Announced during the Arduino Day festivities earlier in the year, the new Arduino Create environment is finally coming out of private beta, and opening the gates to new users this weekend at Maker Faire Bay Area.
Although I’m sure both environments will be coexisting for some time to come, the new platform is intended to replace the venerable Arduino development platform we’re all used to using — which inherited many things, both good and bad, from the Wiring platform on which it is based — with a modern, flexible, and perhaps most importantly web-based, tool chain.
However the new web platform is not just a new development environment. It enables makers not just to write code, but to share it, and to both configure their boards, and connect them to the cloud. But alongside that the new environment’s focus on supporting, and teaching, about the emerging Internet of Things is evident.
“More than 10 years ago, we set out to simplify electronics with easy-to-use, open-source hardware. 10 years later, we’re looking to do the same for Internet of Things development with Arduino Create.”
The Arduino “IoT Manifesto” sets out not only how Arduino will tackle the Internet of Things, but also how they intend to develop tools for it, and how they think others should approach building their own things for the Internet of Things.
Arduino Create features guided flows to help easily configure online services and help you through the process of installing the cross-platform browser plugin the new environment depends on, allowing you to write code and upload sketches to an Arduino board connected to your computer directly from your browser.
Arduino Project Hub
The Arduino community is what sets the board apart from most of its competitors. The huge amount of code, community support, and other free and open source resources built around the platform means that if you have a problem you can probably find someone else that’s had it first and already solved it. That supportive community is what has made Arduino the default platform for getting started with microcontrollers and physical computing. Going forward the new Arduino Project Hub, powered by hackster.io, is intended to be the new focus for the board’s extensive community. With the floodgates to the new platform opening this weekend, it’s going to be interesting to see how enthusiastically it gets adopted.
Arduino Web Editor
On the surface the online editor looks a lot like the old editor, only a lot more browser’y. But the similarity is only skin deep. All the Arduino libraries are immediately available, along with support for all the boards — although out of the gates the new ‘board manager’ will be hidden, at least for now.
However, although hosting sketches in the cloud makes it easy to share, it can lead to problems, especially when sensitive API keys get exposed. The new Arduino platform, with its focus on the Internet of Things, will deal with that for you, hiding the API keys from your code when you publish it, and inserting them into your code when you compile and upload it to your Arduino boards.
The Arduino Cloud
The new Create platform also allows you to connect your Arduino boards both directly to the internet, and to each other using MQTT. Behind the scenes the Arduino Cloud relies on Amazon’s cloud infrastructure.
“By adopting AWS IoT and AWS Lambda for our IoT Cloud infrastructure, we provide Arduino Cloud and Arduino Web Editor users with a secure, reliable, and highly scalable environment that will enable Makers to connect their projects to the Internet and manage them through the Cloud.” — Massimo Banzi
Initially the platform will have limited features, but it’ll soon support streaming of data, storing it, and displaying it in real time in dashboards.
How to learn more?
Massimo Banzi will be talking about Arduino Create on the Center Stage on Saturday at 12:30 here at Maker Faire Bay Area. He’ll also be announcing the launch of Arduino’s popular Creative Technologies in the Classroom (CTC) educational program in the United States.