codebender.cc shutting down

I received an email from codebender.cc, summary:

All good things must come to an end

We have some sad news to share today. With a heavy heart, we've decided to shut down the codebender.cc website.

In a nutshell, we've been unable to create a sustainable business model around codebender.cc, and we simply can't afford to pick up the tab for running the site out of our own pockets anymore (did you know it costs $25K/month to provide our service?).

We'd like to thank you all for your support. You can find more info as well as our transition plan on our Next Chapter page. (on the codebender.cc website)

Got one too.

Looking like CREATE is going to get a few new users.

Ballscrewbob: Looking like CREATE is going to get a few new users.

Looks like another of those modern websites - all style and ***k-all substance.

Why does a website need a"WHAT IS ARDUINO CREATE" link when there is a whole page sitting in front of the reader where it could have been explained.

And what marketing idiot wrote this (my highlights)

Whereas many companies deliver IDEs, some offer clouds and others curate DIY projects, Arduino Create converges all of that under one roof for an entirely fragmented-free user experience. Designed to provide Makers with a continuous workflow, the new platform connects the dots between every part of a Maker’s journey from inspiration to installation. Ideally, you will now have the ability to manage every aspect of your project right from a single dashboard.

Reads more like something from a second-rate election speech.

...R

Oh here we go R2 on one of his "thur is nuthin wrung wid gud ole machine code i bin usin it fer years and you all yung wippersnappers better git tu lurnin it quik"

Sorry for waking you up R2...not even going to bother following up as I know its a total waste of time with you. Its your way and thats final, and to hell with any sort of progress...I will let you get back to your dreams of steam engines and the horse and buggy.

"The stubbornness is strong with that one it is" "He is the stubbornness Yoda"

Wouldn't the world be a very boring place if everyone had the exact same opinion about everything.

Being different is GOOD.

...R

R2

The difference between being good and just a plain old obstinate, cantankerous and words of that ilk seems to elude you.

I welcome different and being able to talk about things to see where or which points a meeting of minds can take place but with you is just a line you drew somewhere back in the 60's or 70's and dare not cross for fear of change.

I am honestly surprised that with all those chips on your shoulder against anything that remotely smells of progress that you don't walk with a forty five degree list.

Lucky for me I have seen the work going into CREATE as a tester and am very happy with the direction and rapid progress the hard working people are capable of. Even luckier for me these people have vision that looks forward and not back into a dimly lit past.

CodeBender is moving ahead and so is Arduino from my POV.

Ballscrewbob, can you explain what the benefit of using Create is? So far I'm not a big fan but I'm trying to be open minded about it, I honestly want to be convinced it has value. You seem to be a big fan of it, why?

When I first heard about Create I thought that's kind of cool because, for example, if I was visiting my parents and still wanted to work on an Arduino project I could use their computer without having to install anything, which they would not be too happy about. Of course that was wrong, you still need to install stuff to be able to upload to your board so that's no advantage over the IDE. In fact I have not managed to get it to successfully install on my computer even though I've never had a problem with the many installations of the standard IDE I've done.

You can't use 3rd party boards.

You can't use 95% of Library Manager, just their hand picked subset of the libraries. I realize you can still install libraries but this is more confusing for beginners who have to figure out where to download the library and the folder structure has to be just right. Library Manager just seems like a perfect match for Create.

No compiler warnings and no way to turn them on!!!

No Auto Format.

EDIT: Doesn't even tell you the compiled program and global variable sizes.

These are just the things I noticed in a few minutes of messing with it, after which I gave up.

OK, I know they're planning to add some of these features eventually, but the web editor has been in development for years. It's been publicly released for 2.5 months and yet it is still so inferior to the standard IDE. If all the development effort put into the web editor had been put towards the standard IDE instead imagine how much better it would be now and all the catastrophic bugs that could have been fixed before they were released.

If you consider how much money it cost Codebender to run their operation it becomes clear that Create could end up being a financial liability for Arduino. It costs money for Arduino to pay the development team to work on the standard IDE but they can budget that according to ability and need. The community can take over the development work on the IDE if Arduino is unable to continue. Not so with Create, this is a constant financial drain on Arduino unless they can find ways to make it pay. I'd think that should be possible but evidently Codebender was unable to accomplish it.

