Electronic Design

Keep It Simple

Rabbit Semiconductor, Zilog, and Microchip, among others, have maintained their own IDEs to support their own line of microcontrollers. This lets them provide a simpler interface for users as well as highlight their particular feature set.

Typically, this means features like code templates and source-code management are simpler or nonexistent. Yet moving up from these tools to higher-end IDEs tends to expose developers to culture shock.

CodeWarrior v5.0 is a hefty IDEs. But Freescale has worked to pare down its complexityfor its 8-bit developers by slightly changing its face. Even something as simple as changing the way licenses are managed can make a developer's job easier.

Freescale hides some of the more complex and less used features in different areas. It also exposes more functionality, using wizards that spare users from many procedure details, such as generating code for a target platform or setting up a project.

Even tech support gets easier with a single pack-and-go process, which bundles all necessary files to report an error. Developers can use it to exchange information. This version of CodeWarrior targets the HC(S)08 8-bit microcontroller.

Part of this simplification also addresses some of the advanced debugging features found in the 8-bit part. For example, multiple debugging registers and a trace facility can track the change of execution flow—not bad for a debugging interface that uses a single wire. This is especially handy for lowpincount parts that are becoming more popular because of their low power consumption.

TAGS: Freescale
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