Updated: Jan 28
Everyone who is even remotely in touch with Electronics and DIY industry must have heard of Arduino. And there are many people out there who do not belong to technical background and know simply nothing about what a microcontroller is, but they still want to use Arduino. Recently, I had a friend of mine who visited me; he wanted to build a musical painting he saw somewhere on internet and it used arduino, he came to me for help related to coding of Arduino, now this man knows nothing about arduino boards and probably, after this one project, he may or may never use arduino in future. Now for such a small project, does it make sense for him to learn C Coding? Sounds a stretch right?
Forget about the one-time project, even for the people who are new to Arduino’s and embedded world but wish to master this field with continuous practice, wouldn’t it be simpler to have a learning tool which gets much easier to adapt and scale later on? Definitely! If you’re someone who wants to start coding Arduino and don’t know the C coding or any text-based coding, this post is exactly created for you, read on 🙂
Apart from text-based coding, there are BLOCK based coding alternatives available for Arduino. Contrary to text-based coding, block-based coding does not involve writing lines of code to execute something, instead, it uses blocks which are pre-made and the user has just to drag and drop them. By connecting these blocks to each other, a program is created which performs exactly like the text program. In fact, in many cases, the blocks generate an equivalent Code, in C or any other language. There are plenty many such platforms available, but we’ll only discuss those which provide raw Arduino code as output so they’re most usable
Ardublock (http://blog.ardublock.com/) Ardublock is one of the oldest and simplest block coding alternative to Arduino, it comes as an executable jar file and needs some settings to be done with Arduino installation to work. Its written in Java and the course can be hacked using eclipse for it. For absolute beginners, its not recommended
mBlock (http://www.mblock.cc/) mBlock is created by the chinese robotics company makeblock. mBlock is created with primary intention of making it easier to be used with the variety of the robots manufactured by makeblock. But they’ve also given an additional Arduino ONLY mode in the mblock using which the software can be used with any normal IDE, its recommended for beginners but have very limited functionality in terms of code generation
Ardublockly (https://ardublockly.embeddedlog.com/) This is what stands out of all the block based coding softwares available for Arduino. Since Ardublockly is built around Google’s Blockly project, it simply generates an equivalent Arduino Code and hence can generate any amount of code for almost everything there’s in arduino. Moreover, ardublockly can be used directly online or can be downloaded and be integrated with your existing arduino Installation
Using Ardublockly online is pretty straight forward, just to go https://ardublockly.embeddedlog.com/ and start building blocks, on one hand of the browser, you can see the respective code generated for the Arduino.
In this case, the generated code needs to be copied onto the Arduino IDE and then manually upload the code to arduino. On the other hand, if you want to directly upload code to Arduino board from Ardublockly interface, you need to download ardublockly. And here the things go little difficult. The ardublockly source gets downloaded and we need to do little modifications to make it work with our Arduino installation present on the computer
Using Ardublockly to upload code to Arduino Board
I’ve created a video as a part of my online training course which explains how to use Ardublockly to directly directly upload codes to the Arduino board. See the video below
Having said all this, one thing is for sure true and that is there is no escape to the conventional text based coding for Arduino. Since lots of libraries needs to be used while creating a project, but for a beginner, its always better to start off using Ardublockly and shift silently to the text based coding.
For those willing to learn Ardublockly easily, I’ve created a quick course on Udemy, you may want to check out and you may also request me coupon for it 🙂