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


  • 2017-05-15 lukewebdev

    This is/was a great service we used for our robotics class. Thanks for keeping it up at least until the end of the school year.

  • 2017-05-15 Barbatio

    Very good point, didn't realize that at first.

  • 2017-05-14 simonrafferty

    Unfortunately, it only supports native Arduino boards - fine for most but bot me! I mostly use Teensy boards

  • 2017-04-25 Barbatio

    Arduino has a web based IDE now, in case you're still interested.

  • 2017-03-18 figital

    I'd have paid for private projects.

  • 2017-03-06 pradana

    Saya tidak bisa Bahasa Inggris,
    baru belajar arduino

  • 2017-02-23 Klaatu

    Google should buy codebender and preload it on every Chromebook.

  • 2017-02-07 jrullan

    Well, I have to drop in as well. This company was a pioneer, the product was (still is) great and the founders showed they cared. We are from a Makerspace in Puerto Rico, and these guys were the first to motivate us to engage in by sponsoring our first Arduino Day back in 2015 with stickers and a couple of T-shirts, I must confess it is one of my favorites. I understand that market conditions change (i.e. Arduino Create) and that makers in general are not too keen on paying. But, I do think that if the community would have been warned in advance of the profitability/cost issues a subscription model (for such an excellent tool like this one) would have gotten traction. I too, pay annually as a donation my share to Wikipedia for example. They are timely and when you feel you are a valued community member I think many wouldn't hesitate to keep such a beautiful product alive. In a way it means we own it too as I feel like an investor in Wikipedia. Guys, my advice: give it one more chance, and explore how many of us commit to keep it alive through Patreon, or any other Crowdfunding projects out there. I'd be happy to buy you guys an equivalent Starbucks coffee every month to do so, it wouldn't hurt my pocket at all, as we say in Puerto Rico, there is nothing better than sharing a coffee with someone you appreciate.

    Wish you the best in your other ventures.

  • 2017-01-19 patvr@sizzlesites.com

    I'd agree with the numbers but did you run the same analysis on web fremium services for which there are no other alternatives? You guys developed a one of a kind product. Beautiful usability, fit for use, fit for purpose, and a unique tool on the net. Very rare thing to say about anything internet.

    How about sending out a 'customer' survey asking what we would be willing to pay and perhaps even get that commitment. I know I would and so would our school. Heck, a little peddling like wikipedia does is not out of the question either.

  • 2017-01-19 patvr@sizzlesites.com

    This is so sad. What a beautiful tool. And it just works. I know I'd be happy to pay for this. $25K per month should not be that hard to drum up. The kids at our primary/intermediate school learning Arduino are going to be bummed.

  • 2017-01-17 Deborah Fields

    Hi, we subscribed to the new education plan at $50/month and have emailed multiple times over the last month to try to switch to the $20/month plan as that better suits our needs at this time. However we haven't gotten a response over email and the phone line listed in the message in the order receipt leads to nothing - no person, no voicemail - it just says that "Verizon wireless cannot complete the call." I'm getting concerned about this and whether codebender can manage the education business.

    We definitely want the service but obviously need a way to contact someone for customer support and orders. I wouldn't have posted on the forum had there not been multiple failures to get through via other means.

    Please contact us. The money is still going through monthly but we will ask the university to stop the payments if there continue to be issues.

  • 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