Web IDE for the Raspi

For this month’s release of Adafruit’s Raspberry Pi Linux distribution, [Limor], et al. decided to build a web-based IDE for the Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi WebIDE is a web server that runs on the Raspi. By connecting to your raspi in a web browser, you’re able to create your own Python programs that are able to interact with the GPIO pins. All the code is stored in the cloud with the help of bitbucket.

The WebIDE is in its early Alpha stage right now; there are a few bugs and minor issues, but in the video after the break, [Limor] shows us it’s possible to push code to a Raspi through the Internet and view the result in a web-based serial terminal.

For fear of editorializing, we have to point out that Adafruit’s web IDE – along with other Arduino web IDEs such as Codebender and the Wifino – work on the cloud. If you’re planning a long-term project that relies on a web-based IDE, you might be in for a world of hurt if only because you can’t host a cloud on a personal server. We’d love to see a package that allows us to have the same functionality as bitbucket on a personal server. If you can find a project that does something similar, or have written your own, send it in and we’ll spread the word.

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Regarding the development files that accompany TI’s microcontroller offerings

We received a tip from [Fabien] that Texas Instruments had posted a set of IDEs for the Stellaris Launchpad on their download page. At first we skipped right over the link, but then decided to take a look and see if things had changed any since the MSP430 Launchpad had been released. As we expected, there’s really no help on this page if you’re looking to develop for the hardware without using one of these IDEs.

Why would we want to forego the preconfigured development environments TI supplies? For one thing, they offer only trial licenses. When you go to download one of the packages you have to wade through a eyebrow-raising non-export agreement. When we made it that far, the ~500 MB Sourcery package we downloaded was quite slow. And we don’t see any option for installing any of these on a Linux machine. No matter what OS you choose, we think you should be able to develop for any architecture using the same development environment — be it Eclipse, GNU Emacs, Notepad, or whatever . We don’t want to download a huge package just to try out a new chip.

We know you can develop for Stellaris ARM chips using a vanilla cross compiler like arm-none-eabi (we use Sourcery CodeBench Lite — formerly CodeSourcery G++ lite). We hope that TI is planning on adding a barebones package that supplies a simple Makefile, Linker Script, and base libraries for the hardware. But we won’t hold our breath. After all, it is an industry standard to leave out Linux support.

Energia brings Arduino IDE to the TI Launchpad

The Arduino IDE is an abstraction layer for the AVR chip which the board is based around. So it’s no surprise that it is now possible to use the Arduino IDE with the TI Launchpad board. This makes it dead simple for beginners to play around with the inexpensive and low-power MSP430 platform. This is all thanks to a lot of hard work on part of the Energia developers.

The project branches from Arduino so the look, feel, and function are all about the same. Most notably, the color scheme has migrated to red to match the board color of the Launchpad. You can configure the hardware the same way by selecting a COM port and target board. Almost everything is already working, but you should check the known issues page so that you don’t try to use a function that hasn’t been ported. Right now the list includes the random and random seed functions, as well as tone, notone, and micros. There is also an issue with analogWrite; it will only produce half the requested frequency and duty cycle can only be set from 0-50%. Still this is a great development if you’re most comfortable working from this IDE.

Set your Arduino free with wifino

[Tod] wrote in to tell us about his latest project. It’s called wifino, and aims to set your Arduino free by offering a web-based IDE, online storage for your Arduino sketches, and even WiFi enabled hardware to upload sketches wirelessly.

The wifino was conceived with the same train of thought as the codebender IDE we saw earlier this week. Instead of only providing a web-based programming environment, the wifino works in conjunction with wifino hardware, meaning you can upload sketches over a wireless connection.

On the software side of things, the wifino IDE features code editing, compiling, and uploading right from a browser. There are plans for a github-style interface in the works, allowing for the easy sharing of Arduino sketches from makers around the world.

[Tod] is planning on getting a Kickstarter underway in the next few weeks to get the wifino boards out into the wild. We’ll be sure to keep you updated with any info or specs that come our way.

You can check out [Tod] uploading code from the Windows and iOS clients after the break.

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Codebender: An online Arduino IDE

Because everything is moving to a web app, [Vasilis Georgitzikis], a.k.a. [tzikis] developed codebender, a cloud-based Arduino IDE replete with built-in libraries, documentation, and the ability to upload your code to an Arduino from a browser.

To compile an Arduino sketch, codebender uses clang a wonderful compiler that will give you extremely descriptive warnings on terrible code. Like any good IDE, there’s built-in highlighting and documentation, and a small bit of Java allows you to upload your code and monitor the serial port right in the browser.

One of the more interesting innovations is codebender’s (upcoming) use of a TFTP bootloader. With this and an Ethernet shield, it’s easy to upload code to any Internet-connected Arduino, whether it’s on your desk or halfway across the world. We can see that being very useful for a data logger or even a UAV balloon, and can’t wait to see it in action.

Program your Arduino via IR using the Arduino IDE

Here’s a way to program an Arduino wirelessly while still using the stock IDE. It uses an alternative bootloader called SuperDuplex along with an IR receiver like the ones used for TV remotes.

As you can see, this does take two parts. There is the target device which has the IR receiver, as well as the transmitting unit which connects to the computer via USB. You can see a demonstration of the programming process after the break. It might be a bit slow, but nothing outrageous.

With hobby electronics we always thing that “what does it do?/what is it for?” is the wrong question. But in this case we there’s a very apparent use for it. If you’ve built a gadget for use in a harsh environment and want to keep the number of openings in the enclosure to a minimum (like for an underwater ROV) this is perfect. Just make sure there’s a window for the IR receiver and you’ll be able to program as much as you want. Of course it still looks like you need a method to manually reset the target chip, but you’ll think of something.

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Program a microcontroller over the Internet

If you’ve ever wanted to program a microcontroller “in the cloud,” you might want to head over to Inventor Town, an online IDE that allows you to write and compile firmware for the MSP430 series of microcontrollers.

After logging in with your Google account, you’re presented with a ‘My Projects’ page. From there, you can make as many projects as you like for the MSP430x2231 or ~x2211 microcontrollers. The online editor has the vital keyword highlighting feature, but sadly not many of the more advanced text editor features, like a red underlined syntax errors. After you’ve written your code, press the compile button, download your .HEX file and upload to your board.

We’re surprised we haven’t seen something like this before. To us, this seems like the ideal basis for a github-style microcontroller code-sharing website. Any enterprising ATtiny fans want to take a crack at this one?

Thanks [Rob] for sending this one in.