Author Topic: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?  (Read 13620 times)

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Offline phil_jp1

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2012, 10:40:56 am »
Yeah the learning curve on modern IDEs is pretty steep in my opinion. Maybe if I was a professional and I had to learn PIC or AVR, I would do it, but since I'm a hobbyist, just getting myself to sit down and learn the little quirks and peevs of MPLAB or AVR Studio isn't worth my time.

You don't need too much time to learn all this. It is not so complicated as it seems.
It is worth to learn a single IDE and single architecture, to be able then to hop to any other platform or modern IDE in no time. It's like you learn how to drive a single car model, and then can easily adapt to any other car.

If you worked with arduino before, why not learn the same hardware? Take Atmel Studio, some AVR microcontrollers, and nail down this .... .
AVR micros is as good as any other micros out there for your purposes.
Many people have said it before - it doesn't matter which architecture you start from. The workflow is pretty much the same everywhere.
- Create project in an IDE
- Setup MCU peripherals
- Write your code
- Debug your program

All modern IDEs are all pretty much the same - only some minor things change. Learn how to use a single IDE - and you'll be able to use them all.
Learn how to use a single architecture - and you can adapt to any other in no time.

And it's better to work your way up starting from 8-bit micros. IMHO starting to work with ARM cores would be too much to wrap your head around. And also with ARM you'll be limited to small pitch packages and 3.3 and lower voltage systems. ARM-based micros are great, but if you try to start from there - it would be like trying to learn calculus, before you even know a basic algebra.

man, hate to setup the NVIC in ARMs

I see I'm not the only one  :)
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Offline poorchava

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2012, 01:43:29 pm »
Actually small pitch is a relative term. Anyone who has a bit of manual skills can solder 0.5mmQFP or SOP with little problem, and anything with larger pitch is just plain easy.

3.3V is also worth using, since most of the new goodies like tft displays, cellphone lcds, gps & gsm modules a a lot of special logic work on 3v3 rather than 5v. And for 5V you always have level transpators, open drain/collertors and such (btw - most of 3.3 MCUs have an option to setup I/O pin as open collector and switch higher voltages)

But other stuff is true, 8-bit micros are the way to start. I actually started with Atmel, but I feel that I'd be better off starting with PIC. It's because Atmels are almost all the same, and Microship portfolio is like an order of magnitude bigger than Atmels. plus of course you get much better learning and development support and tools for much lower price than Atmel.
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Offline phil_jp1

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2012, 04:20:42 pm »
Actually small pitch is a relative term. Anyone who has a bit of manual skills can solder 0.5mmQFP or SOP with little problem, and anything with larger pitch is just plain easy.

The soldering itself never was a problem. He is a hobbyist and he might want to do fast some prototypes at home without using breakout boards. Also ARM-based MCUs don't come in a small packages. What if you need only a couple of pins? It all depends on his current needs.

3.3V is also worth using, since most of the new goodies like tft displays, cellphone lcds, gps & gsm modules a a lot of special logic work on 3v3 rather than 5v. And for 5V you always have level transpators, open drain/collertors and such (btw - most of 3.3 MCUs have an option to setup I/O pin as open collector and switch higher voltages)

I would partially agree on this one. Yes, nowdays almost all the digital peripherals is 3V3 or even lower. But if you have some analog circuitry (like op-amps, voltage references, etc.) on a board alongside with MCU, you might want to have 5V instead of 3V3, to avoid putting another regulator. Sometimes it is better to keep it simple. I'm all for using right tools for the right job.
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Offline kblomqvist

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2012, 09:45:11 am »
Ugh. I Want to find a good platform and settle on it/try to learn it.

