|Arduino Feature Request - Support for old-style board plugins [message #1725565]
||Fri, 04 March 2016 13:00
| Stefan Dzisiewski-Smith
Registered: March 2016
Hello forum (first time here)|
This message is primarily for Doug Schaefer - the guy behind the Arduino Eclipse plugin. Firstly - wow! I love what you've done. I am Head of Technology at Bare Conductive and so do a lot of developing and maintaining Arduino code examples, libraries, etc. for our users. Needless to say, I am not using the Arduino IDE to achieve this - a combo of Sublime Text / EMACS / Arduino Builder / Git / Git Tower allows us to stay on top of things here - and a lot of that would be neatly implemented by Eclipse too. I discovered your plugin via one of our users who wishes to use our Touch Board with your Eclipse plugin.
Now, we only officially support the Arduino IDE (for maximum compatibility with the majority of our users) and don't (and aren't planning to) support Arduino Board Manager files. The reasons behind this are multiple, but largely centre around the fact that we want to deploy libraries, boards definitions, code examples and OS specific fixes (Linux blacklist edits, Windows drivers) smoothly for our users - which the Board Manager doesn't implement in full.
From my point of view, it would be great if the plugin allowed for the old-style board definitions and libraries - perhaps through a couple of config pages where you could have a "one path per line" way of adding folders to be included for libs and scanned for valid hardware definitions. Now, we only have one user requesting this and a request from me shouldn't be enough to derail the focus of your project! However, I think this would be useful to lots of other users too.
Not all libraries are going to be added to the Arduino library manager and not all boards are going to have board manager URLs. Over time, the proportion of libs / boards distributed via these methods will increase, but it will never cover 100% of use cases. Most significantly, when a board manufacturer (like us) is developing a new board plugin / descriptor for the Arduino IDE it is often easiest to do this without having to archive, version, bundle etc. a boards description JSON / payload package each time you want to test functionality. If a user wants to write their own library, this is easiest without having to package a library up too. Supporting the old Arduino hardware / libraries folders would maintain IDE compatibility as well - the Arduino team have confirmed that the boards manager is not destined to become the primary tool for board definition distribution, but a helpful tool for those who want to use it (and there will be many) - this was discussed in the Arduino developers mailing list.
Sadly, I doubt that I would be much help in implementing this as I have never written an Eclipse plugin in my life and have no experience of it under the hood (I use it for ARM GCC development, but that's it). I would be very happy to assist in testing this feature if you decide to implement it, however.
Either way, I thought I would start this discussion here as I couldn't find a reference to this exact issue anywhere else (the libraries issue is discussed elsewhere, but not the boards / hardware one).
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