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IDE Based On Stock Eclipse Also Adds Advanced Debug Capabilities

IDE Based On Stock Eclipse Also Adds Advanced Debug Capabilities

Texas Instruments (TI) switched its Code Composer Studio (CCS) integrated development system to Eclipse awhile back. It recently released Code Composer Studio v5 (Fig. 1). This is still based on Eclipse and it is more compatible than in the past.

The initial transition to Eclipse didn't cut corners because CCS was very popular and very robust. To maintain this on the new platform it was necessary to tweak the plug-ins, especially on the debugging side, so many of the CCS features could be retained or enhanced. This new incarnation still has TI plug-ins but now they are using standard Eclipse APIs because TI worked with the Eclipse foundation to include the necessary enhancements in the latest version of Eclipse. This means that CCS v5 is based on a stock version of Eclipse and TI's additional features are simply part of their set of plug-ins included with CCS. It also means that IDE developers could take advantage of these as well.

Moving to a stock version of Eclipse has also allowed TI to extended the host platforms from Windows to now include Linux. It also makes integration with third party Eclipse plug-ins significantly easier. TI has also cut the price of the base version to only $79 when purchased with the XDS100 JTAG emulator. The Platinum version is priced at $495. This is significantly lower than CCS v4. There is also an Android version that is free. In addition, it has streamlined the installation process by minimizing the base and providing an easy to use, update manager so additional features or platform support can be added via the Internet.

CCS v5 supports a number of specilized TI tools such as the MSP430 configuration tool called Grace (see Graceful Configuration For MSP430). The Resource Explorer is an integrated browser that provides access to an extensive collection of app notes and example code such as TI's controlSUITE, StellarisWare and SYS/BIOS. TI has also include a number of video tutorials that cover most features.

I really like the debug server scripting interface and CCS v5 improves on an already robust multiprocessor debugging platform. This includes support for non-intrusive, runtime access to registers and memory. CCS also has the ability to suspend background code in real-time mode so time-critical interrupt service routines can continue to run. Synchronous multi-core run, step, and halt operations are support as well as cross-core triggering support. The latter provides the ability to have one core trigger other cores to halt. CCS v5 supports advanced hardware breakpoints, watchpoints and statistics counters.

TI has also improved the trace facilities. The Processor Trace facility can measure performance and monitor activity allowing programmers to debug applications with complex timing issues. The System Trace Module (STM) provides non-intrusive software instrumentation capability. STM uses minimal debug overhead.

This is a major improvement for Code Composer Studio. It delivers more functionality at a lower price and it is built on a standard, expandable platform.

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