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Microchip launches online 8bit MCU development environment

In a move targeted at developers not familiar with the PIC microcontroller, Microchip has launched MPLAB Xpress, a Cloud based integrated development environment (IDE) which it claims is the easiest way to get started with PIC MCUs.

The free IDE is said to provide access to popular features from the company’s MPLAB X IDE, including a library of validated code examples and an interface to MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC) 3.0 for GUI-based MCU peripheral setup and automatic code generation. Users will also have access the XC compiler and to 10Gbyte of secure online storage when they sign up for a myMicrochip account.

Greg Robinson, director of 8bit MCU marketing, said: “It’s the easiest way to get started with PIC MCUs. We are working on adding code examples to the environment and we will be validating them so we know they work and do everything they are supposed to.”

According to Robinson, users can go to the web, access and edit code, compile it and then download to the Xpress evaluation board, pictured. Available for less than $10, the board features an integrated programmer, a PIC16F18855 MCU and a mikroBUS header that allows users to access more than 180 Click boards. MPLAB Xpress IDE also supports Microchip’s Curiosity development board and the PICkit 3 in circuit debugger/programmer.

Although the initial roll out only supports the 8bit XC compiler, the company is planning to extend support to its 16 and 32bit parts later in 2016.

Meanwhile, Microchip is urging developers to join the MPLAB Xpress community. “Users will be able to share, search, discuss and learn,” said Robinson. “It will be a big piece of the puzzle.”

An examples section will include searchable access to MCU code developed and validated by Microchip engineers, while designers can make any of their stored projects available to other community members.

Pic: Microchip's Xpress evaluation board

Graham Pitcher

Source:  www.newelectronics.co.uk

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