Quick Start

This tutorial introduces you to the basics of PlatformIO Core (CLI) 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 Core (CLI) provides special pio project init command for configuring your projects. It allows one to initialize new empty project or update existing with the new data.

What is more, pio project init can be used for Cloud & Desktop IDEs. It means that you will be able to import pre-generated PlatformIO project using favorite 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:




Atmel AVR

Arduino Uno


Espressif 8266

NodeMCU 1.0 (ESP-12E Module)



Teensy 3.1 / 3.2


Board Identifier

pio project init command requires to specify board identifier ID. It can be found using Boards catalog, Boards Explorer or pio boards command. For example, using pio boards let’s try to find Teensy boards:

> pio boards teensy

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

According to the table above the ID for Teensy 3.1 / 3.2 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 big 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 directory
    > 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):

    > pio project 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
    `pio project init -d %PATH_TO_THE_PROJECT_DIR%` command.
    The following 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:
    `pio run` - process/build project from the current directory
    `pio run --target upload` or `pio run -t upload` - upload firmware to embedded board
    `pio 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 pio project init again.

The result of just generated platformio.ini:

; PlatformIO Project Configuration File
;   Build options: build flags, source filter, extra scripting
;   Upload options: custom port, speed and extra flags
;   Library options: dependencies, extra library storages
; Please visit documentation for the other options and examples
; https://docs.platformio.org/en/latest/projectconf/index.html

platform = atmelavr
framework = arduino
board = uno

platform = espressif8266
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"

#define LED_BUILTIN 13

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
├── platformio.ini
└── src
    └── main.cpp

Process Project

PlatformIO Core (CLI) provides special pio 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:

Please follow to pio run --list-targets documentation for the other targets.

Further Reading