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PICList Thread
'Microchip Development Tools'
1997\07\08@090646 by Tom Mariner

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If you had the opportunity to present a list of the features of the Microchip
tools that you like and dislike to the Microchip Development Tools Team ,what
would it include? I have just such an opportunity within a few weeks and feel
it is important to include as many opinions as possible. I know a review of
the archives would yield some good ideas, but I think new, specific thoughts
would be useful.

Everything from the language processors to the visual interface and the
in-circuit emulators and programmers are fair game. In addition, I would
include items that don't exist in the set but you think would be useful,
either because another manufacturer offers it or you just think the future of
our business demands it.

Do the price and configuration of the Zilog Z8 or Motorola HC11 simple
development units interest you?
Why would an ANSI C be important (I know a recent thread pretty well addressed
that one)?
Are interfaces with new or popular tools important?
If the simulation tools are useful, how can they be made better?
Does the PIC Master need to run at full chip speed to be useful?
How does the Internet / intranet affect your method of project management /
development?

Although I worry about taking up the valuable bandwidth of this important
list, the effort may yield stuff that helps us develop great products.

Tom

1997\07\08@102547 by myke predko

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Tom,

Somethings I have been asking about for a while and others I just thought up:

1.  Graphical Stimulus Development with Graphical matching for MPLAB.  (ie
display/edit Stimulus data and display the response during execution.)

2.  Speed up MP-SIM in MPLAB.  A good target would be 10K instruction cycles
per second on a 100 MHz Pentium.

3.  Create a scripting language in MP-SIM/MPLAB which will set up
Breakpoints/execution points, register values (this can be done in DOS MPSIM).

4.  Have MPLAB "remember" what project was being last executed on start-up.

5.  Offer a high level language free of charge that integrates directly into
MPLAB.  This would definitely attract new users.  BASIC is possible, if you
don't want to do a structured language.  The free compiler could just be
available for the mid-range (14 bit instruction) parts.

6.  Publish the MPLAB programmer/emulator interfaces so that third parties
can come up with their own hardware.

That's about it.  I'm curious to see what other people have to say,

myke
{Quote hidden}

"If at first you don't succeed, then maybe sky diving isn't the sport for
you" - Steve Smith

1997\07\08@114445 by Bruno Rodeghiero

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At 10.22 08/07/97 -0400, myke predko wrote:
>Tom,
>
>Somethings I have been asking about for a while and others I just thought up:
>
<snip>
I add to Myke's requests:

A simulator Async stimulus dialog which WILL REMEMBER IN THE PROJECT
THE PIN  and TYPE ASSIGNMENT !!!
And which can be re-sized !
And which will not slow-down the simulation if it's open...

A cursor-style speed control to have the desired and necessary
simulation speed...

Sometimes I  appreciate if it goes slowly, MOSTLY I would see it faster...

A smaller, resizeable Stopwatch window (the Clock frequency should be
in the Project Options, not there to waste space on the desktop..!)
A Power-on-reset key (with RAM randomization) assignable to the
Processor Reset Key as option... or by default.
I want to simulate what REALLY happens when I power-on my PIC....

A mid-summer afternoon's dream..

Thanks a lot.

========================
Bruno Rodeghiero
spam_OUTbrurodegTakeThisOuTspamtin.it
Bassano del Grappa (VI)
========================

1997\07\08@114851 by Clyde Smith-Stubbs

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On Tue, Jul 08, 1997 at 10:22:25AM -0400, myke predko wrote:

> 2.  Speed up MP-SIM in MPLAB.  A good target would be 10K instruction cycles
> per second on a 100 MHz Pentium.

10K???? That's not exactly setting your sights high. I have a PIC16Cxx simulator
that manages over 1 million instruction cycles/second on a Pentium-100 (32 bit
code under NT4.0). And that's all written in portable C.

(The Win95/NT command line version is at http://www.htsoft.com/pic/simpic.exe if
you want it. Run as "simpic xxx" to load xxx.hex and xxx.sym).

> 4.  Have MPLAB "remember" what project was being last executed on start-up.

