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.

28 thoughts on “Codebender: An Online Arduino IDE

  1. Both Firefox and Chrome teams have been talking about adding Serial communication in the browser. I would much rather have that (or even mBed’s method of downloading a .bin and drag and dropping it to the uC) than having to hook it up to an ethernet shield. It’s a rather expensive component for an affordable microcontroller and isn’t exactly plug-and-play. Not that I think it’s a bad idea or anything, just that it should probably not be targeted at beginners.

    On the other hand the Arduino “IDE” (in quotes quite deliberately) is awful and definitely off-putting to those just getting started.

    1. Of course we support uploading to Arduino through serial using a java applet. We are interested in supporting serial communication in those browsers but we used java as it was faster to develop. The TFTP bootloader and the support for that in is optional and for the people that either already have an ethernet shield or make sense to have that kind of feature in their project.

  2. “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.”

    But how are you going to get the ethernet cable to the UAV?

  3. After some bad experience with hardware, that depends on internet based services, I don’t
    like this stuff anymore.

    Codebender looks like a great idea, but sooner or later it will vanish, like all cloud based services

  4. Trying to learn software/electronics etc. Could someone please explain the difference between:

    “a cloud-based Arduino IDE”


    “an online Arduino IDE”

    1. Nothing.

      It’s just a cliche (already) term for something that uses the internet to store/retrieve data. It has become a good way to determine how full of shit an author is.

      1. haha. Apparently that poor person that didn’t understand the difference between “cloud-based” and “online” ‘apps’ is not the type of person HaD wants to post comments. Love it.

      2. warning! LONG RANT AHEAD!

        99% of the time people dont know the difference.
        most “cloud” servers are NOT cloud servers and you are being lied to if they say its cloud.
        99% chance it doesnt matter.

        cloud means everything that happens within a server can be shared with another server on a simultaneous backup andor redundant switchover. also processing power and time can be dynamically allocated WHILE a job is being processed.

        for example an online video file converter website server will either convert video online, or give an error, or, with heartbeat; give an error but work on the next try(hit F5 to refresh).
        the cloud computing equivelent will just hand off the next 1% of converting work to a different server and as it is doing that transfer the job of transferring the resultant stream to the other server as well.

        if your on a website and the whole damm city that the server is in goes away (earthquake ect) and if there is a cloud server of the same company/website in another country… your video file converting keeps going and you never notice that the central office fell into the ocean or whatever


        there is a MAJOUR ___technical___ difference, but i can assure you that some of the services youve heard of that are “cloud” based, are ACTUALLY just using a normal server and they are selling the idea that if you use their “cloud” service, then that makes you smart (somehow) because your (supposedly) using something (relitavely) new and advanced

        like “Smart Pop” popcorn, buying it does not make or show that you are smart, it only really shows how unsmart you actually feel! (smart or not)

    2. A ‘Cloud-based’ is a kind of ‘online’ service which also provides a set of management features that can be used to improve reliability, scalability, performance, and ease of deployment, depending on whether and how the features are used.

      1. obviously i dont know how to summarize OR read other posts first, yours is very correct.

        only thing is you didnt mention enough details to write any cloud-serving softwares from scratch :P

  5. This is really useful, but I noticed that it only retrieves the emails that are in the Inbox in my other email accounts. How can I get it to transfer all the emails from the various folders? Thanks.

  6. Normally I tend to scoff at things like this, as webapp versions of these things are almost always just a PITA that are often far more restrictive than desktop counterparts.

    But… well, the Arduino IDE sets a pretty darn low bar already. Cool stuff for non-Windows folks but I’ll stick to Visual Micro.

  7. what was done here was an accomplishment no matter WHAT im about to say. and using java for the serial was very clever. wow! serial port in a webpage:) (now THAT part i like!)

    i know im very biased here so take what im about to say with a grain of salt.

    1) it worked fine as a local exe, java or no java.
    2) internet browsers (edit: html and such) always were and always will be the worst platform that ever was or ever will be. worst meaning theres ALWAYS something wrong with one of your fav. sites.
    3) everything internet related breaks eventually, and will continue to do so in the future, so expect downtime.
    4) when things on the internet disappear, they do NOT end up on ebay 10 years later, so no hope of it seeing the light of day ever again.
    5) browsers always seem to be 3 steps behind everyone and everything else. updates are NON *%*&$*&%* STOP!
    6) i paid OR worked to have my SUPER-DUPER-FAST computer, why not use it??? … instead of getting someone else to handle the “extra” processing of compiling … might as well just buy a really crappy computer and do everything in the browser? like googledocs, cloud computing ect
    7) ARDUINO IDE compiles about 10 times faster then any highspeed internet + internet browser
    + java + server could EVER hope to do.

    1. what if i have a modestly powerful (not super duper fast) computing device that can navigate the web pretty well? What if i have desperate devices running different versions of different OSs that are varying degrees of open save for – they run java, and a web browser decently?

  8. Hey guys. This is Vasilis, one of the guys behind codebender. The whole conversation is interesting, and I’d also like to thank those who were kind and supporting (and those who weren’t :P)

    To clarify a bit, technically, you’ll be able to actually upload code remotely from your iPhone as well. Nothing stops you from coding while in transit, and then sending your code to your ethernet-enabled Arduino back at home. Well, we have an issue with our code editor on iPhone right now so that’s stopping you, but we’re gonna work on that.

    Of course, on the other hand, you plug your Arduino on your iPhone and program it via USB. And even though it’s technically possible on some Android tablets, the Java applet doesn’t run on Android, so you can’t use Android either.

    On another note, one of the things I’ve heard is that by going web-based, you create a sub-par experience compared to “the real thing”. Isually, that’s my opinion as well. However, this whole thing started to fix the issues we had with the Arduino IDE and other tools that were mediocre to say the least, and we think we’ve done a great job so far, so I’d like to challenge you to test it, and let us know how we did :)

    1. Is there a chance that this project will be ported to work with Android devices? I think it would be great to be able to use my USB on my tablet to change my arduino’s code in my car when I’m on the go.

      1. Unfortunately, I don’t see this comming anytime soon.

        The Android browsers are not able to run Java Applets (at least right now), so it’s not possible for us to poll the list of USB-connected Arduinos, and that is assuming that the Android phones recognize the Arduino in the first place. Which I doubt.

        That said, you will be able to use our “cloud upload” feature from your Android phone, which allows you to remotely flash any Arduino Ethernet or Arduino /w Ethernet Shield from anywhere in the world

        1. actually, Android does support USB COM ports trough Libraries, check Google Play for plenty of examples.

          you could possibly make an app that connects to your cloud server for uploading, that you can download from your IDE’s website.

  9. This is a great thing, very important for machine to machine(MTM) application development. I have arduinos with sensors and other arduinos with actuators separated by miles and need to develop and debug the code for each as well as code on the web server which manages the control rules. My application is a little more complicated because the arduinos are on wireless nodes in a non TCP/IP network but this just means that this capability is that much more valuable. The nodes are spread out across hill side vineyards around Napa. I’m very interested in adapting this to my CS3 networks.

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