Original Posting Date: July 8, 2014
So your task is as easy as selecting a microcontroller (MCU) and then implementing the code that meets your application´s needs. Sounds straightforward, right? Well, both inexperienced and seasoned engineers might recognize some significant challenges here. In this blog series, we´ll take a look at some cross platform tools, tools that run on major operating systems like Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, that can really simplify some of the challenges when undertaking a new embedded development project. Read part 3 here.
In part 1, 2 and 3 we covered how we can select the “perfect MCU” for our application, and then initialization and optimization of our application code. We also looked at the benefits of having our development tool automatically show us relevant information and give us documentation and code updates.
The final item to consider is cross platform support in the development tools we choose. A comprehensive development ecosystem can have abstract complexities associated with firmware development, and at the same time enable the design team to use their favorite operating system. Maybe it´s a personal choice, but this little detail can help maintaining as well as boosting the speed of the design team.
Although most developers only look at MCU specifications, we now know that the software development tools should not be overlooked. After all, an MCU’s performance is ultimately limited by us as developers, how well we utilize the feature set and how well the code we write performs.
If a developer does not know how to configure a device for the most efficient mode of operation, the capabilities of today´s MCU are potentially under-utilized. In addition, development costs can quickly balloon and impact the overall schedule and costs of a project. As designers, we should look for vendors that provide everything we need in a single software cross platform suite, that can simplify the design cycle, reduce development time, development costs and time to market.
Video: Simplicity Studio for Windows, OS X and Linux from Silicon Labs
Download the free Simplicity Studio software tool here.