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The Arduino Project Renews its Community Focus with Arduino IDE 1.6.4

Gareth Halfacree

The Arduino project is open-source and community-driven, but for those who have little experience actually contributing has traditionally been tricky. In particular, the Arduino IDE - the integrated development environment software used to write Arduino Sketches and upload them to Arduino boards - has a reputation for being somewhat inflexible, requiring users to edit confusing configuration files in order to add something as simple as support for a third-party board or breadboard-style ATmega chip. Thankfully, this is changing: project co-founder Massimo Banzi recently announced plans to add improved community-driven features to the next release of the Arduino IDE, including the ability to add 'cores' - the name given to board or chip definitions - directly within the IDE by simply adding a web address. Massimo and the Arduino development team have also responded to community criticism over the decision to pop-up warning messages when boards from Arduino Srl., the company with which Arduino LLC is currently engaged in legal action, were detected - a user-unfriendly move which has been pleasingly reversed. The Arduino website has also shifted to a donation system: upon downloading the IDE, users will be asked to contribute money to keep the project running; any value can be chosen, or the donation can be skipped and the IDE downloaded for free as normal. These changes can be found in Arduino IDE 1.6.4, which also includes several bug-fixes, a new command-line interface for adding board cores and libraries, and default support for the upcoming Arduino Gemma wearable board.

We want a more open Arduino development environment where the community contribution can be made available more easily to all the users alongside the officially supported code. To do this we are adding new features in the next release of the Arduino IDE that will allow adding community contributed cores just by adding a line to the IDE configuration. This will allow these community contributions to be made available simply and quickly. In the future we’ll also make it possible for those contributions to be hosted on our servers for quicker deployment.

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