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'MP-C C-compiler. Is it reliable? How expensive?'
1996\06\18@140850 by NEIL GANDLER

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I noticed last night in the PIC Microcontroller databook, that there
is a universal C Compiler endorsed by Microchip called MP-C. They
only provide an address, not a phone # to the company in Ontario.
Has anyone used this compiler and can attest to its accuracy and usefullness.
Anyone know how much it costs? I would appreciate any info.

                       Neil Gandler

1996\06\18@170024 by Clyde Smith-Stubbs

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> From: NEIL GANDLER <spam_OUTV064MB9KTakeThisOuTspamubvms.cc.buffalo.edu> wrote:

>  I noticed last night in the PIC Microcontroller databook, that there
> is a universal C Compiler endorsed by Microchip called MP-C. They
> only provide an address, not a phone # to the company in Ontario.
> Has anyone used this compiler and can attest to its accuracy and usefullness.

This compiler has now been bought by Microchip and renamed MPLABC. There is
a demo on their ftp (and maybe web) site. I have used it, but I'm not in
a position to make unbiased comments.

Clyde

--
Clyde Smith-Stubbs       | HI-TECH Software,       | Voice: +61 7 3300 5011
.....clydeKILLspamspam@spam@hitech.com.au      | P.O. Box 103, Alderley, | Fax:   +61 7 3300 5246
http://www.hitech.com.au | QLD, 4051, AUSTRALIA.   | BBS:   +61 7 3300 5235
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For info on the World's best C cross compilers for embedded systems, point
your WWW browser at http://www.hitech.com.au, or email infospamKILLspamhitech.com.au

1996\06\18@171501 by rrasa

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>  I noticed last night in the PIC Microcontroller databook, that there
> is a universal C Compiler endorsed by Microchip called MP-C. They
> only provide an address, not a phone # to the company in Ontario.
> Has anyone used this compiler and can attest to its accuracy and usefullness.
> Anyone know how much it costs? I would appreciate any info.

The phone number for Bytecraft is 519-888-7626.  They can also be
reached at .....infoKILLspamspam.....bytecraft.com.

I've used MPC for a couple projects, and it works fine (but not
without a few quirks -- see my list of gripes at
"http://www.sky.net/~rrasa/ee_pic.html").  It cost us $795, I
believe, and there's supposed to be a free upgrade to the Microchip
compiler when it comes out ...


Randy Rasa
EraseMErrasaspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTsky.net
http://www.sky.net/~rrasa

1996\06\18@183132 by Kalle Pihlajasaari

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Hi Neil,

Here is a snippet from the Microchip news brief.


Operating on any IBM. PC/AT. or compatible computer running
DOS 5.0 or later, MPLAB-C is available for delivery today at a
special introductory price of $495. After Aug. 15, 1996, the C
compiler will be priced at $695. Contact any authorized Microchip
distributor around the world for more information.

>  I noticed last night in the PIC Microcontroller databook, that there
> is a universal C Compiler endorsed by Microchip called MP-C. They
> only provide an address, not a phone # to the company in Ontario.
> Has anyone used this compiler and can attest to its accuracy and usefullness.
> Anyone know how much it costs? I would appreciate any info.

The MPLAB-C is the Microchip branded version of the MP-C compiler
as far as I am aware.  There are 2 other (3) free/share ware
c compilers and a budget US$100 one as well.  There aer already a few
BASIC compilers and PCode interpreters (Parallax stuff especially).

The MPLAB-C compiler intergrates into the FREE MPLAB windows
environment quite nicely and there is a free limited code output
version of the MPLAB-C on the Microchip web page where you got
the MPLAB and MPASM and MPSIM.

NEW URL for Microchip is

  http://www.microchip.com

Hurrah for microchip, looks like they are going to have their
own server with their web stuff.

