[Feature Request] Editor "Plugins/Tools" additional functions


I’m developing some functions in an external tool that auto-generates code and uses Arduino IDE for compilation/upload.

It creates a WebServer that uses the “tool functionality in Arduino IDE”
that receives the code by POST and commands by GET requests.

Because some methods/fields where not public.
I had to add some methods and change Editor.java

It should be nice if the Arduino team can make this available in the next Arduino version.
Maybe others could use this new functionality as well.

Here is the changes I made:

at beginning of Editor-class add
private ArrayList tools = new ArrayList<>();

in private void addTools(JMenu menu, File sourceFolder)

replaced tool.init(Editor.this);
with tools.add(tool);

at end of Editor-class constructor add

// this makes sure that GUI is loaded before any "Plugins" is initialized
// so that when a "Plugin" loads it can use the LOG window to show info.
for (int i = 0; i < tools.size(); i++)

add five functions/methods to Editor-class

public void verifyCompile()
 handleRun(false, presentHandler, runHandler);
  public void upload()
  public boolean addNewFile(String fileName, String contents) // for the API
 File newFile = new File(sketch.getFolder(), fileName);
 int fileIndex = sketch.findFileIndex(newFile);
 if (fileIndex >= 0) { // file allready exist, just change the contents.
  return true;
 SketchFile sketchFile;
 try {
  sketchFile = sketch.addFile(fileName);
  addTab(sketchFile, contents);
 } catch (IOException e) {
  // This does not pass on e, to prevent showing a backtrace for
  // "normal" errors.
  Base.showWarning(tr("Error"), e.getMessage(), null);
  return false;
 return true;
  public boolean removeFile(String fileName) // for the API, so that files could be removed
 File newFile = new File(sketch.getFolder(), fileName);
 int fileIndex = sketch.findFileIndex(newFile);
 if (fileIndex >= 0) { // file exist
  SketchFile sketchFile = sketch.getFile(fileIndex);
  try {
 // just set current tab to the main tab

 // update the tabs
 return true;
  } catch (IOException e) {
 // This does not pass on e, to prevent showing a backtrace for
 // "normal" errors.
 Base.showWarning(tr("Error"), e.getMessage(), null);
 return false;
  public boolean renameFile(String oldFileName, String newFileName) // for the API, so that it can rename files
 File newFile = new File(sketch.getFolder(), oldFileName);
 int fileIndex = sketch.findFileIndex(newFile);
 if (fileIndex >= 0) { // file exist
  SketchFile sketchFile = sketch.getFile(fileIndex);
  try {
 // update the tabs
 return true;
  } catch (IOException e) {
 // This does not pass on e, to prevent showing a backtrace for
 // "normal" errors.
 Base.showWarning(tr("Error"), e.getMessage(), null);
 return false;

i have attached the Webserver tool/plugin with the source file so that you can see how I use the new functionality . It uses json-20200518.jar from Central Repository: org/json/json/20200518 for the JSON parser.
this zip could be extracted in tools folder of your Arduino installation.

And yes i know about the CLI but with that there need to be an external program that takes care of the WebServer part.

I wanted to use the GUI so that it’s easier for users to view, understand and verify the generated code.

And last a question about how/if I can use the word Arduino in the code generation tool.

API_WebServer.zip (78.6 KB)

I fixed it by using reflection so with that I can access protected and private members

and by using:

public void init(Editor editor) { // required by tool loader
    this.editor = editor;
    editor.addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {			
      public void windowOpened(WindowEvent e) {
          init(); // this is the autostart function

to make sure the editor is loaded before I try access anything.

API_WebServer.zip (102 KB)

Very interesting. Thanks so much for sharing! I always like to see what people do with the plugin functionality of the Arduino IDE. I think it doesn't get as much use as it might because a lot of people don't even know the IDE has this capability.

With your new approach, are you able to use the tool with the unmodified Arduino IDE?

With your new approach, are you able to use the tool with the unmodified Arduino IDE?

