Wednesday, 12 November 2014

In the Beginning... was the Command Line

Say what you like about the Arduino IDE, it's certainly lowered the barriers to entry for kids messing about with microcontrollers. 

Oh wait, that's not what I wanted to say at all...

Sometimes the Arduino IDE is simply not enough. It just gets in your way. Your project has outgrown it.

These were a few of my more printable thoughts as I tried to force a quart of UK101 emulation into the pint-pot of that tiny editor window. At times I'd no idea which file I was even editing! I longed to bust out emacs (or even vi).

What I really wanted was make. In particular GNU make. Simply the best build-tool ever, no question.

Many people have written Makefiles to build Arduino sketches but none of them felt right to me. They were all too complicated, too monolithic. Or maybe it was just a case of not-invented-here. In any case, I present uC-Makefile, which supports Arduino-1.0 and Energia.

The best thing about it so far has been control over the compiler's optimisation levels. Compiled with optimisation -O3, that old microcomputer's emulated Basic interpreter ran almost 5x faster!

Bye-bye, Arduino IDE!

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