Arduino IDE 2.0 Goes Gold

Arduino Electronics
Arduino IDE 2.0 Goes Gold

When the project that would eventually be named Arduino started evolving in the early 2000s, their goal was to make microcontrollers more accessible to non-engineers. So in addition to an easy-to-use dev board, they needed something more approachable than the complicated toolchains required by their professional-focused contemporaries. They solved this by creating a simple IDE based on Processing, a Java-based tool that is used to create advanced visualizations from simple code “sketches.” Beyond the nickname for code files, Processing’s legacy lives on in many ways, almost two decades later, resulting in the latest 1.8.19 release sometimes feeling like a relic of another era. With the 2.0 release, however, Arduino’s development environment sails kicking and screaming into the future.

Recent release candidates receive updates routinely

Once again refusing to reinvent the wheel, the Arduino IDE 2.0 is based on the Eclipse Theia framework. If mention of the word “Eclipse” already has you running, let us reassure you that Arduino have not simply jumped from one clunky Java-based IDE to another. Theia is based on the same underlying code as Microsoft’s wildly popular and extensible Visual Studio Code. This allows Arduino to start with a powerful, modern editor and focus on the Arduino-specific functionality.

Classy and convenient code completion

In addition to modern conveniences like code completion and assistance, the new IDE integrates directly with the Arduino Cloud, allowing users to pick up right where they left off in the browser-based Web Editor. The new IDE is based on Arduino’s powerful CLI, vastly streamlining underlying library, board and dependency management. Other quality of life improvements include integrated debugging, an improved serial monitor and plotter that can even be used simultaneously, and, at long last: DARK MODE!

Peek provides prescience into previous programming

Just shy of two years from the first preview of what was then called the Arduino Pro IDE, the 2.0.0 release offers a vastly improved experience to both beginners and seasoned developers. And with auto-updates for boards and libraries, plus the software itself, users remain on the cutting edge as the platform continues to evolve and improve. We’ll miss the familiarity of the old 1.x IDE, but with the tremendous advances that 2.0 brings, we’ll gladly trade those humble beginnings for a deluxe editor in the (or at least connected to the) cloud.

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David bought his first Arduino in 2007 as part of a Roomba hacking project. Since then, he has been obsessed with writing code that you can touch. David fell in love with the original Pebble smartwatch, and even more so with its successor, which allowed him to combine the beloved wearable with his passion for hardware hacking via its smartstrap functionality. Unable to part with his smartwatch sweetheart, David wrote a love letter to the Pebble community, which blossomed into Rebble, the service that keeps Pebbles ticking today, despite the company's demise in 2016. When he's not hacking on wearables, David can probably be found building a companion bot, experimenting with machine learning, growing his ever-increasing collection of dev boards, or hacking on DOS-based palmtops from the 90s.

Find David on Mastodon at and to a far lesser extent on Twitter at @IShJR.

View more articles by David Groom


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