Welcome back to part two of Chapter Two. If you'd like to join in from the beginning, visit the Maker's Guide home page. In this lesson, we are going to get your Simplicity Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE) setup. This lesson has a lot of background information but the real hands-on lessons will start in the next lesson.
I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to work in the Simplicity Studio environment. The first thing you need to do is download the Simplicity Studio IDE from this link:
Simplicity Studio Integrated Developer Environment (IDE)
When you first launch Simplicity Studio, you are presented with a wealth of information. Consider yourself very lucky that you have stumbled upon this tool. Historically, this information was particularly hard to find for MCUs.
Simplicity Studio Launch View
Let’s start exploring this tool at the top left. The first thing to do is enter in a part number that you are using, or considering using. It will give you suggestions as you type, so just start typing “EFM32” and then pick one. Alternatively, if you already have a Starter Kit attached to your computer, you can click on “Detect Connected Device…” All of the specifics for your particular part number are detailed, and there are even buttons there to Buy/Sample that exact device.
You can open the Reference Manual or Data Sheet PDF files for that particular processor by clicking buttons under the Buy/Sample buttons. This is very helpful to me because it is quicker than navigating my file system to find a PDF file.
The Reference Manual contains information that pertains to all EFM32 models within a particular family (i.e. the Leopard family is shown above.) The Reference Manual details all of the features supported by that family, including hardware configuration registers. Therefore, some features detailed in the reference manual may not exist in your exact specified part. You will need to check the selection guide above or the Data Sheet, explained below.
The Data Sheet contains information that only pertains to the specific part number entered in the Product field. The Data Sheet details the exact features supported, the absolute and typical operating conditions, electrical and thermal specifications, pinout, and package dimensions.
The Cortex M document is common to all of the models and contains information about the ARM core that resides inside the MCU. This is where machine instructions are specified.
During the duration of this course, you will use many of the “tiles” on this welcome screen. They are incredibly useful and Silicon Labs releases updates and bug fixes often. You can hover your mouse on each of these tiles to see what they do and then launch the tile if you would like to see it.
For now, we are going to open the Simplicity IDE tile in the upper left.
The IDE is the primary tool that you will use to write code for the MCU. Once you have it open, let’s create a new project and take a look around.
Select “File -> New -> Silicon Labs MCU Project” from the menu. A window will pop up that asks for the type of Kit and/or Part that you will be using for the new project. Select the “Wonder Gecko 3800 Starter Kit” and the Part will be selected automatically.
Change the name of the Project to “2_getting_started.”
Now, you should see a screen like the following:
In the later lessons, I will explain the purpose for all of these buttons, menus and windows. For now, let’s build an empty project so that you can see what happens. In order to do that, you have to click on the code window for empty_project.c. Just click anywhere in that window and the build icon (which looks like a little hammer) will become selectable. Click that and then watch the Console window at the bottom.
You will see a popup window as it builds:
If all went well, your Console window should look like this:
So, how did it go? Did you get this “Build Finished” line? I surely hope so, since all we are doing is building an empty project.
If the build went smoothly -- as I expect it will for most people -- congratulations! You are ready to begin development with your Starter Kit! Believe it or not, it wasn’t always this easy. There are war stories form the “days of old” where getting a new “toolchain” to compile an empty project was quite an accomplishment. But you just did it without editing a single “Makefile” or typing a single line on a command line. Lucky you!
If you are an established software programmer, or just like pain, you can of course build targets for the EFM32 family using a Makefile and the command line. You can just use vim or emacs and bypass all of the Simplicity IDE programming functionality if you prefer.
In the next lesson, we will start writing code and running our first program, which is usually the first program that embedded programmers write: Blinking an LED, the “Hello World” of embedded programming.
"There are war stories form..." should be "There are war stories from..."
I just started reading.. and see the last posting was 2015. Will this guide get updated as the Simplicity Studio software has?
Congratulations on Sabertron!