Hi Pert

As you said it can be used to put test code up on the fly so to speak so long as you have access to a browser.

OK the boards need to be connected local if you want to actually upload.

But a simple for instance. Troubleshooting a sketch with lets say a friend. Sure you can email the sketch and have to load it up each time something changes. How much easier is it to just share a link and watch the code change from the other end with just a browser refresh. and then pull the code directly to your CREATE.

Another instance I found quite by accident was the ability to be logged into 3 browsers at once. Chrome on my regular PC. Edge inside a win 10 VM on my server and another machine also with win 10 VM. All sync to a single sketch instance. Ok it was only 3 browsers on 2 VM's and a real box but expand that into an educational standpoint.

Libraries. There are more libs "out of the box" than the regular IDE. I can bulk load my current (custom) libs in a matter of moments. And as you mentioned lib manager....an upcoming feature is an expanded lib manager taking it much closer to the regular IDE but maybe a little beyond. Also on the subject of libs I am seeing that they are often required to be more defined on Create as some that compile under the regular IDE may not always compile first time under CREATE. Many times it has been down to a poorly maintained lib. So I can see that area becoming an issue in the short term but leading to much better libs at the end of the day. I have read some of the older posts in the forum about a central repo for libs and CREATE goes a little way towards that but imposes a little QC too which can only be a good thing so long as it does not impose actual restrictions.

Compilation times. These can vary by computer hardware but I often found it compiled and uploaded quicker than the regular IDE. The faster speed difference seems more pronounced under EDGE.

As for code-bender. I loved it but it always had a shortage of boards available and although I will miss it that makes CREATE a great alternative. That's not to say CREATE has a great selection available (YET). But CH340 boards again "work out of the box" That in and of itself is a major step forward for the online IDE...Driver issues may end up being a thing of the past. From my POV they pushed the CH340 out in a matter of days.

All sketches and libs uploaded as zips pass through AV screening and such. If you got something from a dodgy website even by accident it wont make it up there which again I class as a good feature.

Team wise it seems very small maybe 7 ? All my dealings have been exceptionally good with them and I know some of them are playing dual roles. Think we also have to remember that there was a mighty upheaval in the two Arduino factions and I am sure that led to some delays in this and other projects. so whilst you say "years" the current open GIT is only about 1 year old. Also officially announced in MAY of this year I think. Again not exactly "years"

WISH LIST...That was something that struck me very early on in testing. They LISTEN...but not only do they listen they seem to quite often ACT. That again is a MAJOR change in approach when you see our gripes about the forum or the seeming lack of interaction about the IDE on occasion.

Cost wise is where you have me at a disadvantage. I can only hope that with the re integration of both factions some costs can be met by the move but we all await any real details on that aspect. Maybe becuase they have a larger initial user base than codebender they can cut better deals and if as I think it also improves to the point of being able to sell it to education as maybe a package then they might even have another income stream.

It may open up a whole new set of possibilities and probably more so with WiFi and BT connected boards with probable OTA avenues to push up a sketch as easily as it it is to use the connected IDE. EG program on your phone and just send but without all the intermediate hassles of adding a BT board and looking for the correct lib and tweaking the sketch...Similar to the YUN but with cheaper boards and no Linux to learn.

EDIT Compiled sizes etc are apparently coming soon. If you have a 101 they are there to a degree already if you UPLOAD but not on verify.

And not sure if you know but they use a lot of the existing IDE as base material so not quite as much to do from that aspect apart from make it work on the web. So as the regular IDE progresses I expect CREATE to adapt to follow but hopefully without as many hiccups.

And that my take Long and the short and I am sure I said it somewhere else too. It will never replace the regular IDE but it will let a whole new generation of users use a newer IDE that they can play with much as they do with apps on a phone.

BTW did you try turning on verbose ? Its not the lower console that's for sure but the whole thing is still a WIP

My actual beef was with the way R2 continually disses pretty much anything that is change which is why I didn't even bother to put much effort into a response to him. I see enough negativity in life so his drones don't merit much. Your response though, was well worth the effort to respond.

