Getting Started with WebbotLib Studio
Select a workspace
Once the software is installed and running then you will be confronted with a window like this:-
This provides you with up to 3 different ways to either create a new workspace or use an existing one. You only need to choose one of them and then click 'OK'.
The options are as follows:
- "Select an existing workspace" - provides a quick way to select a previously used workspace from a drop down. If you have not run WebbotLib Studio before then this option may not be shown.
- "Create a new workspace" - you should choose this option if you are running WebbotLib Studio for the first time.
- Use the 'Parent folder' Browse button to select an existing folder you want to create the new workspace under. For example 'C:\Users\yourname\Desktop'
- Type a valid folder name into the 'Workspace name' field making sure that you only use characters that are valid for a folder name. For example 'webbot'.
- The 'OK' buotton should now light up - if it doesn't then there is probably an existing file or folder with this name in the parent folder. For example 'C:\Users\yourname\Desktop\webbot' already exists.
- "Find an existing workspace" - you only need to use this option if you are sure that you have previously created a WebbotLib Studi workspace and it doesn't appear in the drop down in option 1. This may happen if you create lots of workspaces as option 1 only remembers a finite number of the most recently used workspaces. The 'OK' button may only light up if the selected folder is recognised as a valid workspace.
The Home Page
Once you have set a workspace then the main home page will be displayed - although the 'Download Wizard' window will quickly be displayed on top of it!
I will describe the Download Wizard later - but, for now, let's understand the different elements of the home page window:-
- The top of the window show the usual menu bar and toolbar button shortcuts
- The left hand panel shows the 'Navigator' tree of things you have downloaded or created. The top level folder item is the name of the workspace that you are using - in this case C:\Users\Clive\Desktop\webbot. The second level shows the 'sites' you are using. 'My Private Stuff (my)' is where all of your private 'work in progress' will be stored. This is followed by other public 'download sites' you have added - note that my site 'webbot.org.uk (webbot)' is added by default. Each site then has a folder to store the boards, devices, libraries and projects - either your private ones or those that you have downloaded from the download sites. Note that, in this screen shot, nothing is shown below these as you haven't yet created anything and you haven't yet downloaded anything from the download sites - which is why the Download Wizard pops-up!
- The top right panel shows some 'light bulb' actions of things that you may want to do - ie short cuts. The content and order of items in this list will change over time to reflect the most common things that you do in WebbotLib Studio. Those shown in the screen shot represent the most frequently used base set of actions when starting from a fresh install.
- The bottom right panel - currently blank - will show you more info on the specific board, device, library or project that you have selected in the 'Navigator' tree. This window is currently blank as you haven't downloaded anything - yet !
- The status bar at the bottom of the screen shows two pieces of information: the 'Idle' label means that nothing is running in the background, and other label shows the current version of WebbotLib Studio you are running.
The Download Wizard
This window automatically pops-up when you first run the application. It may also pop-up on subsequent running of the application if it detects that what you have previously downloaded is out of date or if new things are available for download. You can also force it to run by selecting the menu option: Site | Download. Obviously you need to be connected to the internet for this to work.
You may be wondering why you have to do this 2 phase install - ie download WebbotLib Studio itself, to get to this point, and then download further stuff via the Download Wizard. Why not do everything in one go? The quick answer is that the WebbotLib Studio install creates the mandatory initial framework for the application to run but subsequent downloads are all optional and you can choose to just download those things that are relevant to you and the hardware (boards/sensor/motors...) you own. Hence trying to de-clutter the interface.
The Download Wizard guides you through several pages of selecting 'appropriate' things - ie things you own or want to work with. Most notably for each download site (initially just this site) it will show the available boards, projects, devices and libraries they provide.
Sections of the Wizard that do not apply are automatically skipped over.
For a minimal installation then only select the 'boards' that you own. This will automatically select all devices that are mounted on this board (an LED for example) and WebbotLib Studio will force these devices to be downloaded - by giving a greyed out ticked box for required devices. On the 'devices' page then select any other devices you want to use. For example: your boards may not have any distance sensors built into the board - but you own some and want to be able to add then to your project.
For a maximum installation then click the 'Select All' button at each step.
Once you have selected what you want, and is relevant to you, then you will reach the 'Download' part of the Wizard giving a summary size of all the items you have chosen to download. If not downloaded before, or it is out of date, then this will also include the toolchain (the C compiler etc). Either click 'Previous' to go back and change your selection or, if happy, then click the 'Download' button and wait until 'Next' is enabled at the end of the download.
The next part of the Wizard is to do with 'Documentation'. Click on the 'Create' button to generate the documentation and once finished click on the 'Next' button. Once 'created'- the help files will be available via the Help menu as well as the 'Help' button when you are configuring a device in your project.
You may be wondering why I don't host all the help files from this website - or why isn't it part of the initial installation? A number of reasons: some of you need help at robot competitions when you are offline so they need to exist on your local machine, the help is tailored to only those things that you have downloaded, and finally but most importantly: you may have downloaded work from a download site other than this one - ie that 3rd party cannot add help files to my web site. So the Help is generated from the actual code itself - where ever it was downloaded from.
The final step of the Download Wizard is to compile all of the code that you have downloaded - such as the core WebbotLib code. If any compilation is required (which it will for first time installation) then you will be presented with buttons for 'Compile Now' and 'Compile Later'. What is the difference? The 'Compile Now' button will compile the core WebbotLib for every supported processor - which can take a long time. The 'Compile Later' button will be much quicker, for now, because it delays building WebbotLib for a given processor until it is first used in a Project - however it will make that Project build slower first time in. So the choice is yours - take the hit now and build for procesors you may never use - or build later, on demand, just for the processors you use meaning that the Download Wizard is quick but you get the hit later when you use a processor for the first time.
The Home Page revisited
Now that the Download Wizard has done its work then the Navigator panel on the left shows a lot more info.
We can see all the board designs, devices etc from this site. Selecting a given device now shows its details in the bottom right panel. The Navigator is therefore a useful way to 'browse' what is on offer.