going to show it to the department head after I play around with it a little more

  24. Delmar says:

    I like it that it shows you the code it is generating at the side. That is a good learning tool. I was making complete demos in minutes. I love it. Great job.

  25. TD-er says:

    Julián da Silva, I can provide you some web-space for mirroring the downloads (for free), to make it easier to distribute the files for this project.
    You can contact me at gijs at fmf nl

  26. Munch says:

    Wow. Am I the only one who had flash-backs of the AmigaVision scripting environment when viewing the video? :)

  27. pRoFlT says:

    yah seems like graphical programming is popping up everywhere now.

    First thing i thought was this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ADwPLSFeY8&feature=player_embedded#! googles app inventor for android.

    found this one: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/modkit/modkit-electronics-arduino-for-everyone and this one http://12blocks.com/ dont forget the one that started it all http://www.ni.com/labview/whatis/ 1.0 was on a MAC.

    anyways, cool to see new graphical programming languages comming out.

  28. KillerBug says:

    Finally got it down.

    Unfortunately, it does not seem to support the two best Arduino-IDE-compatible boards I have…the Teensy 2.0 and 2.0++. I do like the ATtiny support.

    • Hi KillerBug! In a few versions, when I finish the multi-board backend subsystem, users will be able to add boards, even custom ones. This will still take some time, but the system I’m writing will be very flexible (I hope) if everything goes well.
      Thanks!
      Julián

  29. lurker says:

    Sweet! Saw this project mentioned months ago somewhere, still in development. Been waiting for it to come out…

    I consider myself semi-adept at designing the hardware for a project, but the software always got me. With this, even though it can be considered baby-steps and childish, the intimidation factor is essentially irrelevant. Anyone can literally piece together a program from a library visually, then modify the code to suit their needs from there.

    I thank you on behalf of those of us who can’t seem to learn a foreign language – You just opened up a new world of projects for those at rock-bottom on the learning curve.

  30. Graybeard says:

    It’s good to see another drop and drag programming system. There’s one that hasn’t seen much play – the Amici project that focuses on soft circuits and the Lilypad. It’s designed kids of middle school age. (http://dimeb.informatik.uni-bremen.de/eduwear)
    Also, let’s get kids engaged in programming. How about teaching your kids Scratch from MIT or Alice from Carnegie Mellon.

  31. Mirror Man says:

    My download just finished- here is a filedropper link to it.

    upload files online

    just in case that didnt work its here
    http://www.filedropper.com/minibloqv08beta

  32. Martin says:

    hi, Julian,

    great work, dont bother about downloadspeed. People who wants it, accept it.
    Your work gives a quantum leap to non-arithmetic constructers, as to people with structural intelligence. With Minibloq I feel happy like a kid:-)Im a 55old civ Ingeneer.
    Go on and make some donation to you possible.

  33. Hi Martin! many thanks for your kindly comments!
    I’m glad you like Minibloq. Regarding the bandwidth, people from different places helped with it, both creating torrents and mirrors in the last 2 days. I’m very happy with that too.

    And I’m already working on the next version.

    Cheers!
    Julián

    • Khonsu says:

      it would be really awesome if this could program the touchshield slide….like really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really awesome…thats all i have to say.

      p.s its still a really awesome program

  34. Khonsu says:

    it would be really awesome if this could program the touchshield slide….like really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really awesome…thats all i have to say.

    p.s its still a really awesome program

  35. Hi Khonsu, thanks!
    I think it’s possible to add blocks to program that shield. The current version is already extensible, but the blocks subsystem is still under development, so the next versions will be easier to be extended, thus adding blocks to program more hardware. You can take a look at the new Minibloq forum (http://minibloq.net/forum). There is a post by a friend from Australia, Andrew, explanied how to add custom blocks (this is preliminary documentation anyway).
    Cheers!
    Julian

    • Khonsu says:

      the thing about the touchshield tho is that it has its own built in micro controller. and in order to program it you send code through the arduino but not directly onto the arduino its self. for example when programing it on the regular ide i use a different board…so my question is can i add new boards to the program as well as blocks

  36. Hi, in the current version, the multihardware subsystem has a lot of things still hardcoded (but some of the stuff is already loaded at runtime). This is a work in progress right now, and adding new hardware by the user will be possible, and I hope well documented too. I want Minibloq to become very flexible regarding hardware once finished.

  37. Hi! As part of the new preliminary documentation, we have added a page with complete examples, most of which include Frizting diagrams, videos and Minibloq code (mbqc files). These examples start from the very simple ones (like the well known “blink”, to get started fast) adding complexity progressively. You can see it here:

    http://blog.minibloq.org/p/tutorials-and-examples.html

    I want also to post soon about user projects.

    Thanks!
    Julián

  38. Frances says:

    good day.. I have a problem with my minibloq…I am using a netbook and when I want to add a value it wouldn’t display..i mean when I click the button for additional value it wouldn’t display (it blinks)…what will I do to make it run properly?

  39. The new miniBloq.v0.82 has been released yesterday. It features a new powerful XML backend that allows any user to add new hardware or blocks just editing a few XML files: http://blog.minibloq.org/2014/05/minibloqv082-released.html
    Enjoy!
    Julián

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 91,338 other followers