How about Aery32, http://www.aery32.com? It's a project based on Atmel's UC3A1 (32-bit AVR), which I'm involved to. There's a small breakout board to buy and an open source peripheral library with the build system. The library has been built in away that you can use only the parts you like. The library and the build system doesn't care about the development environment. Use it with IDEs (Atmel Studio, Eclipse, etc.) or in text editor, e.g. Sublime Text 2, which is my personal favourite. Furthermore, the build system has been separated from the library so you can take an advance of the build system only and skip the whole library if you like to write all the stuff yourself. It's also "easy" to add other libraries to project, for example, LUFA (USB framework) has been integrated successfully. In conclusion with Aery32 platform you are "in big leagues" but also up in the speed in couple of hours and can then learn more by reading the MCU's datasheet.

Regarding the AVR Dragon, I have been very happy with that and cannot underwrite its bad reputation.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 07:19:45 am by kblomqvist »
 

Offline FenderBender

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2012, 09:44:43 pm »
Very interesting. I don't think I'd do 32 bit right off the bat, but possibly down the line a bit. Downloaded Atmel Studio 6.0 yesterday. For all the hate, I like the look and feel though I still feel there's too much in your face up front.

Well I've seen some good and some bad about Dragon. I think I'll take the risk and go for it + Atmel Studio. If it's terrible I'll try something else but it seems like a fair shot.
 

Offline kblomqvist

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #30 on: August 31, 2012, 07:14:50 am »
I don't think I'd do 32 bit right off the bat, but possibly down the line a bit.

In my opinion, there's no educational benefits to start with 8bits, if you are in intention to switch in future anyway.

Downloaded Atmel Studio 6.0 yesterday. For all the hate, I like the look and feel though I still feel there's too much in your face up front.

AS6's build system is known to be very slow, 1-2 minutes to build even a small project. With my coding habits, that's making small changes iteratively and then testing on hw, AS6 is just too slow. Thus I do not use it for coding. However, I cannot say that I hate AS6. It has a neat debugging environment that I use every now and then when LED driven debugging is not enough.
 

Offline JuKu

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #31 on: August 31, 2012, 07:30:56 am »
AS6's build system is known to be very slow, 1-2 minutes to build even a small project. With my coding habits, that's making small changes iteratively and then testing on hw, AS6 is just too slow. Thus I do not use it for coding. However, I cannot say that I hate AS6. It has a neat debugging environment that I use every now and then when LED driven debugging is not enough.
Not universally true (maybe your settings, makefile or something is off?). I just tried, and made a small change to one file in my project. That compiled and linked in 6 seconds on my 2.4GHz Core2. The project is not very small, the binary is 116k. Changing three files  raises the compile time to a whopping 8 seconds. Download to target with JTAG ICE 3 is not slow at all either.
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Offline kblomqvist

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #32 on: August 31, 2012, 08:00:49 am »
Not universally true (maybe your settings, makefile or something is off?).

Maybe it's more ASF related. For me an ASF-based project that only sends 'a' via USB CDC class tooks about a minute to build on Core i5. Also with a change to main only. In addition, I have had a theory that clean builds takes time because there so much -Ifoo/bar passed to the compiler.

Update: Rechecking, I had AS5 installed so haven't tested this with AS6.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 08:16:07 am by kblomqvist »
 

Offline phil_jp1

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #33 on: August 31, 2012, 11:01:20 am »
In my opinion, there's no educational benefits to start with 8bits, if you are in intention to switch in future anyway.

There is a big educational point in using 8-bit micros! Because they're order of magnitude simpler than ARM-based ones. To write efficient and bug-free(almost) software for any MCU architecture, one must understand its innards very well. And if you start with ARM right off the bat - you'll learn pretty much nothing about how microcontrollers really work.
On top of that there are many designs where you need to use small micro with a couple of IO pins, and it might be on the same board with ARM, doing its separate functions.

AS6's build system is known to be very slow, 1-2 minutes to build even a small project. With my coding habits, that's making small changes iteratively and then testing on hw, AS6 is just too slow. Thus I do not use it for coding. However, I cannot say that I hate AS6. It has a neat debugging environment that I use every now and then when LED driven debugging is not enough.