Cheers
--
Kalle Pihlajasaari     kallespamspam_OUTdata.co.za
Interface Products     Box 15775, Doornfontein, 2028, South Africa
+27 (11) 402-7750      Fax: +27 (11) 402-7751

1996\06\18@191140 by Neil Gandler

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On Tue, 18 Jun 1996, Randy Rasa wrote:

> >  I noticed last night in the PIC Microcontroller databook, that there
> > is a universal C Compiler endorsed by Microchip called MP-C. They
> > only provide an address, not a phone # to the company in Ontario.
> > Has anyone used this compiler and can attest to its accuracy and
usefullness.
{Quote hidden}

___________________________________________

For $795, I could get a PIC emulator for that price. Thats the biggest
ripoff for a compiler, even for industrial use.

Neil Gandler

1996\06\19@005500 by Eric Brewer

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{Quote hidden}

There is a press release dated June 6 with regard to the MPLAB-C on
Microchip's Web site.

I spoke to a rep for Microchip and they explained they licensed the compiler
from Bytecraft and "have made a number of significant changes and
improvements to it". I have not had a chance to personally check it out.
Although, I have the MP-C compiler and find it to be rather lacking. It
is usually faster for me just to do the code in assembler than to deal with
all of the limitations of the compiler.

As for the price - MP-C is $800. Microchip's MPLAB-C is $495 until Aug 15
when it bumps to $695.

I ordered a copy of the MPLAB-C today and should have it in a couple of
days. (While the demo version is available on the Web site, I don't really
have the time to mess around with it.) If anyone is interested, I will post
my thoughts on MPLAB-C.

Cheers,
eric

1996\06\19@013705 by fastfwd

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Clyde Smith-Stubbs <RemoveMEPICLISTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU> wrote:

> This compiler [Bytecraft's MPC] has now been bought by Microchip
> and renamed MPLABC. There is a demo on their ftp (and maybe web)
> site. I have used it, but I'm not in a position to make unbiased
> comments.

Clyde:

A small clarification:  Microchip did not "buy" MPC and rename it
MPLAB-C; they licensed the MPC source code and used it as the basis
for MPLAB-C.  Bytecraft will continue to market MPC.

At this instant, MPLAB-C and MPC are nearly identical.  As time
passes, however, I'd expect the two compilers to evolve in different
directions, with MPLAB-C becoming more memory-efficient and MPC
growing to include more data types (including floats and 24/32-bit
integers), math functions, etc.

This prediction is my opinion only; please don't misconstrue it as
representing the official plans of either Microchip or Bytecraft.

-Andy

Andrew Warren - fastfwdEraseMEspam.....ix.netcom.com
Fast Forward Engineering, Vista, California
http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/2499

1996\06\19@014525 by fastfwd

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NEIL GANDLER <EraseMEPICLISTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU> wrote:

> I noticed last night in the PIC Microcontroller databook, that
> there is a universal C Compiler endorsed by Microchip called MP-C.
> They only provide an address, not a phone # to the company in
> Ontario. Has anyone used this compiler and can attest to its
> accuracy and usefullness. Anyone know how much it costs?

Neil:

MPC is available from Bytecraft Limited.  Their phone number is 519
888-6911.

It costs around $800.  I'm convinced that it (and Microchip's version
of it, MPLAB-C) is the best compiler available for the PIC16/17
series, but I'm too tired to go into my usual list of reasons why.
I'm sure that others on the list will be more than happy to tell you
all about it, and many will undoubtedly praise the $100-$300 low-end
"baby-C" compilers, too.

Some of those low-end compilers are pretty good; depending upon your
needs, you may find that they're better for you.

-Andy

Andrew Warren - RemoveMEfastfwdEraseMEspamEraseMEix.netcom.com
Fast Forward Engineering, Vista, California
http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/2499

1996\06\19@081545 by Jattie van der Linde

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Eric Brewer wrote:
> have the time to mess around with it.) If anyone is interested, I will
> post  my thoughts on MPLAB-C.
>
> Cheers,
> eric

Please do I'm following the discussion quite curiously as I'm also a
C-programmmer and I'd like to hear what the limitations are rather than
wasting my budget on something not worthwile.

