How to Download and Use Virtual Breadboard Arduino Toolkit
Virtual Breadboard (VBB) is a tool for rapidly prototyping electronic circuits for microcontroller firmware development. It allows you to connect real or virtual components to your Arduino board and test your code in a simulated environment. In this article, you will learn how to download and use the Virtual Breadboard Arduino Toolkit, which is a collection of virtual components that work with your physical microcontroller via the EDGEY interface[^2^]. You will also learn how to apply Test-Driven Development (TDD), a software development methodology that improves code quality, understanding and developer satisfaction[^2^].
Downloading Virtual Breadboard Arduino Toolkit
To download the Virtual Breadboard Arduino Toolkit, you need to have the Virtual Breadboard software installed on your computer. You can get it from the Microsoft Store[^2^] or from the official website[^1^]. Once you have installed the software, you can launch it and click on the \"File\" menu, then select \"Open\". A dialog box will appear where you can browse for the Virtual Breadboard Arduino Toolkit file, which has a .vbb extension. You can download the file from here[^1^]. After you open the file, you will see a virtual breadboard with various components connected to an Arduino Uno board.
Using Virtual Breadboard Arduino Toolkit
The Virtual Breadboard Arduino Toolkit contains several virtual components that you can use to test your Arduino code. Some of these components are:
LiquidCrystal: A liquid crystal display via 4-bit parallel interface[^1^].
OLED SSD1306: An OLED 128x64 display via SPI interface[^1^].
NEOPIXELS: Neopixel strips and arrays via WS2812 pixel pulse width interface[^1^].
Max 7219: A MAX7219 chip via SPI with up to 8 segment 7 displays[^1^].
EPaper: An EPaper 122x250 display via SPI with BSY signals[^1^].
DSO: An 8MHz logic analyzer capture[^1^].
Servo: A servo motor with pulse width controller[^1^].
To use these components, you need to connect them to your physical microcontroller using the EDGEY interface. The EDGEY interface is a device that connects your microcontroller to your computer via USB and allows you to communicate with virtual components hosted by Virtual Breadboard. You can buy an EDGEY interface from here[^1^] or build your own using this guide[^1^]. Once you have connected your microcontroller to the EDGEY interface, you can upload your code to it using the Arduino IDE or any other compatible software. Then, you can run the virtual circuit in Virtual Breadboard and see how your code interacts with the virtual components.
Applying Test-Driven Development with Virtual Breadboard Arduino Toolkit
Test-Driven Development (TDD) is a software development methodology that involves writing tests before writing code, and then writing code that passes those tests. TDD is widely considered best practice for software development as it helps you write cleaner, more reliable and more maintainable code[^2^]. TDD typically happens inside the sandbox of the computer language itself, but with embedded systems, the functionality that needs to be tested can include interacting with the real world and other components. Virtual Breadboard brings TDD to embedded firmware by providing a Java-based test development language, a virtual circuit test runner and a virtual circuit environment where real microcontrollers can connect to IO and virtual components using the EDGEY interface[^2^].
To apply TDD with Virtual Breadboard Arduino Toolkit, you need to follow these steps:
Write a test: Using the Java-based test development language provided by Virtual Breadboard, write a test that specifies what functionality you want your code to achieve. For example, if you want your code to display \"Hello World\" on an OLED display, write a test that checks if the display shows that message.
Run the test verifying it fails: Run the test using the virtual circuit test runner in Virtual Breadboard. The test should fail as you have not written any code yet.
Write the code: Write the code that implements the functionality you want using 29c81ba772