Visual MicroPython Platform BIPES Gets Some Major Upgrades, Including a Dashboard and Web Bluetooth

Latest release brings new IoT features, refactored code, a better file browser, Web Bluetooth support, Snek for AVRs, and more.

Visual MicroPython platform BIPES, the Block-based Integrated Platform for Embedded Systems, has announced some major milestones, including support for Web Bluetooth, a new dashboard system, and support for Snek — an ultra-minimal Python designed for eight-bit microcontrollers.

"We now have about 5K users and several contributors, including great people from Europe and Australia," project co-founder Rafael Aroca tells us of his team's progress, following the unveiling of BIPES as the first block-based visual coding environment supporting the Raspberry Pi Pico and other RP2040-based boards.

The BIPES visual MicroPython environment has enjoyed some major upgrades of late, including Web Bluetooth. (📹: BIPES)

"Recently you also wrote 'Adafruit Shows Off Wireless CircuitPython Programming via Web Bluetooth,'" Aroca continues, "and this motivated us to add Web Bluetooth to BIPES, and it works nicely with any ESP32! Now BIPES supports programming over Web Serial/USB, Web Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi!"

While the addition of Web Bluetooth support is a pretty milestone achievement, the hits keep coming: BIPES now includes a dashboard system, allowing its users to quickly drag-and-drop widgets to create an Internet of Things (IoT) platform — with data gathered over a network connection or locally via serial.

"Another interesting new feature," Aroca continues, "is support for Snek - a minimalist Python for small microcontrollers, so we can have Python-like programming on Arduino Uno and Nano! We built a page that allows anyone to load/flash Snek firmware on Arduino and quickly use it — no Arduino IDE, avrdude, or any software install required!

"After that, you can use BIPES blocks to generate Python/Snek code and run it on the Arduino. And then, create dashboards for the Arduino."

There's been a lot of work under-the-hood, too: Jorge Gastmaier Marques has completely refactored the BIPES code, offering improvements including boosted reliability and performance — along with a new file manager. "The file manager is great," Aroca tells us.

"Users can convert blocks to Python, manage files on the board, edit files directly on the board, send files, receive files, Run python code, etc. over the serial/USB port, Bluetooth or network! Simply connect a MicroPython or CircuitPython board to the USB, and start managing files/editing files, running, etc."

The latest version of BIPES is available to use on the official website, while the source code has been published to GitHub under the reciprocal GNU General Public License 3 — and thanks to it being written in HTML and JavaScript can be downloaded and used offline.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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