ESP8266 + Arduino + Eclipse

TL;DR: PlatformIO offers a complete toolchain, libraries, makefile and IDE integration

Making a new microcontroller work is hard. You need to get a feel for the surrounding community and the way the manufacturer imagined them to work. PlatformIO solves all those problems and more.
What you get is:

  • the toolchain
  • package management for libraries
  • makefile
  • integration into your IDE of choice
  • tools necessary for upload
  • over-the-air (OTA) update if possible
  • support of frameworks like Arduino and mbed

You can use pip (Python Package Manager) for a fast platform-independent install. Yes, that means you can flash your ESP8266 from your smartphone or your Mac.

pip install -U platformio

 

Afterwards it’s ready to use. I’ll show you a quick walk through for a new ESP project.

platformio platform search esp

 

delivers this result:

espressif8266 ~ Espressif 8266
==============================
Espressif Systems is a privately held fabless semiconductor company. They provide wireless communications and Wi-Fi chips which are widely used in mobile devices and the Internet of Things applications.

Home: http://platformio.org/platforms/espressif8266
Packages: tool-mkspiffs, tool-esptool, framework-arduinoespressif8266, toolchain-xtensa
Version: 1.1.3

We can install it using

platformio platform install espressif8266

 

This will install the complete toolchain. Including the tools necessary for upload.

Afterwards you can create a new folder and initialize your first project:

platformio init --ide eclipse --board nodemcuv2

 

which gives you the following output:

The current working directory /var/tmp will be used for project.

You can specify another project directory via
`platformio init -d %PATH_TO_THE_PROJECT_DIR%` command.

The next files/directories have been created in /var/tmp
platformio.ini - Project Configuration File
src - Put your source files here
lib - Put here project specific (private) libraries

Project has been successfully initialized!
Useful commands:
`platformio run` - process/build project from the current directory
`platformio run --target upload` or `platformio run -t upload` - upload firmware to embedded board
`platformio run --target clean` - clean project (remove compiled files)
`platformio run --help` - additional information

In eclipse chose

File -> Import -> Existing Projects into Workspace. Leave the “copy project into workspace” unchecked.

Eclipse’s autocomplete feature works after you enable an index rebuild via

Project -> C/C++ Index -> Rebuild

That’s it. You have a basic project. And you can use all the fast, easy and ugly Arduino code instead of the stable, efficent and hard C/C++ code.

Let’s say you want to attach a display to your ESP8266. Search for the available OLED libraries with

platformio lib search oled

 

with the result

Found 143 libraries:

[ ID  ] Name             Compatibility         "Authors": Description
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[ 366 ] SparkFun Micro OLED Breakout arduino, atmelavr, atmelsam, espressif8266, intel_arc32, microchippic32, nordicnrf51, teensy, timsp430 "SparkFun Electronics": Library for the SparkFun Micro OLED Breakout
[ 108 ] I2Cdevlib-SSD1308 arduino, atmelavr     "Jeff Rowberg": SSD1308 is a single-chip CMOS OLED/PLED driver with controller for organic / polymer light emitting diode dot-matrix graphic display system
[ 135 ] Adafruit SSD1306 arduino, atmelavr     "Adafruit Industries": SSD1306 oled driver library for 'monochrome' 128x64 and 128x32 OLEDs
[ 156 ] SSD1331          arduino, atmelavr     "Watterott electronic": OLED-Display (SSD1331, SPI)
[ 188 ] Adafruit_GFX     mbed, freescalekinetis, nordicnrf51, nxplpc, ststm32, teensy "Neal Horman": A derived version of the BSD licensed Adafrut GFX library for the SSD1306 controller for an OLED 128x32 or 128x64 display using SPI or I2C.
[ 260 ] SparkFun_MicroView arduino, atmelavr     "SparkFun Electronics": The MicroView is a chip-sized Arduino with a built-in OLED, available from SparkFun Electronics
[ 262 ] Adafruit-SSD1331 arduino, atmelavr, espressif8266 "Adafruit Industries": This is a library for the 0.96" 16-bit Color OLED with SSD1331 driver chip
[ 312 ] SH1106           arduino, espressif8266 "Rene-Martin Tudyka": SH1106 Oled driver which offers scrolling frames, custom fonts, etc
[ 562 ] ESP8266_SSD1306  arduino, espressif8266 "Daniel Eichhorn, Fabrice Weinberg": A I2C display driver for SSD1306 oled displays connected to an ESP8266
[ 732 ] FaBo 214 OLED EROLED096 arduino, atmelavr     "FaBo, Hideki Yamauchi": A library for FaBo OLED I2C Brick
Show next libraries? [y/N]:

Install your choice with

platformio lib install 156

 

Library Storage: /var/tmp/.piolibdeps
LibraryManager: Installing id=156
Downloading  [####################################]  100%
Unpacking  [####################################]  100%
SSD1331 @ 227cf96d60 has been successfully installed!
Installing dependencies
Looking for digitalWriteFast library in registry
Found: http://platformio.org/lib/show/142/digitalWriteFast
LibraryManager: Installing id=142
Downloading  [####################################]  100%
Unpacking  [####################################]  100%
digitalWriteFast @ 227cf96d60 has been successfully installed!
Looking for GraphicsLib library in registry
Found: http://platformio.org/lib/show/146/GraphicsLib
LibraryManager: Installing id=146
Downloading  [####################################]  100%
Unpacking  [####################################]  100%
GraphicsLib @ 227cf96d60 has been successfully installed!
Installing dependencies
Looking for digitalWriteFast library in registry
Found: http://platformio.org/lib/show/142/digitalWriteFast
LibraryManager: Installing id=142
digitalWriteFast @ 227cf96d60 is already installed

You can update all installed components using

platformio update  && platformio upgrade

 

OTA update works using

platformio run -t upload --upload-port=<IP-OF-ESP-MODULE>

 

This makes starting a project so much easier. And I really like that it’s unnecessary to download libraries manually

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