Ballscrewbob: As you said it can be used to put test code up on the fly so to speak so long as you have access to a browser.

True. It's pretty limited what I would be able to do without uploading to hardware. I do sometimes help people out with issues related to boards I don't own but there can be a big difference between "It compiles" and "It works".

Ballscrewbob: Troubleshooting a sketch with lets say a friend. Sure you can email the sketch and have to load it up each time something changes.

I guess that would be useful. I'm much more of a fan of using GitHub to collaborate but that doesn't integrate directly into an IDE and is not as beginner friendly. If someone is struggling with Arduino they probably don't want to learn how to use GitHub at the same time.

Ballscrewbob: There are more libs "out of the box" than the regular IDE.

The only downside of that is you have to see the invalid category warning for those 5 libraries on every single compile. Those libraries would cause the same warning if you installed them in the standard IDE but I'll probably never use any of them. The frustrating thing is I fixed all those libraries a year ago but their authors haven't made a new release since so the warnings still happen. I guess I need to open issue reports in those repositories to make that happen.

Ballscrewbob: I am seeing that they are often required to be more defined on Create as some that compile under the regular IDE may not always compile first time under CREATE. Many times it has been down to a poorly maintained lib. So I can see that area becoming an issue in the short term but leading to much better libs at the end of the day.

I might start watching the Create forum section for that sort of thing. Usually these fixes are super simple so it's easy enough for me to submit a quick pull request. That's the sort of thing where I want to be convinced that I should start caring about the web editor. If I can be sold that there are benefits I'll start making more of an effort to contribute to the development.

Ballscrewbob: I have read some of the older posts in the forum about a central repo for libs

I think that idea had some fatal flaws and has been completely replaced by the much better Library Manager concept. The only problem with Library Manager is it requires the code to be on GitHub(which is the same for the previous idea) but that's not a huge issue since pretty much all Arduino library repositories are already on GitHub.

Ballscrewbob: Compilation times. These can vary by computer hardware but I often found it compiled and uploaded quicker than the regular IDE.

I don't mind the compile speed on AVR boards on my computer, though they are a few seconds slower now than they used to be on older IDE versions. I have some ESP8266 sketches that do take a long time to compile. If I could speed that up significantly with the web IDE that would be tempting to use for development when I'm doing a ton of compiles but that point is moot until they add support for 3rd party boards.

Ballscrewbob: But CH340 boards again "work out of the box" That in and of itself is a major step forward for the online IDE...Driver issues may end up being a thing of the past. From my POV they pushed the CH340 out in a matter of days.

That's surprising since those are exclusively on their competition. They could actually do the same thing for the standard IDE by including those drivers but I've always assumed they wouldn't bother. Maybe they just need to be asked. Would certainly prevent a lot of the issues we see here on the forum.

Ballscrewbob: Team wise it seems very small maybe 7 ?

IDE team is 5. That includes 00alis, the designer, who does much more on Create than the standard IDE. I'm pretty sure one of those 5 is a volunteer. So really there are 3 paid IDE team members. The lead developer for arduino-create-agent is one of those 3. A lot of their work goes into arduino-builder, which is the core of the web editor also but the people who work exclusively on Create don't do any work on arduino-builder.

Ballscrewbob: the current open GIT is only about 1 year old.

The commit history of the arduino-create-agent repo actually goes back to 2014-01-30 but it was called serial-port-json-server at that time and was forked to arduino-create-agent. The first commit by an Arduino developer I'm familiar with is 2015-04-11 so that would be 1.5 years but arduino-create-agent is just one component of Create. A lot of the other stuff is not open source. This has been going on way longer than that. For example https://blog.arduino.cc/2014/08/12/news-and-updates-from-the-development-and-beta-testing-of-the-arduino-tre/ has a familiar picture: |500x269 That's right, an apparently working web editor over two years ago so you know the development started quite a while before that. "More than 100 beta-testers are involved in the program" so it wasn't just a quick design mockup.

