Author Topic: uTasker - any experience ?  (Read 847 times)

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Offline Geoff_S

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uTasker - any experience ?
« on: December 06, 2017, 03:04:51 PM »
We've been looking at the option of using the uTasker RTOS (http://www.utasker.com) to help accelerate development of a data acquisition system using Kinetis processors.  It looks like a nice product, and the guy behind it clearly knows what he is doing, but I'm really struggling to get even basic things working.  I expected there to be a learning curve associated with it, but not as much as I've encountered.  Mostly it seems that the difficulties arise from a lack of adequate documentation (ie accurate, comprehensive, and current), so rather than just reading up on a certain aspect of the system and implementing what I want, I need to dig through code and search through forum posts to try to understand what is required.

I'm interested in feedback from others who might have tried it (successfully or otherwise).  I've been hoping the proverbial light bulb will turn on and then the rest will become easy, but I'm not optimistic...
 

Offline uTasker

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Re: uTasker - any experience ?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2017, 03:00:06 PM »
Geoff

If you are having difficulties getting started just contact me for a remote desktop session where I can walk you through the basics.
With help from the simulator most people tend to get up to speed in a short time so I am sure it will be possible to work out what is causing the difficulty in your case so that you can then start making big leaps.

Regards

Mark
 

Online nctnico

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Re: uTasker - any experience ?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2017, 11:00:58 PM »
Why not use FreeRTOS?
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline uTasker

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Re: uTasker - any experience ?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2017, 08:05:43 AM »
Hi

uTasker and FreeRTOS are rather different:
FreeRTOS is a kernel and uTasker is a framework project which contains various IDE projects, peripheral drivers for most Kinetis processors/boards, integrated FAT, TCP/IP, MQTT, graphic library, USB, Modbus, boot loaders and chip simulation.
It also includes FreeRTOS as a "kernel option" which is integrated as a generic Kinetis HW port that operates on all of the devices/boards.

"uTasker RTOS" is misleading (it is not called that) - it concentrates on a complete solution for real-world industrial projects and not on an OS.

Regards

Mark


 

Online nctnico

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Re: uTasker - any experience ?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2017, 09:58:08 AM »
AFAIK FreeRTOS comes with many additional features and has a much bigger community around it. FreeRTOS is not just a kernel! It is also supported by several microcontroller manufacturers including NXP. An example from NXP to get FreeRTOS going on a Kinetis project:
https://community.nxp.com/docs/DOC-330183
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline uTasker

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Re: uTasker - any experience ?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2017, 10:22:24 AM »
Yes, there are a lot of packages put together by manufacturers (sometimes with good additional code) and the FreeRTOS download comes with many examples.
If one finds one of these the best solution and it gives shortest product development cycles for a development one should use it.
If Geoff finds it the best solution for his requirements he should use it too.

Regards

Mark

P.S. I have used FreeRTOS on some 50 different Kinetis parts and there is an easier method to than in the NXP document. The NXP document gets FreeRTOS running but doesn't yet do much to complete a development project.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 11:51:58 AM by uTasker »
 

Offline JohnDowdell

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Re: uTasker - any experience ?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2017, 11:54:39 PM »
I used uTasker several (many?) years ago and was very satisfied with it. I used it on Freescale MC9S12 parts and Coldfire 32bit uCs. The platform was flexible enough to allow feature reduction to work with the resource light MC9S12NE64. Mark has obviously been adding new uCs, platforms and features since then. I haven't revisited it in years, but not because I didn't like it.

 I suppose there was a decent learning curve for me at the time which was a mixture of Freescale IDE/compiler and uTasker learning. As Mark says it's not an RTOS, it's more of a sophisticated task scheduler and for some applications that's perfect. None of the code is hidden away so you can customise deep into the code if you need to although Mark would say he's worked at it so shouldn't have to.

I probably had some learning frustrations with the platform but that's not how I remember it. I remember it as powerful because the structure and APIs weren't restricting. I remember it as interesting and educational. Years ago I did a video on setting up a project with uTasker but I've probably lost it and it would be a very old version of uTasker. Maybe I should try the new version and do  a new video.

Your comments have probably prompted Mark to review what documentation is there. When I had specific enquiries, Mark was always very prompt with a helpful reply. I was using uTasker for commercial purposes and found it to be very affordable and fair regarding licensing. Not sure how much this has changed. I believe it is/was free for experimenting with.

Anyway, would use again. As far as uTasker compared to other solutions, it's just a case of round pegs for round holes and square pegs for square holes.

JD
 

Offline uTasker

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Re: uTasker - any experience ?
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2017, 07:28:22 AM »
Hello JD

18.10.2006 if you want to know exactly! That is when we first communicated and you started using the uTasker project and TCP/IP stack for your first developments ;-)

Of course things have come a long way since then whereby the NE64 (at the time a really interesting little part - here's the story of how it kicked-off the uTasker project http://www.utasker.com/history.html ) is only found in museums now.

I concentrate on Kinetis at the moment but it is still possible to use the same code developed to operate on the NE64 on these since the API/HALs are still compatible (with a few minor exceptions) but with the benefits of the performance and features of the new parts. The Ethernet/Internet capabilities have been complimented with USB classes, integrated FAT, graphics library, dynamic low power management and optimised (interrupt and DMA) driven peripheral services and such - and a large part of this is also offered free as managed open source project to the maker's community.

For professionals there is still one-on-one support and advanced features (such as Modbus, DSP, encryption) with a turn key low footprint SSL/TLS secured MQTT solution for IoT applications to be released any day now....!

Also times have changed a lot: Today there are more and more code generation tools used which is really dumbing-down developers so that they understand less and less about what they are doing so that they effectively take longer to complete real tasks to a good level of quality. And the "free everything" given by the chip makers is imposing a mentality of only free is good - but then I see projects that are delayed due to the months of Sundays invested in actually getting things patched and operating. And in some cases consultants (sometimes myself...) getting hired to fix the bugs in the examples and get the project back on track "because we have already invested so much that we can't change now".

However I am proud that some 50% of commercial evaluations result in the the project being chosen for their product developments because they appreciate that they are getting >10 man years of intensive development, one-on-one project support where needed and for a price of a few hundred dollars. After 12 years of supporting many hundreds of product developments in >30 countries I know of none that had any issues. Many users stay in contact for years and continue using newer versions on newer devices. Unlike the mergers and take-overs or take-overs happening in the semiconductor manufacture landscape and the effect it has on the continuity of their tools and packages, the uTasker one remains stable.

I realise that the project is not very well known and that since it doesn't have "free" in its name it is often rejected by management before it can be looked into but it doesn't actually bother me that much. It keeps me so busy (I work typically on about 6 product developments in parallel, as well as developing new features and supporting the community - possible only due to the uTasker's simulation capabilities) and in some ways it is also nice to be a part of a more exclusive club where things can be done differently and more efficiently that the mainstream...;-)

Regards

Mark


 


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