Yes it’s unmodified, is working, even tried it on ubuntu 20.04
except that the seperator line in the tools menu
dissapear after some time,
when adding additional items to this menu, in this case a config menu item that loads a form (made by the very simple “non bloatware” GUI editor GuiGenie <1MB)

I could do a submenu that replaces the “API Web Server Start” tool menu item, but at the moment it was easier to just add it like this.

adding items to the menu seems buggy, don't work as expected , so I did a submenu instead that replaces the standard tool menu item

Latest update contains:
With help of the Arduino source code, I have created a Custom ConsoleOutputStream named ConsoleOutputStream2
that is initialized with:

EditorConsole editorConsole;
private ConsoleOutputStream2 out;
private ConsoleOutputStream2 err;
private SimpleAttributeSet console_stdOutStyle;
private SimpleAttributeSet console_stdErrStyle;

public void setCurrentEditorConsole() {
    if (out == null) {
       out = new ConsoleOutputStream2(console_stdOutStyle, System.out, cs);
       System.setOut(new PrintStream(out, true));
       err = new ConsoleOutputStream2(console_stdErrStyle, System.err, cs);
       System.setErr(new PrintStream(err, true));

private void fetchPrivateConsoleFields(){
    Field f;
    f = Editor.class.getDeclaredField("console");
    editorConsole = (EditorConsole) f.get(this.editor); // editor is provided by the normal tool interface

    f = EditorConsole.class.getDeclaredField("stdOutStyle");
    console_stdOutStyle = (SimpleAttributeSet) f.get(this.editorConsole);

    f = EditorConsole.class.getDeclaredField("stdErrStyle");
    console_stdErrStyle = (SimpleAttributeSet) f.get(this.editorConsole);

WebSocket server from GitHub - TooTallNate/Java-WebSocket: A barebones WebSocket client and server implementation written in 100% Java.
This WebSocket is used to send above terminal data to the client,

the complete source is available at
all source is in that file

I have made some rework of the source code,
and made it a own repository on github that is now regularly updated.

there is also a README that explains the structure of the POST JSON
and the other functionality.

source code changes:
*each class have it's own file.
There is some work to do on the "main" API_Webserver.java
because it have 700 lines of code and I personally think that is too much.
I will probably make a separate class for the settings and the part that communicate directly with Arduino IDE.

New functionality:

  • now there is the possibility to have a optional keywords.txt in the sketch folder (the project) so that custom keywords for own created classes can be made highlighted.

  • @ HTTP POST each JSON item is now optional, but removeOtherFiles and files is used together in that order.

  • @ HTTP POST there are now an keywords "object" that contains a list of additional keywords used by the POST:ed files, that keywords is stored in a keywords_temp.txt in sketch folder so that is available direct after the sketch/IDE is loaded.

  • Autocomplete (because Arduino IDE uses RSyntaxTextArea) I found this GitHub - bobbylight/AutoComplete: A code completion library for Swing text components, with special support for RSyntaxTextArea.
    that is using RSyntaxTextArea

this autocomplete function is activated on an empty line with ctrl+space
"live" autocomplete is not working at the moment.

note that the line can also contain some letters but then the words provided
must begin with that.

The autocomplete function uses a file located in the tool folder of this "Plugin/Extension" "c.xml"

that file contains all the words that is currently supported (it's contents is from the example provided by the author of AutoComplete)

there is not any words from the Arduino library,
but I plan to do a automatic lockup from the files located in
and auto generate a c.xml that can be put into the Arduino "Sketchbook location" (in preferences)

Also by looking at the source and did some experiments
I also found out that you can have a tools folder in above "Sketchbook location" there "plugins" like this can be installed,
that makes it much easier to install on every OS including mac.

Also I have read some threads here about missing functionality,
all those requested functionality
"theme editor"
"boards alphabetic/custom/mostUused order"
"store current processor in sketch(folder)"
and so on

everything that can be manipulated by Reflect can also be done with this plugin functionalty.

