Learning Curve is so steep, to level it, you need to invest lost of efforts

I have been fooling around with Arduinos compatibles boards for a while, I decided to get the Photon, but the photon is a pain you know where to work with. Very difficult to get it going.
The WiFin, the serial port , etc., they are all a pain to use The online IDE, oh my God! I stay in the "Arduino World"
The learning curve is so steep!

I honestly believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion. But I must strongly disagree with you. In my experience, the Photon is not only easier, but it is more compelling all around. I too have played around with Arduinos and the like, but the only thing that has come close to the Photon is the Teensy… but it doesn’t have WiFi. The Particle community is very active and helpful. There is tons of material on these very forums. The community is usually very responsive when you have questions/problems/etc. Arduinos community is active and generally helpful, but I think Particles community is even better. I hope that you allow us to help you get going and prove that all I have said is true. I wish the best either way. :smile:


@tjp Well said. I couldn’t agree more. I have had a business based on Arduino and I am trying to switch over completely.


@TechAlex, I completely agree with @tjp. There is absolutely a learning curve since the Photon takes the Arduino platform to another level, not only with WiFi but with out-of-the-box cloud integration. I believe part of the excitement of moving to a new platform IS the learning experience including frustration and all. After all, if you not frustrated at some point, you’re not learning!


I guess you have not seen, which I am surprise, the entire ESP8266 family, take a look for example ,the AdaFruit “HUZZAH” Easy as 123! Sparkfun has a good one too.
Like I said, more effort is needed with the Photon, . The IDE I installed in my local computer, I cannot do much. The “Online” IDE concept not sure if it is a good idea. But you know, this is like flirting a woman, too easy? Nahh! Dont like it. No pain no gain. I’ll get it somehow.

I’m sorry your initial experiences weren’t as pretty as you’d hoped them to be. I do have to add that this is a development board, and with all new things you’ll have to invest some effort. If you’re comparing it to ‘simpler’ devices, no wonder that they’re easier to use, but they’re also not nearly as versatile.
More effort is required for the Photon as compared to the Arduino? Sure, but you can’t do half the things with your regular Arduino. The fact that you came over from an appearently “easy as 123!” system means it isn’t quite as satisfactory as you’d like it to be, is it ;)?
Regardless of the above, if you do see points of improvement, which you obviously do, how about enlightening us on what may be improved, and how, rather than just summing up things you believe to be less than satisfactory? That way we don’t get a “I don’t like this, they do it better” discussion, but hopefully a constructive discourse of possible improvements of which we could all benefit.


I can’t speak for TechAlex but I can relate. I love Particle hardware but coming from Arduino/Teensy, the development process is frustrating. For example, if I want to include my own library I have the following options:

  1. Web IDE: Publish to GitHub w/ a special JSON file
  2. Particle Dev: Copy the source files to the same folder as my source code.

The first option is a confusing series of hoops for someone new to GitHub or JSON, and gets messy if you don’t want to publish publicly on GitHub. The latter is impractical when dealing with huge libraries like SdFat or FastLED. With Arduino or Teensy you just copy a folder locally to /libraries, and you’re done. I don’t see how the added WIFI functionality of Particle boards necessitates a more complicated process. Perhaps someone can explain?

Arduino project launched in 2005.

Spark/Particle launched in 2014, as I recall.

Arduino has become a kludge. Particle shook all that off and developed an ecosystem for the modern era.

That said, Particle stands on the shoulders of a giant, albeit a metaphorical giant.

Have patience and remember the learning you had to do to get proficient with Arduino. In a short time, you’ll be there with Particle.

For me, the integrated Time library, WiFi and better C++ support makes me happier. Oh, then there is the price for the ‘authentic’ versions.

PS the Internet IDE can be a struggle and the Dev can be difficult to install, so you make great points. :wink:


Just to address the IDE discussion.

These points are valid but Particle is aware of it and has promised a major overhaul of all IDEs and especially the lib support once they got the Electron out and gain back free man-power currently focusing on this task.

If the library is for personal use only, and perhaps for only a specific project, then you can add it directly using the little ‘+’ button in the top right corner. That’ll give you a new .h and .cpp file in which to place your library.

I’ll admit it isn’t as smooth as it should be, and I too would like to see it a whole lot smoother, but that’s something that’ll be worked on in the, hopefully not too distant, future.

As for Particle Dev, although it might not be where it should be yet, I find the library system the least of its problems. The fact that you have to copy it to the same folder does make sense to me, even though a ‘centralised’ place wouldn’t be bad. Again, I’m not saying there aren’t improvements, but they are ones Particle is aware of, and which should be remedied soon.
That said… Particle is not in the business of making IDEs, and there are entire companies focused on doing that, and only that. They’ve got years of expertise and many more developers working on their IDEs, whereas Particle has one, if I’m not mistaken. There are only so many things that can be done at any given time, and with the electron coming up shortly, that has had priority. Once that is out, more resources should be available to spend on fixing up the holes that have been left behind. One of those is the development environment.
If that still isn’t satisfactory, you could always install one of the ‘giants’ IDEs’, and set up your own tool chain. There are instructions available for doing that with Netbeans, which allows you to compile locally. That gives you all the benefits of a professional IDE, along with the flexibility of being able to edit even the system firmware, if that’s something you’re into.