I'd add to that;

* have MPLAB handle mouse clicks in the window that they're
 made in, not some other window
* sensibly size SFR windows etc. when first opened;
* allow more than one source file per project
* provide a properly documented symbol file format it will read.
* Make the Run/Stop keys/buttons the same thing (why have one key to
 start, and another to stop??)
* Allow hot keys to be configured (I hate function keys) - for a simulator
 the keypad keys Ins/Enter/+/- are very convenient to use. Ins for start/stop,
 + for source step, - for assembler step. These fall naturally under your
 right hand (thumb on Ins, peter pointer on + and -)

* 32 bit (Win95/NT) version of MPLAB.

> 6.  Publish the MPLAB programmer/emulator interfaces so that third parties
> can come up with their own hardware.

I've asked for that (but for the opposite reason - to provide alternative
software) and the official response has been "no".

--
Clyde Smith-Stubbs  |HI-TECH Software,      |Email: .....clydeKILLspamspam@spam@htsoft.com
Ph:  +61 7 3354 2411|P.O. Box 103, Alderley,|WWW:  http://www.htsoft.com/
Fax: +61 7 3354 2422|QLD, 4051, AUSTRALIA.  |PGP: finger clydespamKILLspamhtsoft.com
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
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1997\07\08@161713 by myke predko
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Sorry about this, I originally replied directly back to Phillipe and not the
list.

Philippe,

You wrote:

>>2.  Speed up MP-SIM in MPLAB.  A good target would be 10K instruction cycles
>>per second on a 100 MHz Pentium.
>
>About 1000K instruction cycles per second on a 100 MHz Pentium with UMPS.
>less if you use many UMPS resources.

Would you be willing to talk about how UMPs does that?  The 10K/second came
from the simulator I wrote a couple of years ago; 10K/second on a 75 MHz 486
from DOS 6.22.

I was assuming that 10K/Sec. would be a bit of stretch for 100 MHz and a
Windows Interface.

>>5.  Offer a high level language free of charge that integrates directly into
>>MPLAB.  This would definitely attract new users.  BASIC is possible, if you
>>don't want to do a structured language.  The free compiler could just be
>>available for the mid-range (14 bit instruction) parts.
>
>Waiting 3rd party to do that, but it will surely not be free !

I was thinking about something that would be tailored to the PIC and would
be the next step between MPASM and "C".

For features:

1.  No automatic variables
2.  No lanuguge structures (ie "while")
3.  No Data Structures (although 8 or 16 bit numbers)
4.  Ability to define registers
5.  In-Line MPASM
6.  Single Dimensional Arrays
7.  Limited (no) Optimization

Probably something slightly better than PBASIC.  This should not be that
complex to do.

I apologise in advance if this starts another language Jihad.

myke

"If at first you don't succeed, then maybe sky diving isn't the sport for
you" - Steve Smith

1997\07\08@180010 by Andy Kunz

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>  + for source step, - for assembler step. These fall naturally under your
>  right hand (thumb on Ins, peter pointer on + and -)

My guess is you're using NUMLOCK OFF?  Some of us actually use the numeric
keypad for <shudder> numbers, and touch-type there too!

Andy

==================================================================
Andy Kunz - Montana Design - 409 S 6th St - Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
         Hardware & Software for Industry & R/C Hobbies
       "Go fast, turn right, and keep the wet side down!"
==================================================================

1997\07\08@185654 by Clyde Smith-Stubbs

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On Tue, Jul 08, 1997 at 06:00:28PM -0400, Andy Kunz wrote:
>
> My guess is you're using NUMLOCK OFF?  Some of us actually use the numeric
> keypad for <shudder> numbers, and touch-type there too!

No need - you can distinguish between a keypad 0 (Ins with numlock
on) and a regular 0, and in the simulator there's no particular
need for digit entry unless you are modifying a register etc.,
in which case the dialog would be capturing the input anyway.

--
Clyde Smith-Stubbs  |HI-TECH Software,      |Email: .....clydeKILLspamspam.....htsoft.com
Ph:  +61 7 3354 2411|P.O. Box 103, Alderley,|WWW:  http://www.htsoft.com/
Fax: +61 7 3354 2422|QLD, 4051, AUSTRALIA.  |PGP: finger EraseMEclydespam_OUTspamTakeThisOuThtsoft.com
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1997\07\09@013338 by tjaart

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Tom Mariner wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Here goes! :)

The most important feature would be an open software architecture.