What is needed are some functionality like the library have to download and install plugins
It could off course also be made as an plugin, by anyone.


What is needed are some functionality like the library have to download and install plugins
It could off course also be made as an plugin, by anyone.

A "plugin manager" plugin. Very nice!

That could even be useful for Arduino's official WiFi101/NINA firmware updater plugin because currently the NINA firmware releases are coming out at a much shorter interval than the IDE releases, but the primary method for distributing NINA firmware releases is via the WiFi101/NINA firmware updater plugin bundled with the Arduino IDE. I've been recommending people to download the hourly build of the Arduino IDE just to get the latest firmware version.

Why can't you just use some kind of firmware downloader inside your plugin to fetch the updates automatically from a server (they are just files stored in a folder)?
Seems very unnecessary to download a full copy of the Arduino IDE every time a little file of ~1MB is updated/added.

I have done a additional plugin + a template for anyone to use

The arduinoPrefsSaver plugin is used to save the current board settings (only)
to a preferences.txt located in the sketch folder.
This pref. file is then loaded when a sketch is opened and merged(all values replaced by new) into the current PreferencesData and then applied with code I found in the Arduino Source.

There are some twerks as I explained in the Teensy forum:
read from post #12

here is a copy of the posts (if that forum change the link system)

post #12
I have make a kind of working prototype as a (Arduino IDE Plugin/Extension/Tool) so it works on any OS.
It works like you want, by having certain preferences saved to current sketch folder

available at:

*How to Install
download this repository by either Code-Download Zip or
by git clone https://github.com/manicken/arduinoPrefsSaver.git
then extract/open the repository

global (into sketchbook folder (defined in Arduino IDE - Preferenses):
make a new folder in the above defined sketchbook folder
called tools
then copy the manickenPrefSaver from the repository into this new "tools" folder.

new menu items:

here you can "activate/save current board settings" and deactivate the plugin functionality.

right now there is not any possibility to select what to save
but the items I have selected work for the moment.

right now it messes up the tools menu a little:

that is after I have used teensy 4.0
and opened a project that uses Arduino Uno

There is the possibility to change the setting without any mess,
because you can select boards the normal way without mess,
but I have not figured it out yet.

the following items are saved:


i.e. all items beginning with:
and equals board


post #13
It works this way

When its "Activated" by the user, it takes those listed items above
and save them into a preferences.txt at the sketch folder (alias the project)

When this sketch is loaded again, while had selected another sketch.
Then it checks for preferences.txt and if that file is found it merges that contents into the "global"
preferences, and then apply that changes (this is where the menu gets a little messy I will fix that tomorrow).

If preferences.txt is not found then nothing will happen.

The Deactivate just renames preferences.txt to preferences.inactive.txt.

This can be used in a future release (of the plugin)

If you want you can compile the plugin from source, just change the arduino install dir of the respective compile scripts, (also java sdk 8 (1.8) is needed with the correct PATH variables set.

I have also made a plugin template project GitHub - manicken/arduinoIDEpluginTemplate: this is a template with some nice features that can be useful

that anyone can use to create their own plugins,
it contains helper methods
for example Refect
if you want more there is also the API_webserver that contains more functionality

[tt]post #14[/tt]
First a little how Arduino IDE works with preferences (settings)
(Instance=when the IDE is started from the OS)

When the IDE starts it loads the pref. file
Then directly after it saves it back

Every time a new/(existing sketch) window is opened (from the File-menu)
it saves to this pref. file
(verified by looking at the file to see it's "Date modified" change)

When the last window of the instance is closed it also saves to pref. file.

When having multiple windows open in the same instance
they all share the same current Pref. (because it's static global)

The only way of having multiple pref. (multiple selected boards)
at the same time is to have multiple instances loaded.
(you don't need to have multiple installations for this)

Now I have done some more testing of my plugin.

The mess I was seeing is some kind of feature the IDE have.

