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'[PIC] Programming different systems, was Re: Come '
William Chops Westfield wrote:
> What MIGHT be new is a bunch of people used to writing 4MB visual xxx
> applications who suddenly think they can write microcontroller code,
> which would be moderately amusing, but those would be eliminated
> long before the code sees the light of day.
I come from a Windows background in programming; I have only recently
come into PIC work.
There is a world of difference between the C18 and MSVC environments,
the C18 libraries are solely there to provide software interfaces to the
hardware available on the Microchip 18F parts, as well as providing a
minimal C runtime. MSVC provides the same C runtime - with notable
extensions (non-standard in many cases, but all designed to minimise
final code-size) and crucially, a set of libraries to quickly build user
interfaces. These libraries are the 4Mb libraries of William's email,
and were initially written by Microsoft to help programmers to not keep
re-inventing the wheel. An example of this would be that the MDI User
Interface, implemented correctly, takes a phenomenal amount of code to
write, demonstrably more than an entire project in C18 - including the
linked-in runtime - for the PIC. However, having this library available
to all windows programmers simply makes sense, we don't have to waste
out time re-developing the same MDI interface for each new job we do;
there is a reference (correctness aside, here) implementation for all to
I understand your point about bad codesmiths (I was going to write
programmers, but that's got more meanings here than in the Windows
world) virtually eliminating themselves in the market, as I'm sure that
quite a lot of potential entrants to the PIC market wouldn't bother to
make even a half-hearted attempt to start, given the relative paucity of
the PIC's memory. I can also imagine a number of my colleagues at work
not even looking at the PIC, on the grounds that it requires a certain
level of knowledge of electronics, not even considering the size of the
device as anything close to a barrier to entry.
I quite enjoy this lack of space in the PICs; it harks back to a time
20-odd years ago when it was a challenge to write the application you
wanted to on the micro of your choice.
I was quite pleased with myself last night that I completed the UI (3
buttons, and an LCD) for my first project on the PIC and had used only
1366 bytes of memory (18F4520 target, so plenty left for application
code, and probably a smaller PIC for production).
My point - I do have one - is that yes, the PIC is small; yes, it
requires a certain mindset, but that mindset is almost a product of the
C18 environment, it is simply *impossible* to write a bloated
application for the PIC.
I'm sure that the same UI as I have developed for the PIC, in a windows
application would have taken me many more lines of code, and that the
final executable would have been in the region of 400-500Kb *and* link
to the 4Mb DLLs that are the Visual C UI runtime libraries, but it would
the job for that platform. I am the same code author on both systems,
and I produce much smaller code for the PIC, it's horses for courses.
Given that my background is Windows, and I'm used to writing "loads" of
code - my final executables these days are about 300Kb - why does my
assumption that I *can* program a PIC amuse, and at what point will I
stop being a curiousity? :) (rhetorical; I'm only having a minor dig
back at you).
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