They have implemented a bit watch, but it is still not a first prize
solution,
because you still have to define it as a register and a bit. For
instance, the
flag BigErrorMustExitNow would mean a lot more than, say, Error:2. I use
plenty
of flags, and it becomes a headache to keep track of all of them.

A Buffer watch would be really nice, too. Imagine being able to see your
RS232
buffer in a box with the buffer index, for instance :
  RS232 Watch
     00 H
     01 e
     02 l
     03 l
     04 0

A File register window that comes up in the format (ASCII,hex etc) that
you left
it in, as well as the size.

Here is a small thing that doesn't cease to irritate the daylights out
of me :
If I use a library, I don't (always) care about what goes on in that
software
because I know it works. If there could be any way of preventing MPLAB
from going
into the guts of an I2C routine or whatever, that would be really nice.
It should
also not open all of these files.

I find that I never use the toolbar button that changes from editing to
debugging
etc. I use a few buttons only. It would be nice if we could have more
buttons with
definable icons on the same line. This is a nice-to-have though.

A stopwatch located in the status bar (at the bottom)

The file name displayed in the Program memory box (useful when you are
using
PICstart plus)

It would also be nice if using a dos-based compiler (like MPLABC)
wouldn't crash
MPLAB. Sometimes the compiler is done, but MPLAB thinks its not. Only
CNTR-ALT-DEL
can save you here...

A working C compiler with support from Microchip would be nice. Regular
bug fixes
(more than once a year) would take first prize.

Documentation on the protocol for the PICstart plus.

Flash-based PICs (accross the board) should be highest on the priority
list.

The ideal mid-range PIC (in my most humble opinion) would be a
flash-based 16C77
with an extra UART. The low-end market has been captured with the 12CXXX
series, and
the 'top'-end market with the 17C7XX.I hope they will give some
attention to the mid-range market now.

--
Friendly Regards

Tjaart van der Walt
tjaartspamspam_OUTwasp.co.za
_____________________________________________________________
| Another sun-deprived R&D Engineer slaving away in a dungeon |
|             WASP International  http://wasp.co.za           |
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1997\07\09@042153 by Bruno Rodeghiero

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Other Tips I would appreciate...in MPLAB:

A confirmation (WITH A "CANCEL" COMMAND) window when leaving MPLAB..

I use WIN95 (sic!) and too often I mis-click the cross (shut-off the
program) instead of the "minimize window" box near it (why they are SO
CLOSE #%$£ !!!?)..

At that point MPLAB will only give me the option to save the Project (
and to lose the register values, the Async Stimulus status and so on...) !!!!!
While there is the option CANCEL in the Save Configuration Window..
which is less destructive.

Other desired features in MPLAB-SIM :

An UNDO function while stepping in.. as in TDebug..

A "Save - registers status" and "Resume old Register values" which
could be used together to save a lot of time ( when a point in the
program is reached once, whe can resume from there even two days
after.. whithout restarting simulation, applying the right stimuli at
the pins in the right moments, etc.

Any comment?

========================
Bruno Rodeghiero
@spam@brurodegKILLspamspamtin.it
Bassano del Grappa (VI)
========================

1997\07\09@081032 by Clyde Smith-Stubbs

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On Wed, Jul 09, 1997 at 10:15:27AM +0200, Bruno Rodeghiero wrote:
>
> A confirmation (WITH A "CANCEL" COMMAND) window when leaving MPLAB..

While I agree with the reason behind this, it would fix the wrong problem.
Asking the user "Do you really want to exit? (or are you just clicking
stuff for the hell of it)" is really counter-productive. Rather, it
should obediently exit when asked, but fully save the current state of things,
so
it can be restored to the same point (while keeping the previous project
file, if different, as a backup).

Anyone designing user interfaces MUST ABSOLUTELY read Alan Cooper's
book "About Face: The essentials of user interface design". Take note,
Microchip!!!


