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Coding with Raspbian Jessie


Right from the beginning Python has been the primary development language of the Raspberry Pi.

Install the latest Raspbian Jessie distribution image and you'll find both Python version 3 and the older version 2.7. Both versions come with plenty of source code examples.


With Scratch, from MIT's innovative Media Lab, you can construct all kinds of multimedia projects without writing a single line of code. Scratch's highly visual interface is based around graphical, snap-together programming blocks and aimed at anyone old enough to use a keyboard and mouse.

On Jessie there's a built-in GPIO server, which simplifies GPIO pins access. Look at little closer and you'll discover this server also delivers direct access to the Pi's built-in camera interface and network IP addressing.

Parents and teachers might like to go to the ScratchEd online community where they can share stories, exchange resources and ask questions.


With the Jessie image Java fans have two new applications in the main menu's Programming category.

Called BlueJ and Greenfoot they simplify the app building experience with a graphical coding environment that mixes mouse-driven design and code generation with traditional hand-coded statements.


Just like any other Linux-based operating system Raspbian's kernel code, device drivers, tools, utilities and graphical desktop are all written using the C language. However, learning a compiled language like C is a little more challenging.

The simplest way to begin is to play around with the pre-installed sample C programs. You'll find graphics, audio and video source code files, associated compilation 'make' files and a couple of helper C libraries in the directory /opt/vc/src/hello_pi.


Node-RED aims to deliver an easy-to-use development tool for Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, including the Raspberry Pi. Created by IBM it's a browser-based tool built on top of Node.js, a popular free-to-install JavaScript server.

The user interface has a drag-and-drop flow editor, where you wire together combinations of blocks selected from a palette. Once constructed flows can be executed with a single click. Node-RED example flows include GPIO and camera interaction, web services, social media and Pi Minecraft communication.

Sonic Pi

With Sonic Pi you can compose your own unique musical compositions. It was created by Sam Aaron at the University of Cambridge, who hosts live, code-generated musical performances.

The Sonic Pi scripting language is designed around a set of simple, music-centric commands. The syntax will look familiar to those with experience of scripting languages like Python, although it's based on another popular programming language called Ruby.

Code Editors

There are a number of code editors pre-installed on Raspbian Jessie. Some are straightforward Linux text editor stalwarts like Vim and Nano.

Others, like Python's IDLE and the general purpose Geany, understand code syntax and so feature colour-coded listings, auto-completion, debugging support and general coding assistance. Geany supports many other languages including C, Java, HTML, XML and PHP.

More Raspberry Pi Coding, Tips and Tricks

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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