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I’d like to clear up a few things about your complaints.

This is common is other development environments like Web Development… anything with a package/library management platform. But as @Moors7 said, if it’s for personal or project use only. Just use the + to add the files.

Simply not true. Take a look at My Project. I compile that in Particle Dev without modification. The key is knowing that the file structure gets flattened, not that it needs to be flat from the start. That means that #include statements don’t need the subfolder name, simply the file name.


I appreciate the pointer to the + symbol, but it’s impractical for libraries with a large number of source files like the two I stated in my first post.

Ah! This is very useful information that is not stated in the docs (as far as I can tell). It’s still not ideal, but it’s much friendlier than putting all files in the same directory. Thank you for pointing it out. I’ve already reconfigured my project.

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You’re absolutely right. It is not practical, but it will be worked on and hopefully fixed once the Electron is deployed. :smile:

Again, you’re absolutely right. It is not documented, and is not quite ideal. But it does lend some structure to your files. I have made it a personal goal on the forums to educate people of this as I can’t imagine trying to build a project with all my files hanging out in one folder. shudders


Whaaa? Why didn’t I know this before? If I had, I probably would have refactored my Github repo and turned my BlinkyEyes code into a library a couple of months ago!

Thanks for the heads-up on that.


I’m brand new to Arduino and Photon, but I have both. From what I have learned by using the Photon, it is more useful than the Arduino for the price and provides opportunity to develop a system I can control over the internet. This is exciting and useful! I don’t have the experience of using and storing many libraries yet but I am struggling to learn everything… but it’s fun! A particle video on Publish and Dashboard helped me advance the most. Particle; please add more videos to the documents! I could use a video showing a simple start to finish webpage interface for PC and Android/iPhones (perhaps using a DHT22, or relay) to read, change and display results. That would certainly advance my understanding considerably. Thanks for a great product. By the way,I just purchased a 2nd Photon so I can get them talking to each other…can’t wait to experiment.


I’ve not found there to be much of a learning curve at all using Particle. I have found the hardware fragile though. I have one board that doesn’t boot up anymore and another that the SPI bus stopped working. I’m unlikely to put much more time and effort into it because of that.

@PeteStewardson, if you shared your difficulties with the Community we would gladly help you. Most boot problems are solvable though the SPI bus that stopped working is perplexing. The Photon hardware is no more sensitive than any 3.3v system and I have yet to have issues with hardware beyond the ones I created. :wink:


I have shelved my 2 photon’s and dumped my older Core. The core was put away working, but during a firmware update over the air, it must have croaked. I agree with the author, they can be daunting. I spent the better part of 2 days trying to get my Core working, and in the end, I find my time is worth more than the $30 i spent at the kickstarter.

One of my other pet annoyances with these devices, is if you are no longer within WiFi range, they stop working. That to me is useless. I wanted to put one of the spark’s in my motorbike for manipulation of the brakes and blinkers, automation as such. Unless I plan on staying in the garage, they can’t be used. Not to mention how flaming irritating it is to try and get a library working (Freetronics DMD 32x16 anyone?)

I have gone back to using the arduino IDE and Arduino Nano boards because of my experiences, and the simplicity of the libraries.

The Photon and Core DO work without wifi. This is a common misconception that is easily remedied by reading the docs, searching the forums or posting in the forums. I will say I find it vexing that your time is too valuable to do any of those things but not valuable enough to keep you from visiting the forums of a product you don’t use…
As to “croaking” or fragile hardware, unless you physically burnt up the board I highly doubt it is anything that can’t be corrected with some focused research or a forum post coupled with a true desire to apply a fix.

From the complaints I see a lot of misunderstanding and annoyances being held up as death blows. Everyone is entitled to their opinion about the annoyances but one should always do the research before stating “facts”, something lacking in nearly every post that is a statement of “this is too hard”.


The “croaked” spark core was stuck on the magenta flash, and from the amount of posts about it I would say there was a problem. There was nothing in the documentation about that particular problem, and the inability for me to want install Linux on my Windows 10 machine to remedy that is I guess my fault (I had posted in the forums, thanks). However, I put it away in it’s box working and when I went to use it again it didn’t want to go. That is hardly my fault. Anyway, I don’t care, it’s only a $30 toy and was flashing magenta the day I tossed it out. I wouldn’t say the hardware was fragile by any means.

The wifi limitation must have been fixed, yay. I apologize but I didn’t see the memo. When I tried it with my Spark core, you could load a code to it, (LCD shield) take it up the road and the LCD would stop and the Core would reboot and start looking for wifi again. It might just be time to play with the photon’s again.