Actually it works correctly:

When a (existing sketch) with a previous saved pref. is opened.
This according to above (IDE working stuff) loads this to the instance pref.
and all open windows of that same instance is gonna use this new setting.

But as I have stated before the sketch pref. is only saved when using the Extension-Menu commands
so the previous sketch don't loose the (sketch pref. settings) by load of this new window.

The mess in the menu disappears when closing the previous window.
(don't really know the inner working of that)
the board selection menu code is a little messy.

Also a little note. right now when open a existing sketch
and the sketch pref. is loaded it also rebuild the File-Examples menu
this takes little time to load, just so that you know what is happening.
When the extensions menu is visible it's done loading.
I will make this a optional by a setting in the next release.

Hey, great work. Have they implemented your editor changes yet? I am making a XY plotter as a tool but also ran into protected/private/default methods/variables from the Editor.

Could you help me out and explain what you did/meant by fixed by using reflection?

In my case, the editor's handlePlotter() will check if serialMonitor and serialPlotter is open. I essentially copied handlePlotter in my tool but cannot check if serialMonitor/serialPlotter is open from editor. (they are default package visible only)

I'll probably just open a PR on the arduino github: GitHub - arduino/Arduino: open-source electronics platform
But if you found a way around it, lmk!

I fixed it by using reflection so with that I can access protected and private members

and by using:

public void init(Editor editor) { // required by tool loader

this.editor = editor;
   editor.addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {
     public void windowOpened(WindowEvent e) {
         init(); // this is the autostart function

to make sure the editor is loaded before I try access anything.

By using reflection you can access those non public members.
An by this way the Arduino team don't needs to make any changes to the source code.

Except in some special cases (I actually did not get the local pref. to work as I wanted and that is still a work in progress)

I have made a helper class for the reflection stuff.

use these imports:

import processing.app.AbstractMonitor;
import com.manicken;

then the example code:

Editor editor;
AbstractMonitor serialMonitor;
AbstractMonitor serialPlotter;

public void init(Editor editor) { // required by tool loader
    this.editor = editor;
    // using the following ensure that the editor is completely loaded
    // before accessing anything
    editor.addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {
        public void windowOpened(WindowEvent e) {
            serialMonitor = (AbstractMonitor)Reflect.GetField("serialMonitor", editor);
            serialPlotter = (AbstractMonitor)Reflect.GetField("serialPlotter", editor);
            // other init stuff
            // ......
            // here I can check if serial monitor is closed 
            if (serialMonitor.isClosed())

I have some problems with the current implementation of the tool loader.

The started webserver and websocket servers should be able to be shared between the different editors.

It can be solved by only allowing one server to be active at any time.

But what it’s needed is a list in the editor where all loaded “tools” can be accessed.

So by going down to the base class I can go thought all loaded editor-instances and then in each editor go though the loaded “tools” to find my tool and then close the connections on all other “servers”
then start the servers on the last loaded “tool”.

Right now I think I can utilize the menu to create a custom JMenuItem in which the current instance of the tool can be stored at a tag element, but the best way should be to have a array as stated above.

It will be a custom JMenu with a Tool item tag.

Now I reached the limits :confused:

Now I Have tried the above:

By creating a Custom class
ToolJMenu extends javax.swing.JMenu

that have a public reference to the Tool:
public Tool tool = null;

But had some casting problems.
That was later verified by
Java Reflection - Dynamic Class Loading and Reloading

If the myClassReloadingFactory object factory reloads the MyObject class using a different class loader than the class the above code resides in, you cannot cast the instance of the reloaded MyObject class to the MyObject type of the object variable. Since the two MyObject classes were loaded with different class loaders, the are regarded as different classes, even if they have the same fully qualified class name. Trying to cast an object of the one class to a reference of the other will result in a ClassCastException.

found internalToolCache but that only contains the internal tools.
the only way of resolving this is by having a:
public List tools;
in Editor.java
which contains all loaded tools.

