All good things must come to an end

codebender’s next chapter

NOTE: We want you to be part of the conversation. Join the discussion at the bottom of the page

TLDR: The codebender.cc website is being deprecated as we move our focus on new stuff

When we started codebender on February 2012, more than 4 years ago, we never expected it to become this popular and go all this way. It was just a part-time open source project by some of the people at the local hackerspace.

Fast forward to now, and we are an investor-backed startup with:

  • $800,000 of investment
  • 100,000 Registered Users
  • 10,000 Monthly Active Users
  • 14 partnerships with H/W Manufacturers
  • Recognition from the Maker crowd as one of the 5 most popular tools

We’re extremely proud of what we’ve built. Five guys from a hackerspace in Greece have managed to compete & surpass tools by multi-billion companies like ARM, and Arduino’s tools as well (themselves a multi-million company). We started with a vision to help the Maker movement grow, and touch people’s lives by making it easier to work on their projects and create stuff.

Not only did we achieve that, but we also pushed others to see the need, as in the case of Arduino’s own Arduino Create.

There ain't no such thing as a free lunch

But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And this is the end for codebender.cc and the beginning of our new chapter.

As all of you know, we provide codebender.cc for free. Of course, "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch”, so that means we’ve been taking care of the bill all this time.

In our early days, this meant our personal time & money out of our own pocket. After getting funded, we used the money our investors put in to provide this service for free, which covered salaries, contractors, outside services, server hosting, utilities, rent etc.

Fun fact: At this moment, running codebender costs roughly $25,000/month.

A business is a business

We’ve tried to generate revenue for codebender.cc a couple of ways, i.e. Paid Private Projects, the codebender:esp Kickstarter, licensing our Compilation Infrastructure, etc. But none of these worked, and it seems we can’t escape an inevitable truth: Makers aren’t interested in paying for Software.

For a while now, we’ve been working on B2B deals to generate revenues. With more and more people moving to Cloud-based products, there is a clear need for companies who develop IDEs (such Chip Manufacturers, SDK providers, etc) to build Cloud IDEs for their customers. Given our many years of experience, we were the obvious choice to help companies make that transition.

Fun fact: codebender:esp originally started as an idea for building a Cloud IDE for Espressif - the makers of ESP8266 & ESP32. We built a demo, but since it didn’t go anywhere, we decided to see if the Maker market was interested in paying a subscription for such an IDE.

This means we are spread thin trying to serve both our B2B business, as well as the Makers who use codebender.cc and the development, maintenance, and customer support associated with that.

This, coupled with the announcement of Arduino Create and the knowledge that there are now others taking care of the same issues that we identified when we started, lead us to the decision to close down the Arduino-focused codebender.cc website and focus on our B2B efforts.

Timeline

Of course, we understand that we are responsible for everyone who’s been using codebender so far. So we’ve set up a plan to make the transition as simple as possible.

Here are the most important phases:

  • October 31st - New registrations are disabled
  • November 7th - Compilation is disabled
  • November 15th - Creating & Cloning Projects is disabled
  • November 31st - Accounts are disabled

From November 31st and onward, we plan to keep all hosted Projects, Libraries, and Embeds on read-only mode, so that people can still access code found as links or embedded in websites.

We’ll keep the site on read-only mode until December 31st, 2016 at the very least, but our goal is to keep it up indefinitely so long as there is still usage (enough visits to warrant that) and we can spare the resources to maintain & upgrade the servers.

Other Services

We also understand that there’s a small number of people who can’t make the transition to the Arduino IDE or Arduino Create. This is people who are using Chromebooks -mainly educators- for whom codebender was the only compatible solution.

For that reason, we’ve set up a couple of very basic services for people who want to make a quick transition. They are simple, paid-only, low-maintenance services, which we can maintain as long as there is demand.

These are:

  • codebender:edu - A simplified version of codebender for classrooms. Supports Chromebooks, allows you to create one account and distribute it in your classroom. Write code, save it locally, or load existing code. K-12 compatible.
  • codebender:blocks - Similar to codebender:edu, but uses a Scratch-like interface which generates the Arduino code, aimed for younger kids who are getting started with electronics & programming.

Afterword

It’s been an amazing ride. I’m incredibly proud of our little part in shaping the Maker movement, and I’ll definitely continue being a part of it.

