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What is Raspberry Pi?

The announcement at XDC 2015 of upcoming Xojo support for Raspberry Pi was greeted with enthusiastic applause. But after the keynote, I had several people come up to me and admit that they did not know what this Raspberry Pi is, so I thought I’d take a moment to give some background.

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Raspberry Pi is essentially a tiny, inexpensive computer. Because it is tiny, it can be used in all kind of things that a typical computer does not work well with, such as robotics and embedded systems. Since it is also inexpensive, it functions as a great learning tool, making it possible for anyone to have their own computer. Additionally, because a Raspberry Pi is a fully functional computer, with input/output, storage and wifi capabilities, it can also be used to interface and control other things. This makes the Raspberry Pi a favorite amongst tinkerers, Makers, electronics hobbyists and anyone else with a cool idea for a project.

What makes the Raspberry Pi somewhat unique is that it uses an ARM processor (similar to what you see on cell phones and tablets), rather than an Intel CPU that is in most things categorized as “computers”.

Still, a Raspberry Pi is a full computer. You can connect a keyboard, mouse and display to it. You can plug in storage and install an operating system on it (typically Linux). Now, it is not a powerful computer, to be sure, but it is still powerful enough for many tasks.

Although you can program Raspberry Pi, it is not really as easy as it should be. You typically have to deal with scripts, command prompts and other things that make programming less fun. We aim to simplify programming for Raspberry Pi by allowing you to use the simple to learn Xojo IDE and programming language with it.

You can read more about Raspberry Pi, its origins and goals at RaspberryPi.org.

So if you want a Raspberry Pi, how do you get one? There are many places that sell Raspberry Pi and it is available in various configurations and price points. If you want a full kit, that includes everything you need to get started, you can find one at Amazon for about $70 USD. This kit includes the Raspberry Pi itself, a case, power supply, 8GB SD card with OS, USB wifi and cables.

Another common source of Raspberry Pi stuff is Adafruit. There you can buy the bare Raspberry Pi board for $40 or also get lots of other accessories and starter kits.

On the European side of the fence, RobotStore seems to have a lot of Raspberry Pi products.

To learn even more about Raspberry Pi, you might also want to grab MagPi, the free, official magazine of Raspberry Pi. Or let us walk you through:

first RPi project