Configure NetBeans on Ubuntu Linux to Build Arduino Projects

Project Description

Customer is having issues with Arduino IDE, with one specific issue being that the numpad navigation keys (left, right, top, bottom) do not work. It appears that this problem belongs to the Processing engine Arduino IDE uses. Installing and running Processing alone shows that the keys do not work in it either.

We need to research whether it is possible to build and hopefully debug Arduino projects with NetBeans IDE. If it is possible, we need details how to configure it.


Problem Description

Let's open the BareMinimum Arduino sketch from its examples.

Arduino IDE BareMinimum sketch

Arduino IDE BareMinimum sketch

If we try to use the numpad navigation keys to move the cursor between sketch code lines - nothing happens. Problematic keys are in red rectangles on the screenshot below. Notice that the keys in the green rectangle work fine.

Non working keys are highlighted in red

Non working keys are highlighted in red

Customer is used to NetBeans IDE, which seems to provide a more professional development environment. We need to investigate whether we can build, run, and debug Arduino projects in NetBeans IDE instead of Arduino IDE.

NetBeans Plugin

This NetBeans plugin apparently can help building Arduino projects on Windows. I contacted the developer to see if there is some info on Linux config for this plugin.

Workaround for Broken Numpad Keys

Installing a more recent version of Arduino IDE (I tried 1.6.10) actually fixes this specific numpad key issue. To do this, I needed to uninstall Ubuntu-based Arduino version 1.0.5.

sudo apt remove arduino arduino-core

Then downloaded a newer version of Arduino Software from website directly. Unpacked the archive, and run the application.

Opened the same BareMinimum sketch and tried the keys - they do work in this version!

Use newer version of Arduino IDE as a workaround for broken numpad keys

Use newer version of Arduino IDE as a workaround for broken numpad keys

Project Summary

We have found a simple workaround for the issue with non-working navigation keys in Arduino IDE on numerical pad. The workaround is to use a more recent version of Arduino Software (1.6.10 works while 1.0.5 does not). Perhaps, we can do NetBeans plugin as a separate project while this fixes the primary problem for customer.


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