Compiler /IDE for PC?

I'm looking for a simple IDE / compiler to use so I can write small apps on the PC to communicate with the Arduino and massage data for importing into my sketches. I looked into Processing, but it doesn't seem well suited to my needs.

I'm looking for a simple IDE / compiler to use so I can write small apps on the PC to communicate with the Arduino

but it doesn't seem well suited to my needs.

As you have described your needs, Processing fits perfectly. Maybe you're not telling us all of your needs (well, not all - you don't need to tell us the ones that involve Claudia Schiffer and a catering pack of Nutella)

As AWOL said, Processing appears to be perfectly suited to what little you specified. Beyond processing though, you can look at the following:

Python: requires additional serial library if you want serial comms, and I found the serial library in Python to be rather limiting. C#: Can fairly quickly build a GUI interface with it. Serial comms in C# have a bit of a learning curve because the serial object runs in it's own thread, so you have to deal with that. Java: again requires additional serial library which works well on Unix based platforms, ie Linux and Mac. Windows base can be a bit sticky to get working. For some reason Oracle just decided to not support serial comms on Windows. (that may have changed recently. I haven't looked at Java in quite a while)

None of these provide a simple IDE like Processing though.

AWOL:

I'm looking for a simple IDE / compiler to use so I can write small apps on the PC to communicate with the Arduino

but it doesn't seem well suited to my needs.

As you have described your needs, Processing fits perfectly. Maybe you're not telling us all of your needs

Processing seems geared towards making simple graphical apps. It took me 15 minutes to figure out how the apps were even supposed to run since the only function which looked familiar was setup(). The main loop appears to be called Draw(), yet I see Draw2() used in some examples. There's no way to know if a particular function in an example is "special" or not. For example mousepressed() is apparently called whenever the mouse is pressed. But I wouldn't know that by looking at the example, because it's not mentioned in the comments. So a lot of swearing in frustration ensues because I can't find where the function is being called from. I also don't like the fact that you have to redeclare a string every time you want to modify it, and you have to use special functions to compare them. Is that how you have to do it in Java? (Processing is based on Java, isn't it?)

If I'm gonna spend my time learning a new language, I'd rather it not be something specialized. I spent five years with Blitz Basic, and I feel like I wasted my time since the only thing it was good for is making games. If Processing is weird because it is Java, then maybe it's worth spending some time with. But I've already got a bad taste in my mouth after spending an hour with it.

Okay, it would have been nice if this were the first thing I found when I went to the website: http://processing.org/learning/basics/setupdraw.html

I still don't see any explanation for why one example had Draw2() though.

It took me 15 minutes to figure out how the apps were even supposed to run since the only function which looked familiar was setup().

That's OK, because it took me an hour or so when I started on Arduino to find "main".

spent five years with Blitz Basic,

I know a good shrink who can help you over the worst of the flashbacks.

(BTW, it isn't "Draw", it's "draw")

Any time you're looking at building a graphical app, you're going to be dealing with language specific and possibly even platform specific APIs. That's just the nature of the beast.

I'm not looking to make a graphical app though. I just wanna import some raw sample data, convert it to 4 bit, and output it as source code for import into my sketch. :-)

I just wanna import some raw sample data, convert it to 4 bit

So why not simply export it from your sketch in the format you want? Capture the output, edit it and recomplie.

No extra fiddly steps required, no new IDE, no new experience required.

Export it from my sketch? How? I would need to load a file off my disk, and then write back to my disk, so I can then copy and paste it into the IDE. But sketches have to run on the Arduino, and I don't think there are even any commands for disk access.

[edit]

I think you're under the impression these "samples" are generated by the Arduino. The samples I refer to are actually raw sound data on my PC, which I want to convert from 8 bit to 4 bit and then store in progmem on the Arduino so I can play them back via a DAC.

I think you're under the impression these "samples" are generated by the Arduino

In the prior absence of evidence to the contrary, yes.

AWOL: In the prior absence of evidence to the contrary, yes.

Well, thanks for getting me to give Processing another shot. Once I figured out how I needed to structure the code, and found the necessary file handing functions, it's turned out to be really easy to throw together the code I need to get the job done, and I was even able to add some file dialogs instead of hardcoding it. I was also pleased to discover that it doesn't just generate applications that you can run locally, but also ones which run within a web page. This might come in handy if I decide I want to code games for the web. And I guess I might learn some Java while I'm at it.