Quick Start


If you are looking for a Quick Start for PlatformIO IDE please follow to PlatformIO IDE Quick Start page.

This tutorial introduces you to the basics of PlatformIO Command Line Interface (CLI) workflow and shows you a creation process of a simple cross-platform “Blink” Project. After finishing you will have a general understanding of how to work with the multiple development platforms and embedded boards.

Setting Up the Project

PlatformIO CLI provides special platformio init command for configuring your projects. It allows to initialize new empty project or update existing with the new data.

What is more, platformio init can be used for IDE Integration. It means that you will be able to import pre-generated PlatformIO project using favourite IDE and extend it with the professional instruments for IoT development.

This tutorial is based on the next popular embedded boards and development platforms using Arduino Wiring-based Framework:

Platform Board Framework
Atmel AVR Arduino Uno (8-bit ATmega328P) Arduino Wiring-based Framework
Espressif NodeMCU 1.0 (32-bit ESP8266) Arduino Wiring-based Framework
Teensy Teensy 3.1 (32-bit ARM MK20DX256) Arduino Wiring-based Framework

Board Identifier

platformio init command requires to specify board identifier (ID/TYPE). It can be found using Embedded Boards Explorer or platformio boards command. For example, using platformio boards let’s try to find Teensy boards:

> platformio boards teensy

Platform: teensy
Type                  MCU            Frequency  Flash   RAM    Name
teensy20              atmega32u4     16Mhz     31kB    2.5kB  Teensy 2.0
teensy30              mk20dx128      48Mhz     128kB   16kB   Teensy 3.0
teensy31              mk20dx256      72Mhz     256kB   64kB   Teensy 3.1 / 3.2
teensylc              mkl26z64       48Mhz     62kB    8kB    Teensy LC
teensy20pp            at90usb1286    16Mhz     127kB   8kB    Teensy++ 2.0

According to the table above the ID/TYPE for Teensy 3.1 is teensy31. Also, the ID for Arduino UNO is uno and for NodeMCU 1.0 (ESP-12E Module) is nodemcuv2.

Initialize Project

PlatformIO ecosystem contains huge database with pre-configured settings for the most popular embedded boards. It helps you to forget about installing toolchains, writing build scripts or configuring uploading process. Just tell PlatformIO the Board ID and you will receive full working project with pre-installed instruments for the professional development.

  1. Create empty folder where you are going to initialize new PlatformIO project. Then open system Terminal and change directory to it:

    # create new direcotry
    > mkdir path_to_the_new_directory
    # go to it
    > cd path_to_the_new_directory
  2. Initialize project for the boards mentioned above (you can specify more than one board at time):

    > platformio init --board uno --board nodemcuv2 --board teensy31
    The current working directory *** will be used for the new project.
    You can specify another project directory via
    `platformio init -d %PATH_TO_THE_PROJECT_DIR%` command.
    The next files/directories will be created in ***
    platformio.ini - Project Configuration File. |-> PLEASE EDIT ME <-|
    src - Put your source files here
    lib - Put here project specific (private) libraries
    Do you want to continue? [y/N]: y
    Project has been successfully initialized!
    Useful commands:
    `platformio run` - process/build project from the current directory
    `platformio run --target upload` or `platformio run -t upload` - upload firmware to embedded board
    `platformio run --target clean` - clean project (remove compiled files)

Congrats! You have just created the first PlatformIO based Project with the next structure:


If you need to add new board to the existing project please use platformio init again.

The result of just generated platformio.ini:

# Project Configuration File
# A detailed documentation with the EXAMPLES is located here:
# http://docs.platformio.org/en/latest/projectconf.html

# A sign `#` at the beginning of the line indicates a comment
# Comment lines are ignored.

# Simple and base environment
# [env:mybaseenv]
# framework =
# board =
# Automatic targets - enable auto-uploading
# targets = upload

platform = atmelavr
framework = arduino
board = uno

platform = espressif
framework = arduino
board = nodemcuv2

platform = teensy
framework = arduino
board = teensy31

Now, we need to create main.cpp file and place it to src folder of our newly created project. The contents of src/main.cpp:

 * Blink
 * Turns on an LED on for one second,
 * then off for one second, repeatedly.
#include "Arduino.h"

void setup()
  // initialize LED digital pin as an output.

void loop()
  // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
  digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH);

  // wait for a second

  // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
  digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW);

   // wait for a second

The final Project structure:

├── lib
│   └── readme.txt
├── platformio.ini
└── src
    └── main.cpp

Process Project

PlatformIO CLI provides special platformio run command to process project. If you call it without any arguments, PlatformIO Build System will process all project environments (which were created per each board specified above). Here are a few useful commands:

  • platformio run. Process (build) all environments specified in Project Configuration File platformio.ini
  • platformio run --target upload. Build project and upload firmware to the all devices specified in Project Configuration File platformio.ini
  • platformio run --target clean. Clean project (delete compiled objects)
  • platformio run -e uno. Process only uno environment
  • platformio run -e uno -t upload. Build project only for uno and upload firmware.

Please follow to platformio run --target documentation for the other targets.

Finally, demo which demonstrates building project and uploading firmware to Arduino Uno:


Further Reading