Ballscrewbob: They LISTEN...but not only do they listen they seem to quite often ACT. That again is a MAJOR change in approach when you see our gripes about the forum or the seeming lack of interaction about the IDE on occasion.

The forum I agree, but the IDE I disagree. The IDE developers are very receptive to input/contributions that are made in a moderately coherent manner. The difference is they don't monitor the forum, you have to go to GitHub to get a response. The Create team does seem to be very responsive to their forum section which makes it much more accessible to all users. However, if you look way back in the forum to the early days you'll see the same was happening for the IDE development so we may see the level of engagement on the Create forum section drop off over time.

Ballscrewbob: And not sure if you know but they use a lot of the existing IDE as base material

Pretty much only arduino-builder, which converts the sketch to fully functional code and pulls in the libraries. The whole web interface and the create-agent are completely separate. This is something I don't like, the web editor works differently than the standard IDE. I expected the interface to be basically the same. That means going back and forth is not so seamless.

Ballscrewbob: BTW did you try turning on verbose ?

I haven't been able to upload but it appears that verbose output during compilation/upload are combined which I don't like. I always have verbose upload enabled so I can see what's going on but I only use verbose compilation when I need to do some troubleshooting of the build process because it's mostly not useful information otherwise.

A benefit that I had somewhat hoped the web editor might provide is Chrome OS/iOS/Android support, not that I have any use for that. However from reading a comment you made earlier on another thread it sounds like that's not the case.

One thing I noticed earlier that I really like is that you can add tabs for any file type. This is great because you can add tabs for documentation and development notes, which I currently do with tabs in the standard IDE but it doesn't allow me to use the appropriate extension.

I do think the web editor is a good thing in itself but the trouble is there are limited development resources. The work put into Create has definitely come at the cost of the standard IDE. There has been a lot of progress in the standard IDE during the same time but if you watch the development it's not going full-time. There are hundreds of legitimate issues/pull requests in the IDE repository that apparently they don't have time to get to.

Ballscrewbob: Lucky for me I have seen the work going into CREATE as a tester and am very happy with the direction and rapid progress the hard working people are capable of. Even luckier for me these people have vision that looks forward and not back into a dimly lit past.

If you had read my Reply #2 carefully you would have seen that all my comments were about the website and NOT about the product.

I stand by my comments on the website. I know nothing about the product because the first page of the website tells me nothing about the product. Have a look for a web-design book called "Don't make me think" by Steve Krug.

Comments like this

The difference between being good and just a plain old obstinate, cantankerous and words of that ilk seems to elude you.

say more about you than they do about me. I will treat it as a compliment.

...R

Skipping right on by some other obscure comment...

@ Pert

Thanks for the honest discussion.

The co-operation factor of sharing code is one I see as being a major selling point much in the same way codebender allowed.

Github has its place and is a very valuable rescource but as you rightly say it may be a learning curve for a lot of people. I think again the simplicity of Create plays another factor here in trying to keep the curve as small as possible for new entrants.

Those lib warnings you see have already raised questions from users and the stock reply is to ignore them but it would be nice not to have those warnings so feel free to help in that respect as I know you have more knowledge in that area than many of us. I found a couple myself but hey got fixed PDQ.

I don't thinks its a true central repo but it does have the makings of a much better approach especially for new people who don't have to worry about finding things. The "contributed" libs is also I think a good step up for CREATE.

LOL you have an ear closer to the ground than I do on the teams so I bow to your much greater knowledge.

When I initially spoke to the team and made my case for CH340 I was told it might be a long time coming. I was as surprised as you when I did a wrong board upload select a few days later and it went through ! Yes adding them to the real IDE would be a massive bonus to forum members and again that is one of your areas of expertise so I look forward to good news from you (big grin)

As far as dev with the real IDE my source for that is the forum and comments often made about nobody talking to the users or lack of real testing that in many cases comes from higher ranking users.

Yes agreed 100% moving between IDE's is not yet seamless and looks like it has a lot of work ahead of it. That said it cant be an easy task to code for some aspects of the regular IDE into a web interface so in the almost 3 months since it went live they have put a lot of effort into it and I don't want to detract from that work. There is still a lot of blank real estate on CREATE so who really knows what bells and whistles are in the pipe.