also now getting

[javac] Compiling 1 source file to C:_githubClones\Arduino-1.8.13\app\bin
[javac] C:_githubClones\Arduino-1.8.13\app\src\processing\app\Editor.java:25: error: cannot access I18n
[javac] import static processing.app.I18n.tr;
[javac] ^
[javac] bad class file: C:_githubClones\Arduino-1.8.13\arduino-core\arduino-core.jar(processing/app/I18n.class)
[javac] class file has wrong version 55.0, should be 52.0
[javac] Please remove or make sure it appears in the correct subdirectory of the classpath.

out of the blue
was prev. able to compile but now it’s just stuck

The compile error was fixed by removing all compiled class files in both
then do a complete recompile at both “arduino-core” and “app”.

And now after some additional experiments,
the only way of fixing my problem:
“is that I have 3 servers and 1 midi devices in a “open” state
and when a new sketch is opened “from the same Arduino IDE instance”
and the previous is closed (either manually or automatically)
then there is no way of closing the previous “open” servers and devices,
because with the current implementation of the “Tool” interface there is no
unload function”

Here comes the working fix (that must be applied to the Arduino IDE source code):

  1. Add additional Tool interface (to make old “extension” tools backwards compatible)
    ** public interface ToolExt extends Tool { **
    that have an **void unload(); **

  2. Add “public List tools;” into Editor.java
    @Editor.java private void addTools(JMenu menu, File sourceFolder) {

after “tool.init(Editor.this);
add if (tools == null) tools = new ArrayList();

  1. then in my “Extension”
    use it like this
public void CloseOtherEditors()
    List<Editor> editors = base.getEditors();
    boolean anyStopped = false;
    for (int ei = 0; ei < editors.size(); ei++)
        Editor _editor = editors.get(ei);
        if (this.editor == _editor) // don't unload current editor

        // first execute the unload on similar extensions
        for (int ti = 0; ti < _editor.tools.size(); ti++)
            if (!_editor.tools.get(ti).getClass().getName().equals(API_WebServer.class.getName()))

            try {
                ToolExt tool = (ToolExt)_editor.tools.get(ti);
                System.out.println("tool unload:" + _editor.getSketch().getName());
                //API_WebServer apiws = (API_WebServer)tool;
                //System.out.println("other extension: " + apiws.thisToolMenuTitle);
            }catch (Exception e) {System.err.println("tool type:" + _editor.tools.get(ti).getClass().getName());}
        base.handleClose(_editor); // close other

my github fork with the above changes

these are small changes that only affects extensions and could be merged into the main branch of Arduino without any problems.

As I don’t give up so easily
I have now found a solution.
That don’t uses the additional modifications to the Arduino source code as stated in previous post.

by having following init method in “extension” main class

public void init(Editor editor) { // required by tool loader
    this.editor = editor;

    editor.addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {
        public void windowOpened(WindowEvent e) {  init(); }
        public void windowClosed(WindowEvent e) { DisconnectServers(); } // this ensure that Disconnect is done on closed "Editors"
    editor.addComponentListener( new ComponentListener() {
        public void componentResized( ComponentEvent e ) {}
        public void componentMoved( ComponentEvent e ) {}
        public void componentShown( ComponentEvent e ) {}
        public void componentHidden( ComponentEvent e ) { DisconnectServers(); }
    } );

in the beginning of init have this:

if (PreferencesData.getBoolean("manicken.apiWebServer.DoDisconnectOnOtherEditors", true))

if (PreferencesData.getBoolean("manicken.apiWebServer.closeOtherEditors", false))

in the end of init method have this:

Timer timer = new Timer();
timer.schedule(new TimerTask(){
    public void run() {
}, 1000);

the above ensures that there is enough time for the previous servers to close down.