Thanks

Jattie.

1996\06\19@093924 by Dana Frank Raymond

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>For $795, I could get a PIC emulator for that price. Thats the biggest
>ripoff for a compiler, even for industrial use.
>
>Neil Gandler

I can't say I agree Neil. A commercial grade compiler is one of the main
limiting factors affecting what a product can do when constrained to small
data and program memory sizes. An emulator simply affects how long the
development and qualification of firmware takes.

I've used MPC now since it came out. I use it for every PIC project I
develop. It supports ANSI C and embedded MPASM assembler instructions (MPASM
is embedded within it). Hence, I've never had to use another assembler.

ByteCraft has taken its sweet time in fixing MPC bugs. Seems like once they
fix one, another one shows up. But I've learned how to use it to produce
stable code, and in fact I love it! It saves me countless hours in
development, which help keep me competitive as a consultant.

The bugs can be worked around. The only other 'problem' is that it generates
redundant page selects. A recent calculation indicates that approximately 8%
of PIC16C84 code space is taken up with them! Microchip has promised to fix
that problem, and correct the bugs as well.

As for price... Any other microcontroller C compiler (Avocet systems, etc.)
would be significantly more expensive. Its the cost of professional development.

MPC works well with the Advanced Transdata RICE16 emulators, with windowed
source code debugging.

I will be upgrading to MPLAB-C, which had a release date of June 15/1996.

Regards, Dana Frank Raymond
RemoveMEdfrspam_OUTspamKILLspamicom.ca

1996\06\19@113502 by rdmiller

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I tried the MPLAB-C demo, then purchased the CCS "PCM" compiler instead.

MPLAB-C ([US]$800):
 o All variables are "static".  To use data space efficiently, you
   have to make them all global and keep track of which ones you're
   using in which places.
 o Arrays are limited to one dimension.
 o Bit-fields are NOT permitted in structures or unions.
 o Functions may only return two bytes.
 o Functions may only have a maximum of two arguments.
 o You have to write your own code to control peripherals.

CCS "PCM" ([US]$99): (http://www.execpc.com/~ccs/picc/)
 o Variables can be either "static" or "auto"(default), and the
   compiler keeps track of which ones are used by which routines
   so it can allocate them to specific memory locations at compile
   time.
 o Arrays are limited to *five* dimensions.
 o Bit-fields ARE permitted in structures and unions.
 o Functions can return whatever you want.
 o Functions can have as many arguments as you want.
 o Built-in functions exist to handle PIC peripherals and timing,
   like "OUTPUT_LOW(<pin>)", "INPUT(<pin>)", "RESTART_CAUSE()",
   "SETUP_COUNTERS()", "DELAY_US()", "ENABLE_INTERRUPTS()", etc.

With very little adjustment, CCS's PCM C compiler can work with
Microchip's MPLAB environment in place of MPC.  The advantage of
having pragmas and routines for handling the PSP, SPI, and USART
ports made my life a lot easier.

MPLAB-C is based on a compiler which was meant to allow portability
between other (non-PIC) microcontrollers as well.  It shows.

CCS's PCM C compiler is taylored specifically for PICs and produces
really nice, tight assembler code.  I got 390 words of machine code
for a 310-line C program!  It takes advantage of the PICs' features
just like I would have if I were writing in assembler.

No, I'm not going to profit from promoting CCS's compiler... I just
bought a copy and can't stop thinking up other neat stuff I could
do with it.

Rick Miller

1996\06\19@212457 by Steve Hardy

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> From: Neil Gandler <RemoveMEgandlerTakeThisOuTspamspamACSU.BUFFALO.EDU>
> [cut]
> For $795, I could get a PIC emulator for that price. Thats the biggest
> ripoff for a compiler, even for industrial use.
>
> Neil Gandler
>

As a software engineer I can assure you that $800 for what is,
after all, a fairly low-volume product is quite reasonable.  It can
cost 100's of thousands or even millions of dollars to develop
complex software like compilers.  A real product is not developed
in someone's backyard by some sort of guru working for $10 an hour
and living on the smell of coffee.

