Which Arduino IDE should I use?

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Did you know that the Arduino company provides for free three different tools for programming your Arduino board?

They’re called Integrated Development Environments or IDEs. If you’re trying to figure out which one you should use, then check out this episode. We’re gonna talk about the Arduino Web Editor, the original Arduino IDE and the new Arduino IDE 2.0. By the end of this lesson, you’ll have an idea of which one’s gonna be the best fit for what you need to do.

You know, when you’re just getting into Arduino, there’s a lot to learn. Because you know, there’s hardware and there’s also software. The software that you need to program in Arduino or an Arduino-compatible board is all free provided by Arduino. It’s all open source software. And to get that software, you just go to the Arduino website and you click on the software tab. And when you’re here, you’re kind of greeted by a bunch of different options. And it might be like, “Hey, which one am I supposed to get? Just tell me, you know.”

So we’re gonna talk about all three options:
-Web Editor
-Arduino IDE
-Arduino IDE

So let’s go ahead and start talking about the original Arduino IDE version. It’s simple to download, you just pick your operating system on the right-hand side, it’ll start a download. You go through the installation steps and it’ll open up. These are the most current stable versions, right here. Now, if you wanted to get a previous version, you can click here and you can get a bunch of the previous versions, or if you wanna get the absolute hot off the press, newest version of this IDE, then you can download it here. Now they’re still maintaining the original Arduino IDE. So this is gonna be the most recent updated features and bug fixes of the original Arduino IDE.

So the original Arduino IDE looks like this. Right here, it looks like a kind of a text editor. Now, if you’ve been into software development for awhile, this might look a little rinky-dink to you. There’s really not a lot going on. Like, there’s not buttons everywhere to have like 10 million preferences and, there’s really not much like code highlighting or anything like that. There’s no auto-complete. There’s not a lot of anything. It’s like very much just a trimmed down text editor. You know, you just put in your code and run it. You know, like one, two, three, four, there’s like five buttons up here. So it’s just a really simple editor. And it hasn’t changed much, like the appearance of it hasn’t changed much in a long time. And that is one of its biggest features, I think. That it’s super simple. And I think that’s one of its best features actually, is that it is super simple. Especially if you’re new to programming, sometimes trying to figure out what an IDE can do and how it works, can get really confusing.


***About Us:***
This Arduino lesson was created by Programming Electronics Academy. We are an online education company who seeks to help people learn about electronics and programming through the ubiquitous Arduino development board.

***We have no affiliation whatsoever with Arduino LLC, other than we think they are cool.***


47 replies on “Which Arduino IDE should I use?”

Totally left out the fact that Arduino makes you pay for a subscription for the online editor of ya need more than 200 seconds of compilation a day. I use that after an hour of working on a project.

Seems to be that for Digispark ATTiny85 board, the 2.0 RC version don't work, at least for programming the board. For the case, I suggest to use the 1.8 version instead, that works like a charm.

I did an arduino app using visual studio. I created stubs for the hardware functions, added a command line interface, and a timer emulation. I developed and debugged the app as a windows command line app. I tested with manual and automated unit tests using the command line app also. I only used the arduino ide for its target compiler and loader.

Watched whole video just due to interest on view perspective of others 🙂 good overview!
Yet nothing of those 3 can replace platform IO installed on Visual Code, where I've moved to years ago for more functionality 😀

For beginners either Arduino 1.x or the Arduino IDE 2.x will be fine. For professionals 1.x is too basic and 2.x is ridiculously slow. I personally use Sublime Text with the Deviot package for day to day use because it's fast and I can work in a familiar environment. Trying to use 1.x or 2.x now is cringeworthy!

What about library management?
The very first versions of the Arduino IDE had a simple 'libraries' folder where you could put yourr libraries in.
In later versions, the IDE also started to use a central libraries folder somewhere deep in the Windows directry structure.
That's where it all got bad.. I had conflicting libraries (same name but different code), old sketches didn't work anymore, etc..
When i had to update a sketch after, let's say, 2 years, with the old version i could have an instance of the IDE especially for that project, with all folders and libraries.
Now, with the central stored libraries it's a hassle.. Just stay in the Arduino folder please! 🙁
I hate that, it used to be so simple.

Just switch to PlatformIO, it can be hard to switch it took me a while to get used to the function and create a project, but since Arduino IDE is a pain to get going on Linux I’m forced to use it

With the original Arduino IDE, the absolutely most important thing for a newcomer is that tons of videos, examples, explanations, and peer advice simply work on it. — With the two others, your mileage will vary.

Whether you're a professional who has to quickly switch to Arduino, or a Newbie, in both cases you avoid a lot of unwelcome unpredictable snags in the instructions. — Once you are up and running, then you may want to review the alternatives. And even then, you should need a Reason to switch, other than the Version Number being bigger or "cause the the Dark Mode".

I use the IDE mostly to run library examples or other short prices of test code. For larger projects that include multiple source files and libraries I find PlatformIO on either VSCode or Atom to be a more robust solution.

Great overview of the three options. I have never considered the web based IDE but you have me thinking this might be a great option to resurrect an old laptop as an Arduino programming machine.

I use the original but now will load up the version 2, which I didn't know existed. (shows how much I program arduinos!) Visual studio I find too overwhelming to learn. (I'm an old TurboC user!)

Is there any place to find a list of all the functions, commands, options, etc.. for Arduino code? Like a huge cheat sheet or reference?
I guess for the libraries you can just shuffle around in the code to see what's what.

I think this is an important topic and I like that you covered all of the available options. But please remember your audience is going to be people who are typically bright and can grasp conceps quickly, so repeating yourself many times over is annoying and will likely lead to people dropping out of the video and not wanting to subscribe.

I hope this feedback assists you – it is most certainly not ment to offend you!

first of: Thank you for you great content best wishes to you and your loved ones greetings from The Netherlands. 46yr guy just started school a couple months ago to get my degree never done any programming. i used to work as a unix/linux sysadmin but my scripting skills were limited. At our university we had a manual that told us to install the original Arduino IDE and Visual Studio Code with But with an important addon PlatformIO it has 1050 boards to select great way to add Libraries .. a must see.. i will install the 2.0 arduino ide to look at thanks for the tip.. BTW i also have Visual Studio 2019 to do C# as we must learn the concepts of Object Oriented Programming..

Thank you for the great information in the video. I'm looking for a video that explains how OTA is used with ESP 32. Can someone recommend good explanatory videos? Thanks.

I’m a 65 year old electrical HW/SW engineering guy (yes, I cut my teeth on vacuum tube circuits and B&W TVs with round picture tubes). These days I make a living designing my own line of magnetic stud finders and I’m manufacturing them in my injection mold factory. Lots of very old machines from the 60s that use mechanical relays to perform their functions—-no microprocessors at all. Just relays. And nothing but red wire. Everywhere. And did I mention that there’s no documentation?Needless to say they are extremely difficult to repair.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to look at ways to bring their automation forward by 60 years. The Arduino was an obvious choice but I had zero experience programming in “C” code.
Enter YouTube with its thousands of tutorials on the subject.
Anyway, all that to say, yours are by far the best! Your calm voice, your clever presentation along with your almost subliminal humorous snippets, make for an awesome learning experience. I’ve done a lot of video editing so I know how much work goes into your well crafted productions.
So keep up the great work and thank you.

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