Using other IDEs to develop

I’m used to developing in Java on a full blown IDE (e.g. Netbeans), and have rapidly got frustrated with the default Arduino editor. It’s perfect to get going quickly but once projects start using a lot of files it gets unwieldy.

There is an Arduino Netbeans plugin at that installed flawlessly, and to my surprise had a simple program compiling and loading from Netbeans onto my Arduino in 10min.

Until…I created a new empty c++ class and header file in the project source folder. With that file just in the project directory, make complains:
make[2]: *** No rule to make target C/Users/mark/Documents/Arduino/newClass.cpp', needed by build/Debug/Arduino-Windows/_ext/471861267/newClass.o’. Stop.

It’s not even #included in my main.cpp. I’m also having problems with libraries in general, Netbeans intellisense can find them (when you type “#include <” they appear in the list), but then it redlines them after saying it can’t find them, and the compiler/linker can’t find them either.

Does anyone else use external editors to develop and knows what is going on?

(I get the same errors if I “make” from the cmd line, it’s not Netbeans specific).

I’ve attached the makefile that came with the plugin.

It would be great to get this working, I miss features like code folding and built in history / git support etc!

I too find the Arduino editor a bit lacking so I installed Notepad++. Then I copy paste back to Arduino IDE to compile. :S

Notepad++ is a Gnu project and as such essentially free except for the usual and I would love it if it could be integrated too, I have several multi-file sketches and cut and paste gets . Difficult at times. I tried it and I had to give it up. It was more trouble than it was worth.


Notepad+ is great for quick editing, but for actually developing a project you can't beat a proper IDE. I'm a fan of Netbeans, but I also hear good things about Eclipse.

If I can get it working, it will be ace. Then I'll probably be trying to see if there is a way to get some debugging support! (Serial.print rapidly grows limiting!)

I've been spoilt by developing in Java on 16Gb servers :grin:

cutting/pasting into the IDE?... Wow, that seems really awkward/painful.

If all you want/need is a better editor, then why not just use one? You can easily use your favorite editor for all the editing. Just configure the Arduino IDE to use an external editor, then only use the Arduino IDE to build and upload the code. No silly cutting/pasting back into the IDE.

Not truly an IDE, but then the Arduino environment is pretty hostile to a real IDE.

You can use DDD along with gdb and avarice (assuming you have a Atmel debugger device like an MKII or AVR dragon) and get full source level debugging vs having to live with goofy serial prints. Or wrap eclipse around everything to have a full IDE. The problem is the current Arduino IDE and Arduino build methodology is pretty hostile to external tools and doing source level debugging. You have to do some manual things or write some scripts yourself to be able to kick off the debug session after the IDE finishes building the image.

With the newer version of the Arduino IDE, (the one currently used for DUE) that will eventually be available for AVR, you should be able to do a build from the command line as it has much more flexibility in the build process. This will allow fully automating the build and debug process to allow things like eclipse to work as intended and create a fully integrated IDE.


Just configure the Arduino IDE to use an external editor, then only use the Arduino IDE

So you check the "use external editor box" then how do you go about using the editor of your preference?

If you're familiar with Eclipse your can try to use the Arduino Eclipse plugin:

There a a few lengthy threads about it here on the forum. I've started using a beta version with my Teensy++2 board and it works nicely for me.

[quote author=Paul Beaudet link=topic=148812.msg1118244#msg1118244 date=1360802548]

Just configure the Arduino IDE to use an external editor, then only use the Arduino IDE

So you check the "use external editor box" then how do you go about using the editor of your preference? [/quote]

Use it just like you would on any other type of file you edit with your editor. Just remember to save the file before you click on the build or upload button in the Arduino IDE.

If it is a command line based editor, then cd down to the directory where your source is and start the editor on the file.

If it is a GUI editor then bring up the GUI editor and then open the file you want to edit.

If you have a GUI file manager and set up your associations for the .ino or .pde files to use your favorite editor, then you can use the file manager to navigate down to where the file is and then double click on it to bring up the file in your editor.

If your GUI file manager supports opening the file with other programs, then simply navigate down to where the file is and right click on it and then click on "open with" and select your favorite tool/editor to edit the file.

--- bill

Like Headroom, I also use Eclipse version 4.3.0 with the C/C++ dev tools and with Jantje's plugin installed on OSX, (I don't use microsoft windows).

It works well and has made my coding life a pleasure again. 1. I get to see exactly where any errors are. 2. I can bookmark locations in my code with XXX or TODO and easily navigate back to those areas. 3. The IDE is smart and highlights my code correctly, whether I am in Arduino land or html/css or javascript or php and so on. 4. I can refactor (rename vars) easily. 5. Code sections can be folded down for easy reading. The list goes on.

I have two workspaces open, one for my Arduino section tabs, and another with javascript and or server side code with all its tabs. When I make a modification in some part of my Arduino code that also necessitates a change in a section of javascript, I can do it all very easily in the one environment.

If you don't have any luck with your netbeanie thingy, take a look at Eclipse with the plugin.


I sometimes/often use Eclipse CDT and like it a lot. It was not very hard to install and configure the plugin.

The CDT has the native g++ toolchain with it already. So you can often write/run/test/debug/simulate difficult parts of your code on your pc, and then copy or "link" into your Arduino project.

It's amazing how helpful are the features are like autocomplete, F3 "zoom-to-definition", ctrl-tab switch between cpp and header, etc!

Cheers, John

Take a look at ArduinoDroid:

4ntoine: Take a look at ArduinoDroid:

Looks impressive but where is the download?


I wonder how much better a programmer you could be if you would take the time to read better. You will find the link on his blog site to the google store, or you can simply click from the forum here,