Over the last few years I have written and edited many Arduino sketches. Aside from a brief dalliance with Sublime Text I have exclusively used the dull but ubiquitous Arduino IDE.
At the time I started each project this seemed completely natural, but over time I seem to somehow lose track of where I put the code. I use a variety of different computers, including virtual ones, several file sharing and backup systems (Dropbox, Google Drive and Bittorrent Sync, for example) and a heap of removable media. Many of my ‘important’ sketches are version controlled and stored in GitHub or BitBucket. Somewhere in that lot is probably something useful for my next project, but it’s getting tougher and tougher to find it.
With all this in mind I am excited to have found Codebender – a browser-based Arduino IDE which backs up all your sketches to ‘the cloud’ and is available from any computer with an internet connection. Strictly it also needs, for the moment at least, a Chrome browser if you want to run the plugin which recognizes, controls and communicates with your Arduino hardware. I use Chrome most of the time anyway, so that’s not really a problem for me.
I have now uses Codebender heavily for a couple of projects, and found it smooth to use and somewhat easier to get to grips with than the original Arduino IDE. It recognizes and works with a large and growing collection of Arduino boards and compatibles, but it does not currently support non-AVR systems (Arduino Due and other ARM boards, Iteaduino Lite and boards with AVR-clone controllers, for example). It also has access to a large collection of libraries.
Interaction between the web interface and the Arduino is generally seamless, provided you have a reliable internet connection. I did find that I had sometimes to re-try programming the hardware when I was in an area with intermittent wi-fi, but none of my source code was lost and the second download attempt usually worked.
If you are like me, and hop from one machine to another, or even if you are just a bit tired of the quirks of the Arduino IDE, I recommend that you sign up for Codebender. It’s free, and it might be useful.
For full disclosure, if you sign up using the links I give above, I get some points. If I get enough points, I might get a free T-shirt. Despite that, I still think this is a worthwhile service to try.