There are some pretty good tab examples and I think they show a little better on the web than in the IDE although that's probably just me.

Not really sure CREATE has come at a great cost to the regular IDE as I think could add to it as things go on making both work together must surely involve a two way street. Little ideas here and there etc. Plus the deeper understanding the team has for both side of the coin must benefit somebody and hopefully that's the end users regardless of the IDE chosen. And if they also need to hit a few GIT issues from the regular IDE on the way to make it happen for CREATE....

Oh and thanks for the deeper background on the project.

Android they say is coming and that's something I also look forward to.

Codebender added the CH340G drivers at my request. I opened a wishlist issue with them and explained what it was all about and how it would be beneficial, and bang, they got it done. The wrote me back a couple weeks later and said they had worked with the CG340G manufacturer and built a driver package that would go right into their walkthrough package install. They did Windows first, and I was looking for Mac, but nevertheless it was impressive.

dmjlambert: Codebender added the CH340G drivers at my request. I opened a wishlist issue with them and explained what it was all about and how it would be beneficial, and bang, they got it done. The wrote me back a couple weeks later and said they had worked with the CG340G manufacturer and built a driver package that would go right into their walkthrough package install. They did Windows first, and I was looking for Mac, but nevertheless it was impressive.

@dmjlambert, thanks a lot for the love :) it's been a real pleasure building codebender, and the appreciation of our work from so many people like you is the one thing I'm keeping from all this.

yes, CodeBender did something interesting in the past years and I looked at their project from both a technical and business point of view. I think they made some mistakes but it is usual when you innovate.

I can agree with @Robin2, Arduino Create does not fit everyone, that's why we will always keep supporting the development of the Java IDE, it is a completely different approach. Arduino Create is not just the Editor, it is a set of applications. https://create.arduino.cc/editor/ is the right place to start if you want to test the Editor only.

@pert, just to clarify, the Create team is about 4 people (in the last month 5) and none of them is full time on create. Arduino Create is giving us the opportunity to stress the arduino-builder a lot and that's why the builder itself was improved in the last few months very quickly.

What we worked on in the last 2 years was to create a set of applications that can be used by both the Create Web Editor and the Arduino IDE. That's why we switched many components to golang so they can be reused as modules by both projects.

Arduino Create Editor gives us the opportunity to experiment a bit more because does not have a very large community yet and does not have to deal with some legacy support. An example of a feature developed in Create and liked a lot by the Java IDE users is the better autodiscovery of the boards and the link between sketches and boards. So they are two different project mutually beneficial from the new ecosystem.

About the planning:

As mentioned already (thanks @Ballscrewbob) we are working on the library manager for the next release. It is planned to support other boards/vendors.

This is one of the most interesting discussions I have read in the forum about Arduino Create in the last few months. So thanks everyone for the feedback and let's keep in touch.

mastrolinux: I can agree with @Robin2, Arduino Create does not fit everyone,

Thank you for the mention, but I said nothing at all about whether Arduino Create is a fit for anyone or everyone. how could I make a comment like that when I have no idea what it is.

Why can't the opening web page have something like this Hi. Welcome. Arduino Create combines a web-based version of the Arduino IDE and X and Y and Z so that you can write an Arduino program and do Q and W and E all using your browser.

You can probably see evidence of how little I know about Arduino Create right there in that paragraph.

[rant] I really detest it when it is necessary to go past the first web page just to find out if something has any interest for me [/rant]

I will say no more on the subject.

...R

@Robin2 at the top of the https://create.arduino.cc/ page if you click on the "What is Arduino Create" I read in the first few lines:

"Arduino Create — an integrated online platform that enables Makers to write code, access content, configure boards, and share projects."

It is very similar to what you wrote, isn't it?

mastrolinux: at the top of the https://create.arduino.cc/ page if you click on the "What is Arduino Create"

....

It is very similar to what you wrote, isn't it?

You are perfectly correct - and that is one of the problems. The stuff I wrote tells nobody anything useful!

The other problem is the need to CLICK.

...R