Adafruit’s WebIDE for the Raspberry Pi is now in alpha – get testing!

We’re back in the UK now, having driven 1500 miles and been to seven events in seven days.

We’re kind of tired.

But we met some completely brilliant people (of which more in a later post – Rob is still out on the west coast meeting still more brilliant people, and will have a post of his own about the whole thing later on), and we got to see the launch of Falcon 9 from the aeroplane on the way home last night.

Among the brilliant people we met were LadyAda and PT from Adafruit.

When we saw them just over a week ago (much kimchee and beef was eaten, much beer was drunk, creative things were done with seaweed, electronics were strewn among the chopsticks and a splendid time was had by all), one of the many things we discussed was the development of their new WebIDE for programming the Raspberry Pi. In the week since then, they’ve been pulling out all the stops to get it ready for release, and they’ve just put out an alpha version that you can play with and test. Please be aware that this is an alpha release and not a final release candidate: this means that you are likely to encounter bugs and other issues. You should only dive in here if you consider yourself experienced.

The web IDE offers you a way to program your Pi directly from a browser. You can find out much more, and download the files you need, at Adafruit. If you find any bugs, please report them on Github. It’d be great if you could let us know how you got on in the comments here, as well!


ukscone avatar

Rob is actually somewhere in the middle :) he is/was in texas over the weekend with skateboard in hand

matthieu526 avatar

That doesn’t work with mine… The installation made an error and I don’t know how to fix it…

Ez Klein avatar

Did you try the latest release? Version 0.15 did not check for git, but required the package to work.
They fixed this in 0.16 or 0.17 and it works wonderful on a fresh Raspbian installation. The only thing thant could be problematic: the node.js server they use, uses nearly 20 MB of memory while running.

Edward G Prentice avatar

The installation gave a few warnings, but completed. I used the “manual” method.
WebIDE started up first try, and I’m connected to my BitBucket account. Thanks for a robust installation process, and thanks for all the effort that has gone into creating this IDE for us.

It did take a long time to install, leaving me to wonder if all the files it downloaded are really necessary. Might it be possible to just download the subset that is actually needed to make for a smaller footprint? Fewer files means fast install, faster update, fewer things to go wrong, and less disk space consumed.

Justin Cooper avatar

Thank you for the great feedback!

Node and NPM are pretty free about having a clear set of dependencies for each module, so when you link to a few modules, and they link to modules, it can cascade pretty quickly. I think there may be a way to compact that if the dependencies are the same. I’ll look into that.

I’m also looking into just including all of the dependencies as part of the package so the installation doesn’t take so long. This is probably something for the future once we get closer to a stable release.

Nicolas Rambaud avatar

Pretty cool IDE, i installed it also without any troubles.
Installations steps are clear as well as installation documentation.
As said “Edward G Prentice” just before, some warnings during installation but IDE seems OK.

The Terminal Link is quite impressive, as it create a cool linux terminal embedded into the web browser:
-it’s resisable
-we can also copy/paste text into it
-we can move it around
-We can call more than 1

Very nice job! i think i will use it instead of my Putty client (As i’m working headless with my raspberry pi)

paul avatar

Installed the IDE on Saturday it took a while but everything worked as advertised. It makes learning less of a hassle especially if you are running a headless Pi. I’m slowly working through and hope to be starting to program something meaningful for my project in a couple of weeks. I’ve found a couple of little annoyance and will report them through git. Great job Adafruit!

Jan avatar

I love it from the first time I spotted it. Two days ago I checked Adafruit blog only to see it released for testing, it went immediately on my Raspberry. Previously I’ve been editing files with nano or transfered files over SSH but that’s largely inconvenient. It’s still quite basic editor and everything doesn’t work (some character input in built-in terminal for example) as it’s bunch of js code and not regular input field.