It seems that you don't know what you're talking about (no offense, but it's true). AS6 using AVR-GCC toolchain, and so compile time would be pretty much the same as with other IDEs or by using WinAVR.

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Offline poorchava

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #34 on: August 31, 2012, 11:16:50 am »
In my opinion, there's no educational benefits to start with 8bits, if you are in intention to switch in future anyway.

There is a big educational point in using 8-bit micros! Because they're order of magnitude simpler than ARM-based ones. To write efficient and bug-free(almost) software for any MCU architecture, one must understand its innards very well. And if you start with ARM right off the bat - you'll learn pretty much nothing about how microcontrollers really work.
On top of that there are many designs where you need to use small micro with a couple of IO pins, and it might be on the same board with ARM, doing its separate functions.


+1 to that. In a complicated MCU - and 32-bit ones are always feature-packed - you have many dependancies (eg. you have to switch this bit in UART registers in order for I2C to work, but themn pin #5-7 can't be used as ADC....). In a simple 8-bit attiny or atmega of even the nasty pic16 there are only a few things to care about.

Maybe a good example of non-8-bit and quite simple MCUs are low range MSP430s (plus documentation is user-friendly)
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Offline kblomqvist

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #35 on: August 31, 2012, 12:58:02 pm »
It seems that you don't know what you're talking about (no offense, but it's true). AS6 using AVR-GCC toolchain, and so compile time would be pretty much the same as with other IDEs or by using WinAVR.

No offense taken. However, I'm not the only one who have noticed the slow builds, link. But yeah I do not have as much experience with AS to make such a conclusion I made. And as I said afterwards it could be more ASF related than AS. But for me it has been slow, whatever is the reason. Maybe a stupid user error ;)
 

Offline FenderBender

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2012, 01:09:28 am »
So I don't get this ASF thing. Is it like a bunch of libraries or something? And do you have to use it? Or...I looked at the getting started guide. Don't exactly understand what it's purpose is.

Thanks.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #37 on: September 01, 2012, 05:30:54 am »
Excuse me for jumping in at the end of this thread, I didn't look at it before now.

One thing strikes me though--as a learner or student, one should consider what it is you are trying to learn. I say this in response to various comments and advice given above.

What I mean is, are you trying to learn hardware or software? If you are trying to learn hardware (real-time computing, interacting with analog or digital inputs or outputs, controlling peripherals, understanding registers, interrupts, CPU architecture and so on) then there is no point starting with the latest and greatest 32 bit micro. You could readily begin with 8 bit devices and (horror!) even learn to program it in assembly language. After all, if you want to learn about hardware, the machine instructions are where you see how the hardware works. That's where the rubber meets the road. If you don't have a good feel for the hardware, a C compiler on a microcontroller is going to be like a layer of fog between you and and the business end of the system.

On the other hand, if you want to learn software and programming and use IDEs like AS6, then do you really need to mess with micros? Why not work with a programming environment on a PC and take advantage of all the support for comfortable programming in that environment? Your home PC has a very nice 32 bit or 64 bit processor inside it, and any program you write can readily run on that processor and do fun stuff right away. On your PC, your C++ (or C#) compiler is no longer a layer of fog but is now a wonderful abstraction layer that hides the intricacies of the machine and allows you to concentrate on what your program needs to accomplish.

It all comes down to what you are doing. If you are an engineer doing professional design and production, then you have to pick and use the hardware and programming environment that does what you need. But if you are learning, you have no such constraints. You should pick and use the hardware and programming environment that best suits your learning objectives.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 05:32:48 am by IanB »
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Offline amyk

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #38 on: September 01, 2012, 08:56:50 am »
It seems that you don't know what you're talking about (no offense, but it's true). AS6 using AVR-GCC toolchain, and so compile time would be pretty much the same as with other IDEs or by using WinAVR.