Having said that, I think it is much easier in the long run to just
use assembler rather than stuffing around force-fitting high level
languages into tiny memories.  Since C is only a small step up
from assembler (if you don't count the standard C library) why not
go the whole hog and learn the instruction set.

People on this list have been complaining about compilers not producing
object code that was (1) correct and (2) readable!  If you are reading
the disassembly, why not write in assembler in the first place?

After all, the 16Cxx series uses just 35 odd instructions - how difficult
can that be especially as MPASM supports quite reasonable macros?  If
your application doesn't need blinding performance why not use a
basic stamp?

Regards,
SJH
Canberra, Australia

1996\06\26@120816 by james

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Rick Miller wrote:
>
> I tried the MPLAB-C demo, then purchased the CCS "PCM" compiler instead.

>   o Arrays are limited to *five* dimensions.

Is this useful?  The PIC has very limited resources.

>   o Functions can return whatever you want.
>   o Functions can have as many arguments as you want.

Certainly this is not true.  The PIC has *very* limited resources.

> CCS's PCM C compiler is taylored specifically for PICs and produces
> really nice, tight assembler code.  I got 390 words of machine code
> for a 310-line C program!  It takes advantage of the PICs' features
> just like I would have if I were writing in assembler.

I'm curious.  How does the MPC compiler compare in compactness of
generated code?

Have you completed any commercial products with this compiler?  How did
it go?


James

1996\06\26@151803 by rdmiller

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On Wed, 26 Jun 1996, James Musselman wrote:
> Rick Miller wrote:
> >
> > I tried the MPLAB-C demo, then purchased the CCS "PCM" compiler instead.
>
> >   o Arrays are limited to *five* dimensions.
>
> Is this useful?  The PIC has very limited resources.

It's much more useful than being limited to one dimension!  :-)

> >   o Functions can return whatever you want.
> >   o Functions can have as many arguments as you want.
>
> Certainly this is not true.  The PIC has *very* limited resources.

Yes, of course.  Within the hardware limits.  But that's my point.
The ByteCraft compiler places arbitrary limits which are much more
restricting than the hardware.

> > CCS's PCM C compiler is taylored specifically for PICs and produces
> > really nice, tight assembler code.  I got 390 words of machine code
> > for a 310-line C program!  It takes advantage of the PICs' features
> > just like I would have if I were writing in assembler.
>
> I'm curious.  How does the MPC compiler compare in compactness of
> generated code?

They're not awfully different, but the ByteCraft compiler needs
special (UNDOCUMENTED) pragmas to get rid of unnecessary overhead.

> Have you completed any commercial products with this compiler?  How did
> it go?

I'm currently working on a dual floating V/I source and measure board
for Digalog's automated test equipment.  The CCS compiler has sure made
it a lot easier to do the communications protocols necessary between
the host computer, board controller, and individual (optically isolated)
channel controllers since they're all using similar ("C") source code.

The thing that makes the CCS compiler better for this than the ByteCraft
is that most of the PSP and SPI routines are already built in, and they
already account for any foibles the target processor may have (like the
SPI and PSP quirks in the PIC16C65 that I'm using).

And how 'bout response to bug reports... how does THREE HOURS sound?!?
I e-mailed CCS (EraseMEccsspamspamspamBeGoneexecpc.com) about some personal preferences as to
the working of their new "CASE" pragma and they e-mailed me back before
lunchtime that I could pick up the new version on their BBS!

(Okay, okay, so they're in the process of making it work more smoothly
with Microchip's latest stuff...  Still, *three* *hours*!)

I'm lucky enough to work only 20 minutes from CCS's office, so I went
there to pick mine up in person.  They're a no-nonsense operation.
Cheryl (one of the cutest secretaries I've ever seen) even answers
most technical questions herself.

I tell ya, I'm just tickled pink with this compiler.  Honest.  The guy
should put its reference manual on-line just to show off the features.

Rick Miller

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