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De meningen ge-uit door medewerkers en studenten van de TU Delft en de commentaren die zijn gegeven reflecteren niet perse de mening(en) van de TU Delft. De TU Delft is dan ook niet verantwoordelijk voor de inhoud van hetgeen op de TU Delft weblogs zichtbaar is. Wel vindt de TU Delft het belangrijk - en ook waarde toevoegend - dat medewerkers en studenten op deze, door de TU Delft gefaciliteerde, omgeving hun mening kunnen geven.

Posted in December 2011

Minibloq: a visual programming editor for the Arduino

Very lazily, just a quick link to this very exciting environment

Minibloq project and download page: http://blog.minibloq.org/

Forum: http://minibloq.net/forum 

The interface lets you put together a program by dragging colorful blocks (a bit like Scratch). Blocks roughly correspond to lines of code or fragments of expressions.

 

The blocks are converted in real time into C code for the Arduino. I think that all variables are assumed to be float. You can see the code (that you cannot edit) on screen as it is being generated. If anything in your block diagram is red, this means that something is missing in your program and the code will not compile.

 

The code is then compiled and uploaded to the Arduino. The environment includes a serial terminal (that in Arduinoland people like to call a serial monitor). There is also a console window underneath, where you can see the usual Arduino spouting of mad and mysterious gibberish that would make a lot of sense, if only years ago you had decided to become an embedded computing nerd.

If you want to see the whole interface in its glory, here it is in its 1920 pixel wide splendor.

I am certainly going to point ITD students to this. I am not sure if this can be used “seriously” for prototypes or if it is more of a training wheel for the first weeks of getting acquainted with Arduino. My perplexities are based on:

 

  • very direct mapping from C to blocks (no abstraction)
  • heavy use of screen space (as you can see, even in this small example the visual program is longer than the C program), which in turn will make bigger programs very hard
  • does not solve the trickyness with variables having action at a distance

 

but these are common issues with visual programming environments

 

 

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