Being a web-developer usually means that all you deal with are large chunks of code that render as websites or web applications. So basically you must be a software oriented person that doesn’t mind sitting in front of his screen all day long working to build up his code.
Well probably this is the case of most developers. But exceptions always exist. Who said you can’t be a developer and have a passion for electronics and hardware manipulation?
I’ll talk a little about myself. I’m a web-developer, I studied Computer Science but I always had that curiosity about electronics and how it all works. Recently, I started working on my electronics skills in my spare time. I started with the newly famous Arduino which we’ll talk about in this article.
What is Arduino?
Arduino is a company that manufactures Open-Source hardware, software and microcontrollers used to build and develop physical objects and devices.
It started as “Wiring”, a Master’s thesis project for the Colombian student Hernando Barragán in 2004 aiming to create a simple tool for average users to create their own digital devices.
Later in 2005 Massimo Banzi, with David Mellis and David Cuartielles forked the source code of “Wiring” adding support for cheaper microcontrollers and changing its name to Arduino.
Many Arduino microcontrollers exist today with a large enough collection of sensors and accessories. Large enough to make you able to create nearly anything you could think of from a simple blinking LED to a complex home automation system or even a mobile controlled robot.
Some of the most known boards and components of Arduino are the Arduino Uno usually used as a start-up board for small projects.
WiFi-shield, an extension to Arduino boards that adds the capability to connect to the network, and a whole lot of other components.
What makes Arduino special?
As we previously mentioned, Arduino is an open-source project, which makes it flexible to be customized and personalized, inexpensive to buy, and most important part easy to use thanks to the open community’s huge support for this platform; so basically you could develop your own code or even use other’s code to power your own projects.
It has cross-platform support where most other microcontrollers usually limit to Windows.
Arduino comes with a free IDE to develop your code. It’s based on the open source language “Processing” which build on Java language but with a more simplified syntax.
Online simulators also exists where you can test your code on virtual components.
In conclusion, seeing your code in work is a great joy as a developer, but what about seeing your hardware-software creation live in action in the real physical world? Well this is a totally different experience that I recommend trying. Who said you can’t be both software and hardware oriented? Arduino has opened the boundaries to a whole new dimension of possibilities worth exploring even for non-skilled persons.
So go ahead and explore the possibilities.
<Jean El Khoury>