BeagleBone Coding 101

Over at the GigaMegaBlog, they have put together by far the best tutorials on how to use the BeagleBone.  These are the first in-depth tutorials I have seen for the absolute BeagleBone newbie.

If you are coming at this from the Arduino, you will notice 3 significant differences from the Arduino IDE:

  • You don’t upload your code to the board.  The Beaglebone is more like a PC than an Arduino – the code is stored on its file system, and you just run it.
  • You can debug your code.  Not Arduino’s form of debugging – print statements to the console (though you can do that too) — but real debugging, as in breakpoints, watch variables, step-by-step execution.
  • The coding language is Javascript, not C.  Specifically, it’s node.js, which is Javascript optimized for running on a server, rather than in a browser, by way of some extra libraries.  The “server” in this case is the little old Beaglebone.  As you might imagine, node.js is not the fastest environment for running code on the Beaglebone, but for LED blinking and many other types of prototyping, it’s fast enough.

Despite the differences, Arduino coders should find the transition to Cloud9 and bonescript to be quite easy.  The blinkled.js code looks very much like Arduino code.  That’s no coincidence: the README for the bonescript project, which you can find on its github page here,  says that the goal is “to have something that provides most of the Arduino functions and is generally usable by Summer 2012″.

There is a ton of good information here, and there are a whole bunch more BeagleBone 101 tutorials on the site.

New from the fine people who have brought us the Beagle Board, we now have a smaller, lighter, but powerful single board linux computer, Beagle Bone!   We like this move to a more compact and integrated SBC. For example, there is onboard Ethernet and USB host, as well as a USB client interface (a FTDI chip for shell access). It even comes preloaded with Angstrom Linux on the 4 GB microSD card!

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1 Comment

  1. Another very useful BeagleBone Tutorial site is


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