No offense taken. However, I'm not the only one who have noticed the slow builds, link. But yeah I do not have as much experience with AS to make such a conclusion I made. And as I said afterwards it could be more ASF related than AS. But for me it has been slow, whatever is the reason. Maybe a stupid user error ;)
Would be good to know what's taking all that time. Is it disk I/O or processor usage? I've never used it before but it's rather hard to justify how compiling code for an 8-bit micro could take so long on a system that's orders of magnitude more powerful.
 

Offline kblomqvist

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #39 on: September 01, 2012, 10:03:51 am »
So I don't get this ASF thing. Is it like a bunch of libraries or something?
Atmel Software Framework. Yes, it's a library and a bunch of other stuff like demo programs and integrations to third party libraries (e.g. freeRTOS) etc. Thus it's called a Framework I think.

And do you have to use it?
No. You can use AS without using ASF. Just start a GCC Excelutable project, include I/O header file to your source file (avr/io.h for 8bits and avr32/io.h for 32bits) and start bit banging the registers.

Don't exactly understand what it's purpose is.
The main purpose is to provide functions that you can use for the internal peripherals. These functions hides the bit banging.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 03:36:55 pm by kblomqvist »
 

Offline kblomqvist

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #40 on: September 01, 2012, 10:18:24 am »
It seems that you don't know what you're talking about (no offense, but it's true). AS6 using AVR-GCC toolchain, and so compile time would be pretty much the same as with other IDEs or by using WinAVR.

No offense taken. However, I'm not the only one who have noticed the slow builds, link. But yeah I do not have as much experience with AS to make such a conclusion I made. And as I said afterwards it could be more ASF related than AS. But for me it has been slow, whatever is the reason. Maybe a stupid user error ;)
Would be good to know what's taking all that time. Is it disk I/O or processor usage? I've never used it before but it's rather hard to justify how compiling code for an 8-bit micro could take so long on a system that's orders of magnitude more powerful.
Yeah, sorry for the brain fart  :-[. Atm. I'm using 32-bit micros (AVR32), but that shouldn't make a difference. Using standalone tools in command line the compilation process is much faster than within AS. And moreover, for me the standalone AVR32 toolchain is even more efficient in Linux (virtual on Windows) than in Windows.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 10:23:05 am by kblomqvist »
 

Offline jeremy

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #41 on: September 09, 2012, 09:57:26 am »
Just thought I'd chime in, I teach this stuff to young EEs at uni.

AVR Studio is more than enough to do some serious projects. Sure, it can be a little complicated but I quite like it. AVR Studio 6 is pretty nice compared to the old one as well. Just get an AVRISP ($34 direct from Atmel last time I checked) or some clone (bus pirate does it too, and you get a really useful tool at the same time) and program your arduino board directly. Although I don't really like the Arduino software environment out of personal preference (I still think its awesome), the boards are perfect for mucking around. STK500 is dead, I haven't used it for a long, long time.

As someone who loves using ARM chips, don't worry about them so much as it took me only a day of fiddling to transfer most of my skills from AVR over. No point putting an V12 in a go-cart ;)

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Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #42 on: September 09, 2012, 04:21:00 pm »
No point putting an V12 in a go-cart ;)
You've clearly never driven a Westfield SEiGHT, then... a 3.9 V8 in a car that weighs about as much as a packet of crisps. Much fun!  ;D

Offline poorchava

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Re: Is AVR Studio good other than being Windows only?
« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2012, 09:10:59 am »
Sadly, I think that AVR, PIC16 and PIC18 will be turning into a curiosity or training subjects only. Even now you can buy for example LPC1111 for around the same price as ATMega8. Even if people won;t use any of the advanced features, it simply cheaper. And the price is what drives the industry. Even now there's hardly any commercial product (apart from won-hung-lo crap from the east) where you can find an AVR. Most of the things have some flavour of ARM chip inside (aither as off-the-shelf MCU or some custom/semicustom IC)
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