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I'm using the following 'compiler' to program my ESP8266-01 direct with Arduino IDE:

https://github.com/esp8266/Arduino

and I'm trying to read the temperature and humidity with the following library:

https://github.com/adafruit/DHT-sensor-library

since the DHT library was developed to be used on an Arduino board, should I be able to run it on the ESP8266?

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Yes, it does work. You may have a look at http://esp8266.github.io/Arduino/versions/2.3.0/doc/libraries.html where a list of libraries running with ESP8266 can be found. Furthermore, @anrieff's remarks regarding hardware-specific features are a good hint.

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As far as I see, the DHT sensor library does bit-banging, which is kind of expected given the ad-hoc nature of the protocol that DHT type of sensors utilize. It should be compatible, as the library doesn't use any Atmel-specific features of the MCU.

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