Experiments with compiling/linking/flashing Arduino-style .ino files without the IDE
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Notes on my experiments with creating a Makefile to replicate the Arduino build chain (as of 1.6.4). Works for me. :)

I started down this path because I wanted to understand the Arduino build chain, not because I wanted a working full-service Makefile for Aduino. That is to say, there's a complexity/readability tradeoff here, and this Makefile is heavy on the quick, dirty, and minimal side. If you want something more full-service, (https://github.com/sudar/Arduino-Makefile).

Basically, all I did was to set up verbose logging in the Arduino IDE, copy the log files over, figure out what it was doing, and mimic it.

The bash script makefile_shell_version.sh does just that, and is probably most readable if you're interested in what it took. OTOH, the Makefile should be easier/quicker to make work on your system with less editing.


The Arduino IDE compiles everything in the core (.c and .cpp files) and throws them all into a big library function, core.a.

Your code (or the Blink.ino stand-in here) is then converted into a compilable .cpp file, compiled, and linked against the core.a library.

To flash this into the Arduino, it's converted to an Intel hex file and passed off to AVRDUDE.

.ino to .cpp

The only part of this process that wasn't visible in the log file is the conversion from .ino to .cpp, so I just compared Blink.ino with Blink.cpp. The differences are straightforward. The IDE seems to do the following:

  1. add include "Arduino.h"
  2. add prototype declarations for each function in the .ino file, in this case setup() and loop()
  3. delete all the comments. I don't do this. Why would you?

Try it!

This is all a rough draft, but if it works (or doesn't) for you, let me know.


This came out of a talk I gave ("Doing Arduino without the Arduino"). Slides attached as PDF. You kinda had to be there, though.