CloseOtherEditors & DoDisconnectOnOtherEditors implementations:

public static void CloseOtherEditors(Editor thisEditor)
    Base _base = (Base) Reflect.GetField("base", thisEditor);
    List<Editor> editors = _base.getEditors();
    boolean anyStopped = false;
    for (int ei = 0; ei < editors.size(); ei++)
        Editor _editor = editors.get(ei);
        if (thisEditor == _editor)
        _base.handleClose(_editor); // close other

public static void DoDisconnectOnOtherEditors(Editor thisEditor)
    Base _base = (Base) Reflect.GetField("base", thisEditor);
    List<Editor> editors = _base.getEditors();
    boolean anyStopped = false;
    for (int ei = 0; ei < editors.size(); ei++)
        Editor _editor = editors.get(ei);
        if (thisEditor == _editor)
        _editor.setVisible(false); // this triggers the componentHidden event 
    // this makes the last editor window topmost

There is still a issue with the solution:
When not using the autoclose function
and closing the prev. editor window the midi device is disconnected.
But if that happens then I only need to go to
the extension menu and click on Start/Restart.

At least the Arduino IDE don’t need to be completely restarted each time
the “Stop” extension menu item is forgotten to be used.

All the above also makes it possible to just open prev. sketch
after I have done a recompile of the “extension”, without any extra issues.

Here is a list of all "extensions" I have developed so far:

1. GitHub - manicken/arduinoAPIwebserver: A tool plugin for Arduino IDE that starts a webserver, that is used to add/remove/rename code files and control verify/compile and upload functions
this is developed mostly for my extended edition of
"Audio System Design Tool for Teensy Audio Library"
@ GitHub - manicken/manicken.github.io: custom Design Tool that re-enable use of workspace-tabs, and functionality to export each tab as class (have readme)
webpage is @ https://manicken.github.io/


  • WebServer for POST(ing) the JSON
    which contains the exported Files,
    it uses the GET request to execute
    the Verify and Upload functions.

  • WebSocketServer for Arduino Terminal Capture
    used for send the terminal output from Arduino IDE
    back to the webpage.

  • WebSocketServer used to send data to/from the GUI - items
    currently only used to send/receive midi commands,
    but standard serial port is planned.

here is a thread describing the extended tool (same content as the readme):

2. GitHub - manicken/arduinoPrefsSaver: Plugin for Arduino IDE that make it possible to have "sketch site" selectable settings (preferences)
makes it possible to have individual board settings for each "sketch".

3. GitHub - manicken/arduinoIDEpluginTemplate: this is a template with some nice features that can be useful
just a "extension" template.

  1. GitHub - manicken/arduinoIDEsketchBuildPath: When this plugin is activated it will automatically set the pref. build.path to "current sketch dir"\build
    make the build output the files to a build subfolder in the sketch
    this ensures that there is no need to do a full compile every time the
    sketch is reopened,
    (this is a time saver on very big projects that take a lot time to compile)

5. GitHub - manicken/arduinoUploadOnly: a plugin for the Arduino IDE that replaces the standard functionality upload button with a variant that don't first compiles the sketch.
changes the behavior of the upload button so that it only
executes the upload function,
(this is a time saver when uploading to targets that often fail at the upload)

6. GitHub - manicken/arduinoExtendedPrint: Arduino IDE extension that makes it possible to print code in color and with or without line numbers
makes it possible to print the sketch in color/(black & white)
with or without line numbers.
A print preview is shown (where enabling/disabling color print,
and if line numbers should be shown)
There is two print options, the Alt one can be used on mac when print to PDF is used,
the downside with the Alt version is that paper orientation is current locked to Landscape,
setting will be available in future version.

now I have moved the AutoComplete functionality embedded into the API_WebServer
to a separate repository

this autocomplete extension
is using

because it's also the creator of RSyntaxTextArea
which is used by the Arduino IDE text editor

In this stage it can only be activated by ctrl+space
and contains no Arduino Keywords (only default C/C++ syntax)
I'm planning to do a automatic keyword generator that is gonna do a search in the embedded documentation.

What is this new 120day autoclose functionality, and the looks of the forum is very bad.
The unlimited scroll sucks on Every page that uses it, what is wrong with paged sites?.

Guess i have to edit this post when doing new updates.

This topic was automatically closed 120 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.