My favorite practical Arduino project is getting a bit large for Arduino IDE, so I am looking to move the development over to a “real” IDE. During the past few months I have enjoyed using Visual Studio Code (on my laptop running Xubuntu) for HTML editing. Since they have plugins I thought I would give it a go.
First attempt: Platform.io
Platform.io has some impressive marketing out there. They also support esp8266 which for me is a must. Unfortunately it is another setup which requires an entire rewrite of the code (renaming all .ino files to .cpp for example) and for the amount of projects I have lying around and return to regularly that’s a definite pass. *UPDATE: unless there is no other choice!
There is a nice plugin for Arduino, however. It does require you to already have Arduino set up on your system (check). To set up the VSCode plugin you have to point it to the Arduino installation folder.
The ESP8266 is also supported! (you just need to add the board repository, kind of like how you add it to Arduino)
I also found a plugin to upload spiffs (esp8266 file system). https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/items?itemName=kash4kev.vscode-esp8266fs *UPDATE: unfortunately spiffs is now obsolete and there is no upload option for LittleFS, the upgraded replacement.
So far in testing the whole thing works, uploading sketches just the same as Arduino, except now I have tab completion(the IDE completes your commands for you when you press <TAB>) and advanced syntax highlighting. Best of all, VSCode comes with Dark Mode!
I think I might enjoy it, going forward. The only issue so far is that VSCode is no lightweight, it seems to be using a fair amount of resources to run. Nowhere near Android Studio, however.
*UPDATE: Unfortunately the Arduino plugin somehow fails to support multiple .ino files for an Arduino sketch (!!!!!). Here is the bug report: https://github.com/microsoft/vscode-arduino/issues/271
This is simply unusable as a result (sigh)
Guess I’m having another look at Platform.io – for lack of alternatives!
If you stumble upon this post and have a solution please send me an email tomjuggler at gmail dot com
PS I did try the alpha version of Arduino: Arduino Pro IDE https://www.arduino.cc/pro/software but it’s just that, alpha. 106 Errors in my code? But it still compiles and uploads fine?