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Up Front

Bringing Serious Software Development to the Arduino

by Michael Swaine

Generic image illustrating the article

Welcome to our first-ever Arduino issue!

Arduino, as the whole geek-speaking world knows by now, is an extremely accessible open-source single-board microcontroller designed for pursuing electronics projects. Also as the whole geek-speaking world knows by now, Arduino is very popular. Over 100,000 boards have been sold so far, and the fascination shows no signs of abating.

We’re a hard-core software developers’ magazine, so that’s the approach we’re taking to Arduino in this issue. We figure you want to get into this popular open-source electronics prototyping platform, but you don’t want to have to work with development tools designed for artists and hobbyists. So Arduino master Maik Schmidt shows you how to develop software for Arduino in a professional way. Ian Dees gets into the act, too, showing how to bring serious software testing to the Arduino. Just because it’s a hobby that doesn’t mean you don’t need power tools.

Of course we also have lots of other good stuff in this packed issue. Jeff Langr and Tim Ottinger offer up a thoughtful article on Test Abstraction, Dan Wohlbruck offers another in his series on computer history, John Shade has some thoughts on Sun, Oracle, and the Doomed List, and there is a quiz (Arduino-themed, of course).

Arduino Resources

We recommend that you include in your Arduino toolkit Maik’s book, Arduino: A Quick-Start Guide. But there are other books to check out, including these two new ones from O’Reilly: Arduino Cookbook by Michael Margolis and Make: Arduino Bots and Gadgets by Tero Karvinen and Kimmo Karvinen.

Also, here are three sites Maik tells us are must-visits for the Arduino hacker:,, and