Skip navigation
Digi-Key TechXchange Communities > Projects and Designs > Discussions
27930 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Nov 4, 2015 3:36 PM by vikas1 RSS
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 30, 2012 5:22 PM

What is your favorite micro development environment?

I've used a slew of hideous development environments for microcontrollers.  I once spent three weeks just trying to install software to test a snippet of code (won't mention the product).  I've always had an affinity for Microchip's MPLAB environment.  It's simple, usually not too buggy although I've had a release or two that hiccupped, and seems to have 90% of the bells and whistles.   


What is your favorite development environment and why? Which product line does it support?


Lon - Solutions Cubed

  • Novice 1 posts since
    Feb 9, 2012

    Good Question!


    I am working on a microprocessor development tool.
    Which features do you like to have at your development system which you did not get up to now?
    What are the essentials which you need?I


    I would like to integrate these features into the development which I am working on.



  • Novice 1 posts since
    Feb 9, 2012

    This is a very good quiestion. I remember that many years ago, when I started working with MCUs, my development process was:


    - Create the MCU code in assembly code.

    - Burn in the EPROM with this code (obviously with a very expensive programmer)

    - Testing

    - Erase the PROM with UV light and wait for ten minutes

    - Repeat the cycle up to finish the project


    But now we have a lot of  tools and methodologies for development and it's not easy  to make a choice, but in any case we want to  reduce the learning curve as well as the time to market.


    I can see at least two big scenarios, the traditional one, supported by the traditional MCU suppliers (Microchip, ST, NXP, Feescale,Renesas, etc) and I want to mention two excellent tools:  


    - Codewarrior - for Freecale MCUs, compilation limited to 32K(classical vesion, I don't mean the eclipse version)

    - HEW for Renesas MCUs

    and the two excellent and traditional tools:

    - IAR embedded workbech, compilation limited to 32k, 8k or 4k, depending of the MCU.

    - Keil, compilation code limited to 32K.


    By the other side some new MCU suppliers ( MCU or something like that, because the big integration of peripherals and in some cases, of several CPUs inside of the MCU). On this scenario I want to remark:


    - Cypress Creator, outstanding free tool.(for PSoC3 and PSoc5)

    - Cypress Designer (for PSoC1)

    - Propeller tool, free tool for Parallax Propeller Devices (a single device contains 8 ARM CPUs, all of them acting in parallel).

    -  XDE - Development tool for X MOS devices (an event oriented device with 8 CPUs working in parallel).


    And of course, we can't forget the 'newest guys' of the moment, Arduino and their brothers Wire, Mapple, etc.


    In conclusion, we have tools for this life and the next ones!





  • Novice 1 posts since
    Feb 28, 2012


    I would like to share a nice complete microchip development environment that I use and have found to be very useful. MikroElektronika Develoment Tools - I believe that there is NO one product that will fit everyone's needs but I have had very good customer support as well as community support for this product. It is well worth looking at. They have development tools for other micro controllers.



  • Novice 1 posts since
    Feb 28, 2012

    I'll outdate all you guys...recall writting hexcode on terminals for RCA parts...yep..hexcode...on.dumb terminals...then blowing to the UV eraser parts. Ok...enough of the old timers stories.


    MICROCONTROLLER VENDORS TAKE NOTE: Give it away.Give away the razor blade holder and sell razor blades.


    Frankly as a consultant the best I find are the FREE OPEN ONES. Its a real hassle having to do all the code development, send off to a customer...and tell him to coordinate and buy some weenie-ware development code that: (1) Always changes versions (2) Is forever installed on some computer someone doesn't have access too....or worse (3) has a dongle. I can't tell you the number of times even at customer locations who bought the code that one walks in to fix an issue....and the guy with the program installed is out that day...or is busy doing other things...or is in another part of the building and you need it in the lab. Or you end up forever chasing versions between users who aren't up to date. Such a hassle. With a free version EVERYONE has access....everyone can download the need to walk arond with some silly 'hold onto your dongle' mentality. Much easier to pop online and download

  • lieser Novice 1 posts since
    Feb 28, 2012

    I'm the opposite of all these old timer guys.  I've only been playing with these since they became easy.  I've never used any of those expensive programmer widgets.  I've use PIC's MPLAB, which is totally solid and does all that needs doing, but is huge and cumbersome.  When I'm prototyping, which is all I ever do, I want fast and sleek. 


    I'm just chiming in because no one has yet mentioned mbed.  It's an online compiler from NXP to work with thier cortex-M3 and cortex-M0 chips.  It's almost childishly simple to use.  I've had simple digital and analog I/O programs up an running in minutes and a whole ethernet stack good to go in a few hours the first time I tried.  It's not probably the tool for real professionals, but for the prototyper getting started it really hits the mark.


    Also to go along with daveatwave, you don't even download it, it's so free.  It's a web based compiler.  I can write the code and my co-workers can compile it to thier MCU right away just by logging in and hitting the button.


    Again, I've never tried to use it to release a real product, just prototyping using their demo board.  They say it can be done, but I only ever build one of what I need.

  • electnut Novice 1 posts since
    Jul 1, 2014
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 4, 2015 9:34 AM (in response to SolutionsCubed)
    Something simple that works

    Arduino... hands down. I have tried several others and can sympathize with the weeks of frustration. With the Arduino IDE I can add AVR chips either by searching online or rolling up my sleeves and adding them myself. That does not even mention the durable chip AVR makes or the great open source community. Now even Microchip and Texas Instruments are trying to piggyback on the success of the Arduino platform.


    I think the AVR/Arduino success is the fact that AVR made their compiler and lot of their programming hardware open source and sold the chip at a reasonable price. Instead of making everything proprietary so nobody competes (hopefully).


    Did I mention that the Arduino UNO worked the first time around?

  • vikas1 Novice 3 posts since
    Oct 27, 2015
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 4, 2015 3:36 PM (in response to SolutionsCubed)
    Something simple that works

    Historically, I have been using Texas Instruments' MSP430 Line of processor. Not that I liked it or made a choice, but just that I started working on a project in the company that was working on MSP430F149. There is really no issue as such. The IAR embedded workbench works nice. I had used the free version. It does hang sometimes, but is not bad.


    Looking back I think I would have liked the cheaper versions of Microchip.


    I ended up writing a tutorial for MSP430 using IAR embedded workbench that you can see here

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)