From its lack of simple things like code IntelliSense to more complex requirements like a debugger, quite a number of articles and comments have been written in the past about the inadequacies of the Arduino IDE. Many have pointed out how the IDEs’ attempt at simplifying things makes it unusable for professional embedded software developers. The Arduino team has however been listening and a few months back announced the release of the Arduino IDE Pro. For today’s article, we will take a look at the new IDE and discuss some of its new features along with their uses.
The Arduino Pro IDE is part of Arduino’s plan to provide users with tool options for use in project development. While the Pro IDE is a product still in development, the Alpha binary was released by Arduino during the announcement to allow interested users to get their hands on it and provide feedback. The initial release plan included features like;
- A Dual Mode – The Dual mode allows users to switch between the Classic Arduino look and Pro’s File System view which only reveals advanced features when you need them
- Modern fully-featured development environment – The New Pro IDE comes with a Modern look, multi-panel IDE with an integrated file system view which makes developing large, multi-file, repository-based projects easy.
- Debugger – The debugger is one of the major demands of professional firmware developers and it’s one of the features scheduled to be implemented in future versions of the IDE. Some of the debugger features highlighted for the IDE include the ability to; Set breakpoints, view trace, step through execution and debug applications without the use of the serial monitor and the timing issues it brings.
- Support for Additional Languages – While the embedded world still regards C and C++ as official languages, it is impossible to ignore the growing influence around the use of other programming languages like Python. Obviously seeing a future where this will be mainstream, the New Pro IDE is being designed with the ability to support other programming languages
- Support for third-party plug-ins and board – The Classic Arduino IDE made life easier for a lot of users with the Arduino Library and Board managers, which made it easier to install Board definitions and several third-party libraries. The Arduino Pro IDE will also support these in several ways in a cleaner more modern environment
- Basic Code Intellisense – Yes, we will finally be getting some code auto-complete features in the Pro IDE. While Arduino claims these features may be limited to ARM boards, here is hoping it’s usable across board.
- Git Integration – Version control is not negotiable for the type of large projects the Pro IDE is being created to serve.
- Dark Mode – For certain users, the Darkmode isn’t just to ease off the pressure on the eye, it’s a geek statement, but either way, taking the light out will definitely make long term development easier for users.
Quite a number of work on features and bug fixes has been done since the first release. The current version (which still has some stability issues) was released in December with fixes to some of the problems from the previous versions. Some of the things fixed in the latest version(v0.0.3) as listed on the Github page include;
- Install/uninstall/update cores and libs (pinning a specific version)
- Fixed macOS shortcuts
- Restore last opened sketch when switching mode
- Fixed search toolbar for libs
- Select the right CLI version to avoid conflict with local installations
- Avoid duplicates in outline view
- Fixed serial monitor
- Confirm Exit is now working
- Fixed text contrast while using the dark theme
Arduino, no doubt, deserves a lot of credit for setting the maker community ablaze with their series of boards which were instrumental to the journey of several makers and while they have had a lot of setbacks in recent times which slowed down their influence on the community, the pro-IDE might just be the next game-changing tool they need to get back to the community frontlines.