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Sep 28, 2016 7:21 PM ET

Archived: codebender:esp – Cloud IDE with Over-the-Air Updates for ESP: Easy-to-use professional Cloud IDE for ESP8266 & ESP32 w USB & OTA programming. Ideal for Arduino, Makers, H/W Hackers, & IoT products.

iCrowdNewswire - Sep 28, 2016

codebender:esp – Cloud IDE with Over-the-Air Updates for ESP

Easy-to-use professional Cloud IDE for ESP8266 & ESP32 w USB & OTA programming. Ideal for Arduino, Makers, H/W Hackers, & IoT products.

About this project


At codebender, we’ve built the ultimate Cloud IDE for Arduino makers & hackers. We already have nearly 100,000 people using our platform, and we were recently voted one of the 5 most popular tools for Makers.

We are excited to announce codebender:esp. A spin-off of codebender specifically built for the ESP8266 & ESP32 chips. It combines all the power & ease of use of codebender, with a professional-grade development environment, and the amazing hardware capabilities of the ESP8266 & ESP32.

Advanced Cloud IDE

We’ve combined our years of experience running a Cloud IDE for Arduino with the professionalEclipse Che IDE, a state of the art browser-based IDE used by companies like Microsoft, Red Hat, Samsung, SAP, etc.

We’ve brought together Che’s advanced capabilities with our technology for Arduino & Embedded Hardware in general.

The result is the best IDE you’ve ever used, running completely on the Cloud and tailor-made for the ESP8266 & ESP32. Beginners will find it easy to use, and professionals will find a familiar environment with all the bells and whistles they’re used to.

Easy to get started. Start programming in seconds

The Espressif chips are known for having amazing hardware capabilities, but they are notorious for the long ramp-up path. codebender:esp gives you a pre-configured environment that runs in the cloud.

That means there’s no setup, just log in, open the IDE and start coding. Connect your device via USB, and program it straight from your browser.

We even have code examples that help you test the chip’s capabilities and show you how to use the WiFi stack, how to connect sensors to your board, etc.

Over-the-Air Updates & Device Management

What good is a WiFi-enabled board if you can’t program it over WiFi? Well, that’s where we come in!

codebender:esp leverages ESP8266’s OTA capabilities to provide Over-the-Air updates to your devices, whether they are in the same network or scattered across the world!

Send code to a particular device, or deploy new versions of your applications across a fleet of similar devices. You can also keep track of your devices, check their health, latest app version, etc


Works with any ESP8266

At codebender, we welcome all devices!

There are so many great ESP8266 boards out there that we would be fools to make yet another one. We could have made a Hardware Kickstarter but that’s just not us. Instead we just want to focus on building the best tools for you, and support all the existing hardware that you use & love.

Our goal is for codebender:esp to run with any existing and future EPS8266 & ESP32 board. Whatever hardware you have, codebender:esp is perfect for you!

We are open to all devices and manufacturers, but we plan to officially support Adafruit’s HUZZAH and SparkFun’s The Thing boards, because we use them ourselves. We’ve also successfully tested our Cloud IDE with generic ESP-12E and NodeMCU boards as well, and they work great.


While it’s still pre-mature to talk about the ESP32, we have been working with some pre-production hardware for a while now and we do plan to fully support it.

We’re also working with manufacturers like Seeed Studio to support their boards and/or co-design new ones.

Note: Over-the-Air updates will only work for devices which have enough memory to support it. 1-2MB+ should work.

We’re working closely with SparkFun on a new version of The Thing board that will have enough memory to support OTA Updates.

Arduino Support

codebender:esp will support both Espressif’s SDKs as well as the ESP8266 Arduino support built by the community.

Just select the project type you want to use when you create a new project.


codebender:esp safely stores your projects in the cloud so you can access them anywhere, anytime. Lost your laptop? Disk failure? No problem.

And of course, we make sure your code is secure by using the best industry practices, as well as frequent security audits from respectable InfoSec companies. Our years of experience running codebender.cc without a hitch are a testament to our focus on security.

So kick back and enjoy the ride! We’ve got this.

Note: For Over-the-Air updates we plan to use HTTPS along with unique API keys. Our initial tests have shown very promising results.


We’re a small group of people based in Patras, Greece. Our team is Vasilis Georgitzikis,Christos Nianiakas, Konstantina Kastanara, Fay Candiliari and Stathis Kladis.

