Visual Micro shares the same configuration as the Arduino Ide. The Arduino Ide is based on the wiring framework and Visual Micro is also compatible with other Ide's that are also based on the framework. This means that all hardware that conforms to the wiring/arduino build process is automatically supported by Visual Micro without the software having prior knowlege of the hardware.
If you already have an Ide installed the installation takes just a few minutes then Arduino projects can be developed, compiled and then uploaded to your open source hardware.
Visual Micro is fully compatible with the features of the Arduino development environment and uses the same libraries, source code and development tools. The difference lies in Visual Micro's user interface which provides a more professional development environment.
New Arduino users are guided to work within the normal Arduino framework, in a similar manner to the Arduino IDE. Advanced Arduino users have a range of options that allow the simple (but restricting) Arduino rules to be broken.
IDE features such as:- see/edit library sources, jump to code definition, jump to compiler error, class explorer, intellisense, remembers board and Arduino version per project, code completion and a super fast compiler make learning and programming Arduino faster and easier.
youtube overview. A quick start guide is at the bottom of this page. See us and other development tools on arduino.cc
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Visual Micro also includes an optional (not free) Arduino software debugger.
The debugger is unique and for the first time enables Arduino developers to monitor a running Arduino by simply clicking the code they want to monitor.
The concept of clicking code and adding break or trace points is common practise. The unique element that Visual Micro provides is to silently add (inject) special (known protocol) Arduino 'Serial' instructions during compilation without altering the developers original source code.
The debugger also listens for the special debug Serial messages and populates the various debugger status windows to reflect what is happening on the Arduino. When required, for break points that pause and wait, the 'Serial' is also used by the Arduino to listen for the F5 Continue command.
The debugger supports many features found in hardware debug tools such as conditional breakpoints, hit counters and update of variables without need to re-compile. There is also a few features not found in other debug tools such as timed break points and trace points (ie: every x millis).
The usb debugger is a great assistance but does not have some features found in hardware debuggers. For example the Visual Micro debugger can only step between break points where as a hardware debugger can usually step each line of code. note: Changing break or trace point settings requires re-compile and upload to the Arduino.