View Full Version : Using a visual programming / development software with Arbotix?

06-14-2017, 08:06 PM
Hey all,

I wasn't sure if this was better suited here in the Software and Programming section or for the micro-controller / Arbotix section. I've been out of the robotics world for a while, and while to get my feet wet again I reread an Arduino book I have, and the author mentioned the use of visual development software. The examples sited were VVVV and Max, and after a quick search, it looks like Visuino (http://www.visuino.com) and Embrio (http://embrio.io/) might be fairly robust solutions. However, looking at their sites, it looks like they may basically be for Arduino branded boards, so I wasn't sure about being able to use them with the Arbotix boards. I wanted to see if anyone had any experience using a solution like this (visual programming, less lines of code and more diagrams / boxes with lines) with Arbotix (I'm a fan of Dynamixels) or knew if it was even possible before I start investing a lot of time learning these softwares only to find out that they really don't interface with the Arbotix. I'm not trying to avoid using code at all, its that I've actually never used a graphical programming solution and am intrigued by it. I'm not looking for a lot of hand holding if it is indeed possible, just either some quick advice or even just a "yay" / "nay" on whether or not this is something worth looking into. :confused:



06-15-2017, 10:48 AM
My recommendation:
- If you have a particular project you want to accomplish, and that project is not super complicated, then a visual environment might work.
- If you actually want to learn robotics, which is an integration of software, electronics, and mechanics, then the visual environment will get in the way, and you should use the text-based tools.

I don't know the tools you're suggesting, but if they work as tools "on top of" the Arduino tool chain, then chances are that they may be able to work with whatever board the Arduino IDE can work with, and if so, you could try them with the Arbotix.
Of course, what's the worst that could happen? You'd try them, they don't work, and then you're back to using the base Arduino IDE, which is what you'd have to do anyway, so it's probably worth a try, unless you're very constrained for time, or if the tools cost more money than you're comfortable gambling on.

06-16-2017, 01:33 PM
As jwatte said, it depends on the scale of your project. It might be fine and easy for a small one, but visual programs will quickly become frustrating in their limitations if your project is large or expands over time.
As something of an in-between, have a look at Fritzing, which is breadboard/circuit design combined program that also includes an integrated code editor.

06-19-2017, 03:20 PM
Thanks to you both! I will certainly take a look at Fritzing, but it does sound like it would be good to stay involved with line by line code. What I'm thinking of working on would start off simply enough, but I could see it easily growing in scope to where it sounds like it would be best to be using code anyways.

I appreciate your collective advice! :D