M5Stack releases local server implementations of UIFlow visual programming Web IDE

Visual programming is now a very popular method to teach programming to kids and M5Stack relies on UIFlow for their ESP32-based IoT development kit. Like most other companies, M5Stack provides either a Web IDE accessible from their server or a desktop program available for Windows, MacOS, or Linux, but the company has now released a local server implementation that allows users to run a Web IDE instance in their local network.

The local server is available for Windows 11 x64, MacOS, Ubuntu 22.04, and Linux Arm (e.g. Raspberry Pi), so I downloaded the Ubuntu version to give it a try on my laptop. Somehow the Ubuntu release is full of Windows DLLs, but let’s ignore that for now, and the README.txt tells us to install one dependency and run the program as follows:

UIFlow server ubuntu

A window pops up letting us start or stop the server. It can be accessed with localhost:8800 in a web browser. I’m using Firefox below, but Chrome or Edge are better browsers for that purpose since WebUSB is required to flash the firmware to the target.

UIFlow local server

We are asked to select between UIFlow 1.0 and UIFlow 2.0, but there’s really only one local choice right now because UIFlow 2.0 points to uiflow2.m5stack.com. So I went with UIFlow 1.0, selected one of the boards, and wrote a little program by moving blocks around.

Visual programming local Web IDE

There’s just one issue using Linux… The program requires M5Burner to flash the resulting firmware to the devkit and it’s only shown to be available for Windows and MacOS in the web interface.

M5Burner Windows MacOS

But there’s a Linux version (M5Burner Linux x64 v3.0) on the aforelinked download page. I installed it, and it looks to be working fine on Ubuntu 22.04.

M5Burner Linux

I haven’t gone further since I don’t own any M5Stack hardware. The M5Burner will flash the latest firmware to the selected devkit and provide the API key required to run the program at the end of the process in the “Configure” menu.

UIFlow API Key local server

While UIFlow 2.0 is not available in the local server implementations, I still think it’s a nice initiative from M5Stack as there’s no need to install desktop software on all computers in a classroom and some people may have intermittent internet or be wary of using a web service hosted in a different country. Releasing a local server implementation solves all those issues.

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5 months ago

Somehow the Ubuntu release is full of Windows DLLs, but let’s ignore that for now”
That’s because it is a DotNet application, and those DLL files are libraries. Also needed on Linux 😉

itchy n scratchy
itchy n scratchy
5 months ago

Actually my daughter recently approached me and asked to learn to program. I was looking for a nice blockly implementation for stm32 or some other duino style of board. I failed finding something nice and easy, besides my old unsupported espruino on maple, or some other implementations relying on arduino 1.6. So I ended up with xod.io on an old Arduino UNO next step is waiting for the delivery of a breadboard set. In the meantime maybe we will solder some buttons and leds to a stripe of veroboard. Xod looks very promising, no coding but still needs some uC… Read more »

3 months ago

tried to connect my m5stack but the firmware option for “SERVER” are lock to online URL cant connect to local server….

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