Guest Julián da Silva

Minibloq: Graphical programming environment for Arduino-compatible boards

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Guest Julián da Silva

Hi!

I'm working on an new graphical programming environment for Arduino, physical computing devices and robots. It's called Minibloq and, although it's not finished yet, it's possible to see something here:

http://minibloq.org

I think it may be specially usefull in schools, and it may have some interesting features as well, like the following:

  • Runs completely offline and it's portable (can execute from a pendrive).
  • It's fast (C++ native program).
  • Really generates C/C++ code, compiles it and sends it to the board's flash, just with one click.
  • Wine compatible: It even runs on an OLPC XO (there are videos on the website).
  • Expandable.
  • Modern GUI, with dockable panes, zoom, key navigation, etc..
  • Made with open source tools (basically wxWidgets, MinGW, Code::Blocks, Inkscape...)
  • Once finished the v1.0 it will become open source (MIT like license, with just a limitation: non-military use).

I'm trying to finish a first public version some time after the end of the current Kickstarter: http://kck.st/mnWW8y

Feedback is welcome, as well as any help making this better known!

Here is a small screenshoot (a blink program):

Blink.jpg

Ah, and here are examples:

http://blog.minibloq.org/p/examples_26.html

Regards!

Julián

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Julian,

Looks like an exciting project, we might be able to work in support for the Papilio One and use the project for building IP blocks at some point.

Jack.

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Guest Julián da Silva

Hi Jack,

Papilio looks great!

I think it's possible. How do you generate the IP blocks? And how do you download them to the FPGA?

If I understand well you are not talking about using Minibloq only to program the software AVR8 processor, but to program the FPGA itself too?

Regards!

Julián

http://kck.st/mnWW8y

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Hello Julian,

We are right now working on a standardized way to generate IP blocks, so it is still a work in progress. The challenge is not really how to generate the blocks but how to connect them in a standard manner. Hopefully we will have it worked out soon.

Currently we use a Makefile with the Arduino IDE that merges the hex file that is output by avr-gcc with a bit file to program the FPGA. The merged bit file is loaded to the FPGA by another target in the Makefile.

Once we have the IP block generation process worked out it might be a great fit to use Minibloq to graphically build a whole SOC system. If you want a SD card then you drag and drop it alongside the soft processor that you want. Or VGA, or USB, or any of several IP cores.

Jack.

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Guest Julián da Silva

Hi Jack, I see.

I think in a first version, Minibloq can replace the current IDE for beginners, kids, etc., because it's current structure is designed for imperative and OOP languages. But in the future, why not to add the other part too?

What would you like to do?

Regards!

Julián

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Julian,

I think we both have some work to do, you need to focus on your core concept, and we need to work on the connectivity problem. Maybe in a couple months we can take a look at adding support for the Papilio and IP cores.

Any way you look at it your project is very exciting and has a lot of potential.

Jack.

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Guest Julián da Silva

Hi Jack, thanks. If you can help spreading the word about the project, specially about the Kickstarter campaign, it will be very helpfull

Regards!

Julián

http://kck.st/mnWW8y

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