This is my first project with an EFM part and I must say I miss the days of Config2 and my own tool chain. This new SS4 seems to substantially complicate the process of using SiLabs parts for me.
I'm designing a power controller using an EFM8UB2 part instead of a C8051F320. And that's where things get sideways. If I had used an F320, I could easily fire up Config2 and check my pinouts to see if they are viable before I commit the board to manufacture. As we all know, you can't just connect any peripheral to any pin. You have to go in peripheral order and some peripherals are at set pin locations (VREF, UART0, etc.), you have to skip analog pins and make sure your analog is on port pins that support analog (F70X anyone?), etc, etc.
In this SS4, I literally can't even find the tool to setup the hardware config for an EFM8UB2. No, I don't have a development board attached. Why would I? I don't need training wheels for 8051 development. At least not until this junk was foisted upon me. How can I add a device to even work with this thing. It auto-detects my debug adapter but I can't see where I can just drop an MCU I want to use into the Devices list and run a configuration on it. Is this SS4 perhaps ... NEW. Am I testing development software for SiLabs now?
When I push the button on the main screen to create a New Project, it tells me I have to select a device first and then drops me back at the beginning. If I create a new project from the File menu, THEN it runs a wizard that lets me select my target device and tool chain. Still, I see no way to configure the pinout for the device.
Is there a way to configure the pinout of a device (without resorting to paper and pencil) without having the Demo board attached or code ready to compile? Yes, I'm looking for Config2 functionality prior to having the board built ... that's all. Can SS4 not do this anymore?
Yeah, I get it. I'm on my own.
It seems there's no way to select a target device without creating a project. Once I figured out that I can't use the New Project button on the main screen because it doesn't run the Wizard that lets you choose a device, but instead must use the File, New to create a project and get the Wizard that selects a device.
This all from the Launcher view with a Devices box and Solutions box to the left. There's no way that I can find to just go over to the Devices box and add a device that you're interested in.
So here's the main thing I've discovered. When you first install SS4, and you've never built a project, there is no Configurator button on the right of the tool bar. There's only the Launcher and Simplicity IDE buttons. Once you create a project and then close it ... a Configurator button then appears, even if you close the project. Now it seems to be there permanently ... which is great.
Imagine how difficult it is to access the Configurator when there is no menu item or tool bar button labeled "Configurator". Further, imagine how difficult it is to create a New Project when pushing the New Project button in the Launcher view just throws up a dialog that say "Please select a device compatible with installed tools". Yet, there is no way to drop a device in the Devices box to the left.
I eventually was able to access the Configurator by creating a new project. The Configurator itself is quite a bit more cumbersome than the old one. It's not apparent at all that you can go click on the pins in the drawing. The old one used dialog controls which are obvious to everyone. This thing is unnecessarily graphical.
I will get there. It will take me days to figure this thing out.
Then there is the sluggishness. I'm on a dual Xeon workstation and it's apparent to me that this thing goes off into the weeds connecting back to SiLabs for some things. For example, I just opened the tool to look for something and then tried to close it again but it took a couple of minutes because it was in the middle of checking for updates. When I push the "Close" button, I expect something to close and not "close at it's convenience." Dear software devs, you work at a company that makes devices for doing real-time control. When a "close" message comes in, please stop whatever it is you are doing and perform the requested function ... you know, like the rest of us do when we use SiLabs devices. Not ... when you get around to it because your update check it SOOO critical.
We appreciate you being a Silicon Labs customer and I'm sorry for all your frustrations with using Simplicity Studio v4, it is quite different than the Silicon Labs IDE and Config2 and there is a learning curve with it as with any new tool. Simplicity Studio v4 is Eclipse based and so it will be slower in doing certain things than the Silicon Labs IDE, but it offers much more functionality and for those familiar with Eclipse most operations are common across all Eclipse platforms.
When a target board isn't available to connect to the PC, then clicking on the Solutions tab from the Launcher perspective allows the device to be entered in the search box, so when entering EFM8UB2 a list of compatible boards and devices will appear and the desired part can be clicked in that link. The Getting started tab then shows Demos and Software Examples compatible with the board if one once entered. If only a part is entered then clicking on the "Compatible Tools" tab will show the tools to be used with that part and there is a "Hardware Configurator" labeled icon, clicking that will allow you to select an existing configurator project to edit or a new hardware configurator project to be created. The Project configuration wizard goes through a number of steps allowing the desired SDK, part, and board to be selected as well as the project name. Once the project is created a representation of the part will be shown with the individual pins and peripherals available to be configured. The "Problems" tab below the configurator window will give details about any configuration issues that need to be resolved. Right clicking on a line in the Problem window offers a "Goto" option and clicking that opens the properties window where the change can be made (after making a change, click somewhere else in the Properties window for the change to take effect).
The icons that show up in the upper left window, Launcher and Configurator for example, are called Perspectives in Eclipse, once they are opened they will stay opened until the user closes them. But they can also be opened by clicking the little window (or spreadsheet symbol) to the left of the open perspectives this brings up the "Open Perspective" dialog box.
As far as the updates not stopping when you press the Close button, I agree that is annoying. Silicon Labs recommends keeping Automatic updates enabled, but the check can be disabled. Go to [Window] > [Preferences] > [Install/Update] > [Automatic Updates] and uncheck the box "Automatically find new updates and notify me". Again Silicon Labs recommends keeping the box checked to be notified of important new updates, but there is the option to disable the check. In general Eclipse applications (including Simplicity Studio) can be configured through the different Preferences screens. Also one tip to quickly find how to do something in Simplicity Studio is to type CTRL+3 to pull up the Quick Launch dialog box, then type whatever you want to do in the search box, typing "configu" for example shows a link to the Configurator.