If I have learnt anything from software development over the years, it’s that programming on Windows is a mixed bag. Even more so when it comes to the development of hardware, as I have learnt more recently since joining the Leeds Hackspace.
The Arduino, a rather nice prototyping board, does have an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for windows, but when you try to do that little bit more with it, such as code for an unorthodox piece of hardware it can get a bit trickier. Namely, when certain chips aren’t supported.
The Arduino IDE (AIDE) is actually a mixture of smaller components. A Java GUI, the AVR-GCC compiler, source code in C++ and profiles for the various Arduino hardware. A problem mainly arises when you want to use a new device, that is perhaps acting like an Arduino but is using a newer chip on the board than is supported by the archaic AVR-GCC compiler that is bundled with the AIDE.
I’ve been working on a script which pulls down the latest AIDE and incorporates support for, in particular, the minimus32 (using the ATMega32u) but it isn’t exactly user friendly (yet). Until that appears (though if you want to try it out, get in touch), I have happened across a rebuild of the Arduino IDE which is a bit nicer and, perhaps with suggestions for including decent updates such as a recompiled AVR-GCC, it could potentially be a better solution.