But we have to shift gears, and we hope you’ll support us in our endeavors.

See you on the other side!

— Vasilis Georgitzikis

NOTE: We want you to be part of the conversation. Join the discussion at the bottom of the page


  • 2017-01-03 Douglas Maughan

    Like others, I also found Codebender to be an essential and wonderful tool - and I too, do not remember being asked to make a donation. I donate £20 to Wikipedia, each year when they make a general plea for funds. I would willingly have committed to a regular subscription of £30, say, to Codebender, had I been asked.
    I hope that there is enough feedback pressure to encourage the Codebender guys & gals to carry on with a subscription project.

  • 2017-01-03 Douglas Maughan

    Like others, I also found Codebender to be an essential and wonderful tool - and I too, do not remember being asked to make a donation. I donate £20 to Wikipedia, each year when they make a general plea for funds. I would willingly have committed to a regular subscription of £30, say, to Codebender, had I been asked.
    I hope that there is enough positive feedback pressure to encourage the Codebender guys & gals to continue with a subscrber model.

    Douglas Maughan
    Winchester, UK

  • 2016-12-30 gpshead

    Is the source for the Codebender App that allows Chrome to flash devices available or going to be available? Or a published API so others could use it? I find that it really is one of the more reliable ways of flashing (non-serial USB trinket style devices in particular)

  • 2016-12-12 PaoloP

    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.

  • 2016-12-10 rudibartels

    :((

  • 2016-12-08 Loki2012

    Can we crowdfund this to keep it running?

    Or, maybe Google and / or Microsoft and / or some grant for getting kids (and older people) into programming?

  • 2016-12-08 juanjosecastillo

    there is a way to back up (download) all my sketches at once?? not one by one...

  • 2016-12-01 tzikis

    thanks a lot moshel :)

    i'm afraid we won't be adding the download-all option though :( it's just that it will require significant time that we can't spare

  • 2016-12-01 tzikis

    MrPoynter you'll be able to use the RedBoards with the $20 & $50 plans, but honestly you can also select Arduino Uno and it will work. That's also available at the $10 plan

  • 2016-12-01 tzikis

    no, it will just be so that you can see the code

    having said that, we've changed the schedule to give people more time to keep using the website, and migrate

  • 2016-12-01 tzikis

    hey collyntitans, must have been a fluke, cause you should be able to access your projects. can you check again?

  • 2016-12-01 collyntitans

    is there a way to download my saved sketch
    because in a middle of my project and now i can't see any of my sketch
    it's my collage project, so its really important
    please help

  • 2016-12-01 jessey

    have I just lost all my sketches with codebender? Man what a bummer. I feel cheated and now hate codebender. I thought I had till after christmas to downloat all my code...

  • 2016-11-29 MrPoynter

    Could you post which boards are available with the edu packages? I have Redboards and just want to make sure I purchase the correct plan for the students. Thanks.

  • 2016-11-28 d.vo1

    When it is on read mode can you still upload and verify it to the board?

  • 2016-11-28 moshel

    It is very sad, but these things happen. You are in the excellent company of other companies that made amazing product but couldn't leverage it... Like Digital Equipment Corporation. Or Compaq. Or Lotus.
    Such is life.
    I would like to add my voice to the request (that appeared several times) to provide an option to download all sketches in one zip. Or at least being able to download the sketch without having to open it.

    Good luck with your next step!

  • 2016-11-27 str8ahead

    All I can say thanks CB! Your service saved my bacon a few times when I needed to access my code to debug RF units running on batteries and a 4G cellphone on a mountain top!
    Your cause was noble and I wish you future success!
    StraightAhead Engineering Svcs
    Louisville CO

  • 2016-11-27 Chris A

    Have you/did you consider putting ads on your site. This is one of the many reasons I support ads on sites, to keep them going. Anything that I use regularly and gain benefit from gets white-listed in my ad-block. If your site is staying read-only, why not give it a try. Never know, in a short amount of time some usable revenue might be generated.

  • 2016-11-18 zhirschtritt

    They did it! Chrome 54.0.2840.101 makes the plugin work again.

  • 2016-11-17 Vaoritan

    So sad((This thing is really cool & useful.Thanks for codebender!