Getting started with Arduino programming – Installing the IDE(s)

How to enter the Arduino word? Before anything else we have to setup an environment where we do the coding. There are many options you can choose, about how you want to code the boards. In this post I am going to speak about two specific ways.

Official Arduino IDE

Arduino IDE 1.6 during compile
Arduino IDE 1.6 during compile on Windows

The most traditional way to program your Arduino boards is with the official Arduino IDE. It is open source and multi-platform. It can be downloaded and used for free, available on Windows, Linux and Mac. They keep up with updates and news but it`s not the most professional software. It was designed for beginners to get familiar with coding.

Here are the download links:

Arduino IDE splash screen
Arduino IDE splash screen

Installing on Windows or Mac is not complicated, you just download the IDE and extract the zip/install. If you are linux user, especially Ubuntu or any other Ubuntu redistribution (Lubuntu, Kubuntu, etc) it can be a bit hard for begginers, if  you don`t have the software center installed. Even if you have, the fastest way to do it is by terminal. Just type in the following line:

sudo apt-get install arduino

After installing you just run the software and use it! It`s that simple. About programming I will talk in other chapters.

Microsoft Visual Studio and Visual Micro

Visual Studio and Visual Micro
Visual Studio and Visual Micro

If you want something more professional and useful, and you know something about coding and you don`t get lost in a sophisticated and crowded user interface than this is you choice. Microsoft Visual Studio has the ability for debugging, code auto spelling, error reporting and many other useful and less useful functions. The Visual Micro is an awesome extension for Visual Studio. It has a community edition which is completely free, or you can buy the full version for a few bucks. You can download it from their official website.

Pros and cons

Which one is better? Which is the winner? It depends on your needs. You should decide it. I am currently using both of them. If you are an absolute beginner, you should stick to the official IDE. The official IDE has the ability to run on many kind of platforms without any special system requirements, it can run almost on any system without any problems at all, but you are limited on functions. On the other hand the Visual Micro is built upon a massive application as an extension so it has many functions as mentioned before, but everything comes with a price – the system requirement is much higher and available only on Windows.