How the Software Tools Work Together
This page gives you an insight on how the different software tools work
The Development Environment without Visual Micro
This is what a development environment looks like without Visual
Studio/Atmel Studio and Visual Micro, as Arduino or your hardware vendor
Environment) is the user interface you interact with.
Most likely, this will be the original Arduino IDE.
The gcc toolchain consists
of all tools that run in the background if you select "build" or "upload"
These are mainly the gcc compiler and linker and the upload tool (normally
Since you are working with the IDE, you don't have to work with the
toolchain programs directly, your IDE controls them in the background. However, the gcc toolchain is a
set of independent command line programs (.exe's) that could be used without an IDE.
The USB VCP (Virtual Com Port) driver is also provided by Arduino
board manufacturer and is responsible for communication between your board and
The Development Environment with Visual Micro
This is how a development environment looks after you have installed
Visual Studio/Atmel Studio and Visual Micro:
or Atmel Studio
your new IDE (I
nvironment). They will
replace your original IDE, although you can still use it, it won't be
an so called Extension that "lives" inside Visual Studio/Atmel Studio and adds functions
to them that enable you to do Arduino programming.
The gcc toolchain
unchanged, but is now controlled by Visual Micro and not by your original
The USB VCP (Virtual Com Port) driver also
remains the same.
Adding new platforms
Visual Micro lets you install additional development platforms
from Arduino and other manufacturers, that support additional boards with
different CPU architectures.
You can install platforms with Visual Micro's
Board Manager. Platforms
will be installed side-by-side and chosen by Visual Micro depending
on the board type you select:
The drawing shows two platforms installed side by side, a
3rd party Board Platform and the original gcc toolchain beneath it.