Share your experiences with IDE's, please

In a post here on the forum Platform I/O was mentioned. @techman83 wrote when I asked about what IDE he used:

This peaked my interest in IDE’s… mostly because I hadn’t even heard of it…and I thought maybe this would be a good opportunity and place to talk about what you all as Makers use for an IDE and why you chose it. Did you chose the IDE you are using because you are a programmer/coder and you were trained to use it? Did you start out in the Arduino IDE like a number of others did and grew out of it? Or is Arduino your go-to for whatever you do? I know there are a number of environments out there and can’t say I even have a clue how many or for what types of coding they are for.

I use the Arduino IDE mostly because Arduino is what got me back into the electronics world. I have no code experience and most of my coding is cut, paste, chop, erase, modify, curse a little, ask for help finding my way out of the weeds and finally success thanks to many that are smarter than I. But I want to learn more and I know that the Arduino IDE is basically the Fisher Price, ‘My First IDE’ of coding environments.

Leon’s posting of Platform I/O got me searching around to see what all it is about and it looks like it is WAAAAAY over my head at this point but I am open to learning anything if there are resources out there to teach me. If you feel like you have the time to put in some words in reply to this thread, would you take the time to answer the following questions, with some detail if possible?:

What IDE do you use primarily for your project IDE and why did you chose it?
If you were talking to a newbie in the Maker world, what direction would you point them in the programming and IDE world? Like are there resources you would suggest they look at in this regard…

I think this post might be helpful to others… and I know it will be helpful to me. We have a good group of people here and I know that we are as diverse as we are numbered. I for one am having a blast here and I learn so much every single day from the Maker world.


At my day job on any given day I work in 3-6 different programming/markup languages. In doing my hobby stuff (not daily but I find a few hours a week) add another 3.

I generally use VS Code -

I’ve been using the Arduino IDE desktop app for OSX. But when you posted this topic, I thought to myself, since I use VS Code at work why not see if there’s an Arduino add-on. As @mcaden has already pointed out, there is :smile:

I’ll have a play over the weekend as to how to configure custom libraries etc. Arduino for VS Code.

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My use of VIM is a combination of Inertia and being able to do a lot without taking my hands off the keyboard. Something about engaging my brain for navigating a GUI interrupts my mental flow, which also the attraction for platformIO.

write code, ctrl + pgup to next xterm window
platformio run
ctrl + pgdwn back to vim and fix typo that failed compiling

VS Code has a real lot of energy behind it, so there are a lot of really nice modern features and plugins. We use it at work and my boss has put a lot of effort into streamlining the project configs, so using it is helpful in a lot of ways. But I haven’t got around the break in flow yet (mostly navigating the terminal window). It’s just a little clunky at times, which when I just want to GetSomethingDone™ I revert back to VIM.