The Arduino IDE is a great programming tool, it is simple to use and it contains probably all resources one will need to build a project, but evaluating it as a code editor, it is a not the perfect tool. It lacks programming aiding features like IntelliSense, code suggestions, auto-complete, auto-correct, and debug tools, which make the development of projects with a large codebase, easy and endears developers to use code editors like Visual Studio Code and Atom. The above reason coupled with the large user base of most of these editors led to the development of plugins/extensions that enabled the use of some of them for development code for Arduino and other compatible boards.
For this tutorial, we will take a look, how these extensions can be used to program Arduino. Quite a number of editors exist and different variation of extensions have been developed but for today’s tutorial, we will focus on Visual Studio Code (VScode) as our code editor and explore it’s use with the Platform.io and Arduino extensions.
At the end of today’s tutorial, you will know how to develop code for the Arduino and similar/compatible boards using the Arduino and Platform.io extensions on VScode.
We will use the Arduino blink example for demonstration of today’s tutorial, thus you will only need the target boards.
- Arduino Uno (or any other board of the family)
Any versions/variations of these boards are fine, as long as they work well when you program them using the Arduino IDE. In addition to the components mentioned above, you will need the latest VScode setup. Follow this link to download the setup file and install it on your computer. Ensure you select the “add files to path” option during installation. After installation, restart your computer to allow the installation to settle in.