The Arduino environment has been designed to be easy to use for beginners who have no software or electronics experience. If you are new to Arduino, this chapter will help you get started but you will need to consult the Arduino online help and a good book on Arduino will be a big help (the author's "Arduino Cookbook" is highly recommended as reference.)
If you’re already familiar with Arduino, please feel free to skip the introductory material in this chapter. However, you will need to install the libraries that are included in the download the code available from: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920028024.do. The section Installing Third-Party Libraries has details on installing the required libraries.
Arduino is best known for its hardware, but you also need software to program that hardware. Both the hardware and the software are called “Arduino.” The combination enables you to create projects that sense and control the physical world. The software is free, open source, and cross-platform. The boards are inexpensive to buy or you can build your own (the hardware designs are also open source). In addition, there is an active and supportive Arduino community that is accessible worldwide through the Arduino forums and the wiki (known as the Arduino Playground). The forums and the wiki offer project development examples and solutions to problems that can provide inspiration and assistance as you pursue your own projects.