The Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) allows processor boards such as the Arduino Uno or Arduino Mega to be easily programmed by using a programming language based on C/C++. Programs are written using a simple text editor which offers a range of programmer-oriented features including syntax highlighting and automated indenting. A wide range of example programs are also available from the pull-down menu system.
Completed programs may be dowloaded via a USB cable to the attached hardware by clicking a single button on the IDE toolbar. The program will run automatically once the download process completes.
Installing The Arduino IDE
The Arduino IDE may be freely downloaded from the Arduino Software page as a ZIP file, which should be extracted as a folder to a suitable location on your hard disk. To run the application, Windows users may double-click the arduino.exe application which is located in the root folder, or alternatively right-click and select the Send to > Desktop option to create a desktop shortcut.
Once the Arduino IDE is running for the first time, then plug-in the Arduino board using a suitable USB cable, which should cause the Found New Hardware wizard to run automatically. Unfortunately, this process may fail, in which case you should follow the manual driver installation process for your operating system, as linked from the Getting Started page.
Once this process completes, a new virtual COM port should be created, which will be used for communication with the Arduino board. This will typically be identified by having a higher port number than any physical COM ports. The current COM port setting and identified hardware are displayed at the lower right of the IDE window, and both of these options may be modified from the Tools pull-down menu, if required.