We’re known for codebender.cc, the #1 Cloud IDE for Arduino. We have 90,000 users and host more than 250,000 projects on our servers.

We were recently also voted one of the 5 most popular tools for Makers on Hackster.io’s survey!

Not bad for a small team out of Greece! 😉

Open Source

Our goal is to Open Source as much as possible, though we might not be able to open 100% of our technology due to other limitations.

We’re definitely going to Open Source the Over-the-Air infrastructure & Arduino library so that you can run it on your own.

We’ll also release as many parts of the Cloud IDE as we can back to the Eclipse foundation, to be incorporated in the Eclipse Che IDE itself.


  • September 2016 – Kickstarter Launch October 2016 – Kickstarter complete. We’ll launch our website & a dedicated Forum for our backers
  • November 2016 – Early-bird backers get access to the Cloud IDE with ESP8266 support for Espressif & Arduino SDKs, and ESP32 support for Espressif’s SDK. Initial version of OTA Updates
  • December 2016 – First stable, pre-release version of OTA Updates
  • January 2017 – All backers get access to the Cloud IDE, OTA Updates, and Device Management interface.

Stretch Goals

$100K: Desktop IDE

While Cloud IDEs are definitely the future, with their ease of use, automatic updates, and collaboration advantages, there is still a need for Desktop IDEs when you’re going to be offline for a while.

So if we hit $100K, we’ll also be releasing a offline, Desktop version of our IDE for people who want to go off the grid for a bit. It will still use the same Eclipse Che foundation and our Plugins, so you’ll be able to switch between offline and online modes easily.

It’s also going to be Open Source!

$150K: Web Serial Monitor

If we hit $150,000, we’ll have the resources to build remote debugging capabilities in the form of a Serial Monitor that works just like the familiar Serial.print() commands, but passes the messages over the network and to the Cloud IDE.

This way you’ll be able to keep logs of your devices and how they operate, and use an Over-the-Air Serial Monitor in the Cloud IDE when programming a device.

$250K: JTAG Debugging

The ESP8266 & ESP32 theoretically support JTAG debugging, and there has been some great progress getting it to work with OpenOCD. If we hit $250,000 we plan to integrate this debugging capabilities to the Cloud IDE, so professionals will have an unprecedented level of debugging tools for the ESP chips.

Example Projects

Here are a few projects we’ve built with the ESP8266 using our Cloud IDE.

Soil Moisture Sensor

We built device that measures soil moisture and saves values on data.sparkfun.io. It also sends Blynk notifications when your plants are thirsty!

 Power Monitor

A battery-powered Power Monitor so you can take it with you, but you can also install it on your fuse box & have it wirelessly transmit the sensor readings. We’re using Adafruit.io to save the data. 



 Office Light & Temperature Sensors

We installed sensors all over our office that capture temperature and light ondata.sparkfun.com, and control our lights automatically! 


Product Demos!

Heads up! We made a couple of product videos with the great people from Hackster.io!

Check us out, Alex Glow is walking Vasilis (our founder) on how to use our own software 😛

OTA Updates

And here we are again, this time setting up a device with Over-the-Air Updates.


Risks and challenges

We’ve already built a functioning prototype of codebender:esp, as you can see in our videos. The prototype works well for Chrome, and we’re confident we can replicate the same technology for Firefox as well, given our track record with codebender.cc & both browsers for the past 3 years.

While the prototype is ready, there is still work to be done. However, we have a proof of concept and we’ve identified that the underlying technologies are there and can work together.

We’ve also had discussions with the people involved in Eclipse Che, and we’ve hired freelancers to learn the way it works & the technology it’s implemented in, since we didn’t have first-hand experience with it. They got acquainted with the code and the programming procedures used and we built the current prototype together.
If the campaign is successful we plan to work with the same people who are already familiar with the platform.

In terms of the Over-the-Air updates and Device Management capabilities, we have a good, working proof-of-concept that we’ve tested with Adafruit HUZZAH Feather & a modified version of SparkFun’s The Thing Dev board with 2MB of Flash to support OTA updates.
There’s still work to be done to make sure it’s secure and stable, but results are promising and we’re confident we can deliver.

One issue we are aware of that might be a problem is that the FTDI chip used on The Thing doesn’t work very well with Chrome when we reset the device for USB programming. We’ve nailed it down to either driver issues or most probably something to do with Chrome. We’ll need to dig more into it, but if we can’t get Chrome to play well with it there’s also the possibility of changing the chip.


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