I’ve tried only Python so far, syntax highlighting is great. Too bad the editor doesn’t remember scrolled position when switching files. Saving to disk and Bitbucket is fast and easy as is upgrading the whole WebIDE to next version. I’ve already reported one bug which was promptly fixed, the devs are very active about the issues, I’ll be reporting more soon :)

In the two days I’ve been able to write basic driver on LED matrix display (two 32×16 bicolor boards, 8 HT1632C in total, and two more boards ready to add) controlled directly by Raspberry Pi GPIO, and simple clock updating once per second. I’ve spend most of the time reading through the Python manual and searching Internet how to do this and that, but it’s still pretty fast and fun way to hack and prototype. Now it’s Monday and the clock was more tuned and it’s running well at work, starts on powerup and handles abrupt ntp time changes :) Only thing I’d like to have now is clean shutdown on power loss for which I can use small 12V backup accu. Probably by triggering one GPIO when main power goes down and waiting for a bit if it isn’t just a fluke.

It’s so easy now to hack some code on headless Raspberry Pi!

Also I’m jealous on your Falcon 9 sightning, it must be spectacular from plane. I was only watching the livestream. BTW you should totally tell Elon Musk to fly one Pi up for you, he’s great guy, already sent cheese there :)

Justin Cooper avatar

Hi Jan, which characters did you have issues with entering into the terminal? I can definitely attempt to fix any issues you run into with the terminal.

If you ever get a free moment, here is our issues list:


liz avatar

A bunch of us at the Foundation are enormous Elon Musk fangirls/boys. JamesH and Eben nearly had a fight when asked in a panel who their heroes were; both of them wanted to pick Elon Musk and wouldn’t let the other one pick him. I had to go for Jeff Bezos, Neal Stephenson and the Clock of the Long Now guys so I didn’t get into the barney too…

Rich Kavanagh avatar

I think I love Adafruit…

Rich Kavanagh avatar

(more than I already did)

Jan avatar

I love their learning platform code examples. I was kinda clueles how to get things done, chasing tutorials on forums and blogs but then I found their tutrials and got BMP085 hooked on I2C and sending pressure and temperature data twice per minute to for a week. Found out that it correlates perfectly but it’s more detailed than local professional weather station few kms away :)

Sander avatar

” WebIDE for programming the Raspberry Pi” … but what is it?

I installed it (which took about an hour on my 30 Mbps Internet pipe), and I started it.
Oh, it needs a bitbucket account? Yet Another Account I have to remember? :-
Hmmm … I have to think about that …

Justin Cooper avatar

Thanks for the feedback!

We’ll work on getting better documentation out there, including a FAQ to help everyone out.

We’re also working on getting the installation times down, and I think I can get it to about 3-5 minutes if I pre-package all of the dependent modules. For the alpha, I figured it would be better to let npm handle the installation of the dependencies. That being said, it really shouldn’t take an hour, so you may have run into an issue with the installation process. It downloads a 1mb file from github, but the longer process (I’ve found it takes about 10 minutes) is installing the dependent libraries.

frank avatar

i would love it if it could not depend on bitbucket but store source codes locally :(

Gareth Jones avatar

It does – they exist on your local machine as well as in bitbucket. But gives you the ability to delete locally and restore from bitbucket at a later date.

Jan avatar

But it depends on having bitbucket account. I can understand someone wants to use WebIDE without it and sometimes it’s not even possible (on isolated LAN). I hope they add local only option at later date.

Chase avatar

I got it to install just fine. But, every time I try and run some of the code, it says that I don’t have root rights and to run as sudo. Nothing manually running the command won’t fix. But, I know Adafruit is aware of this, and I am assuming they will get it taken care of.

Nicola Staub avatar

Can’t get it up and running :(
Have a freshly new installed Occidentalis 0.2 installed and updated, installed the WebIDE successfully (think so).
I can connect to the RbPi until it shows “Checking Editor Health” and says “Error: Check server and refresh browser” in the upper right corner. Any ideas what to do ? Already checked the Bitbucket stuff twice, seems to be correct.
Using Win7 64 Bit with Firefox 15.0.1, what might be important: Due to issues with corrupted SD-cards in the past, the RbPi is running on an USB key (/dev/sda2).

rg avatar

The Installation on (updated) Debian Wheezy does not work!
“unable to locate package nodejs”
“unable to locate package npm”

Package name changed with Wheezy??

stevepdp avatar

Please report any issues to Adafruit’s GitHub.

Farhomer avatar

I’m having the same problem

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