I'm brand new to the Arduino world. I recently purchased a NodeMCU in order to have it act as a sort of foothold to get into Arduinos as it's something I've always wanted to do. However, it was only after I had received the NodeMCU that I realised that there was no default option in the Arduino IDE to flash to a NodeMCU and soon found out that this is because the NodeMCU is in fact not an Arduino and therefore has its own proprietary flashing software for .bin files. This initially confused me as an outsider as I assumed all devices of that nature must be Arduinos.
I recently came across a Homebridge plugin by affix called homebridge-mcu-lamp which uses a NodeMCU running an HTTP server to control a relay. Interestingly, the script he has included in the repository which he claims to have running on his NodeMCU is a .ino file which really confused me.
My question is: how would I flash a
.ino file to a NodeMCU like the one mentioned above as I have no experience with
.bin files and would much more value to treat the NodeMCU as an Arduino instead (i.e. programming in C++)?
I understand this may sound like a very simple/dumb question for most of you on this forum but it is something that has had me stumped for days and would really appreciate some guidance on.
I would also find it useful if someone could explain to me the difference between a NodeMCU and an ESP8266 as I see the two words being used interchangeably when referring to the same looking board.
This is what my NodeMCU looks like: