"Use whenever, run everywhere"

Let’s talk IoT: PlatformIO puts developers back in the driver’s seat

Jane Elizabeth
Cloud computing image via Shutterstock.

IoT is more than being able to control your thermostat from an app on your phone; it’s the idea of a future where you’re always connected. The all new PlatformIO is an open source ecosystem meant to provide a single, unified development tool for the Internet of Things.

According to fans of IoT, interconnectivity is the future. However, IoT is more than being able to control your thermostat from an app on your phone. While the Internet of Things is still in the early stages, there’s been an exciting new development with the release of Platform IO.

The all new PlatformIO is an open source ecosystem which provides a single, unified development tool for the Internet of Things. IoT developers are no longer stuck to just Arduino IDE or Eclipse. Now, there’s a freely available option for developers to use whenever and run everywhere.

PlatformIO is a cross-platform code builder and library manager with continuous IDE integration. This open source option is compatible with the common IoT platforms of Arduino, ESP8266, and ARM mbed. Moreover, it can support the toolchains, debuggers, and frameworks used on the more popular OS like Windows, Mac, and Linux. PlatformIO supports IDE integration with Atom, Eclipse, NetBeans, and more.

PlatformIO IDE

This is a next-generation integrated development environment for IoT.  Here are some exciting features for this new ecosystem:

  • C/C++ Intelligent Code Completion and Smart Code Linter for faster coding.
  • Multiple panes allow for multi-tasking workglow
  • Different themes support allows customization for both dark and light colors
  • A built-in terminal with PlatformIO Core tool and support for Serial Port Monitor
  • Cross-platform Build System without external dependencies to the OS software: 350+ embedded boards, 20+ development platforms, 10+ frameworks. Arduino and ARM mbed compatible.

It has to be mentioned that PlatformIO is written entirely in Python. However, it doesn’t depend on any additional tools or libraries from an operating system. Start coding on your PC and end up on a credit-card sized computer like the Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, or CubieBoard.

How does it work?

Basically, PlatformIO gives developers more choices when coding for IoT. They do this by making it possible for developers to decide on which OS they want to run the development process on. Also, choosing between editors to use for writing code is easier. Developers can choose on whatever editor or IDE they prefer. The PlatformIO helps coders focus on code development with significant support for simplifying Development Platforms and MCUs.

The work cycle of a project developed using PlatformIO is pretty straightforward. The Project Configuration File has a number of boards that users can choose from. Based on their choices, it downloads the required toolchains and installs them automatically. Then, users can develop and write their code. PlatformIO makes sure that it is compiled, prepared, and uploaded to all of the pertinent boards. Pretty ingenious, really.

Head on over to PlatformIO and take a look to see if this new code builder and library manager is right for you. Let us know what you think of it in the comments below!

Jane Elizabeth
Jane Elizabeth is an assistant editor for JAXenter.com

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