From launch, the Raspberry Pi Pico officialy supported two programming languages — MicroPython and C/C++. With MicroPython aimed squarely at new users, C/C++ was seen as the best choice for developers wishing to push the Pico to the limit. There was one problem, though; despite having great documentation, C/C++ development on the Pico meant that you really had to know your stuff, but a Pico community member has taken it upon themselves to create an Arduino core for the Arduino IDE that supports all Raspberry Pi Pico models.
Earle F. Philhower III's Arduino Pico is an Arduino core that enables all models of the Raspberry Pi Pico to be used with the Arduino IDE. Installation is a breeze. At the time of writing, it provides a large amount of functionality such as digital IO, PWM, analog input, and other specialist protocols, such as SPI, I2C, and UART. We tested the core with Arduino IDE 188.8.131.52 and the latest Arduino 2.0 beta, and it worked superbly with both.
The project shows that the Arduino IDE is a viable means to program the Raspberry Pi Pico, and it isn't just the community that thinks that. Arduino partners in the RP2040 'Pi Silicon', and it is working on its own Arduino core for its IDE. If you're looking to dip your toe into the world of C/C++ Pico programming, then this could be your entry point. Sure, it isn't as complete as the official C/C++ workflow, but for those of us that prefer the Arduino IDE as our coding environment, it's a great way to use our favorite editor with the Raspberry Pi Pico.
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Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".