--
Clyde Smith-Stubbs  |HI-TECH Software,      |Email: KILLspamclydeKILLspamspamhtsoft.com
Ph:  +61 7 3354 2411|P.O. Box 103, Alderley,|WWW:  http://www.htsoft.com/
Fax: +61 7 3354 2422|QLD, 4051, AUSTRALIA.  |PGP: finger RemoveMEclydeTakeThisOuTspamhtsoft.com
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1997\07\09@124525 by Jack Bonn

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Any interest in having the simulator keep a bit associated with every
memory location to indicate whether it has been written?  Then, instead
of yielding random results, it could halt when an uninitialized memory
location is read.

This is similar to a scheme I heard about years ago in which memory was
initialized with incorrect parity.  If the memory was written, no
problem.  But if it was read, the system would go to the memory parity
trap handler.
--
Jack Bonn  <> Software Design Labs, Inc.
spamBeGonejackspamBeGonespamswlabs.com (847)526-1337

Ignorance and arrogance do a pathetic duet
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1997\07\09@161507 by Bruno Rodeghiero

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At 22.09 09/07/97 +1000, Clyde Smith-Stubbs wrote:
>> A confirmation (WITH A "CANCEL" COMMAND) window when leaving MPLAB..
>
>While I agree with the reason behind this, it would fix the wrong problem.
>Asking the user "Do you really want to exit? (or are you just clicking
>stuff for the hell of it)" is really counter-productive. Rather, it
>should obediently exit when asked, but fully save the current state of
things,
> so
>it can be restored to the same point (while keeping the previous project
>file, if different, as a backup).
>
Hello Clyde
I disagree for two reasons:
1) With your solution (which marries my request about a "save
everything & restore everything") probably it would be NECESSARY to
make same other work when re-opening the program (to say that you want
RESUME a previuos state... and so you would be prompted for the
filename with a select window.....as you could have MANY previuos
states to recover..).
This should waste more time than clicking on a "CONFIRM EXIT" button.
Anway I agree that MPLAB should SAVE everything in the project file..

2) The code for the CANCEL Option is already in the program (or easy to
put in) and anyway it could be mantained the question about the saving
or discarding the current project status.. so it's simply to add the
THIRD button..

I think the normal user could more appreciate a "protected" exit (to
use rarely)
than a laboriuos re-starting of a mis-closed program ..
Who is really guilty is Uncle Bill MS which put that cross there (with
a so small gap from the minimize button..)

Best regards.

========================
Bruno Rodeghiero
TakeThisOuTbrurodegEraseMEspamspam_OUTtin.it
Bassano del Grappa (VI)
========================

1997\07\09@165353 by Clyde Smith-Stubbs

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On Wed, Jul 09, 1997 at 06:04:45PM +0200, Bruno Rodeghiero wrote:

> I disagree for two reasons:
...
> make same other work when re-opening the program (to say that you want
> RESUME a previuos state... and so you would be prompted for the

The default should be to restore to where you left off - if you want
to restore some other project, then that should be done as another
(user-initiated) operation. Of course the other option is to make
"Query on close" a configurable state - if you want to be asked you
can be, if not then not. But we agree on saving everything.

> I think the normal user could more appreciate a "protected" exit (to

Well, different users want different things, but in my experience, and most
people I talk to agree, accidental closure is only 5% or less of deliberate
closure, so it makes sense to have the most often used action the automatic
one - providing the other 5% of cases do not cause loss of information.

Of course astute readers will notice that HI-TECH C *does* ask if you want
to save files on exit - that interface was designed some time ago and our
upcoming Windows interface will behave somewhat differently. That's one
reason I'm particularly interested in this topic at present.


--
Clyde Smith-Stubbs  |HI-TECH Software,      |Email: RemoveMEclydespamTakeThisOuThtsoft.com
Ph:  +61 7 3354 2411|P.O. Box 103, Alderley,|WWW:  http://www.htsoft.com/
Fax: +61 7 3354 2422|QLD, 4051, AUSTRALIA.  |PGP: finger clydeEraseMEspam.....htsoft.com
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