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Geertjan's Blog

  • September 22, 2011

Open source framework powers latest IDE, but it isn’t Eclipse

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
Microchip has made a significant strategic shift by adopting an open source framework on which to base the latest version of its integrated development environment, MPLAB. It provides engineers with a single IDE for its entire range of 8, 16 and 32bit MCUs, with cross-platform support for Linux, Mac OS and Windows operating systems.

Microchip has made a significant strategic shift by adopting an open source framework on which to base the latest version of its integrated development environment, MPLAB. It provides engineers with a single IDE for its entire range of 8, 16 and 32bit MCUs, with cross-platform support for Linux, Mac OS and Windows operating systems.

The emerging importance of the MAC OS and Linux operating systems has influenced Microphip’s decision to move to an open source framework for the latest release of its IDE, choosing NetBeans over the widely popular Eclipse environment claiming that it is a perfect fit for the embedded environment. This follows a recent decision by Atmel to abandon Eclipse, stating that it is over-complex for the embedded space.

As well as cross-platform support, the MPLAB X IDE also heralds a number of additional features including the ability to manage multiple projects and tools with simultaneous debugging, an advanced editor, visual call graphs and code completion.

As well as supporting all of Microchip’s MCUs, the IDE can also be used when developing with the company’s dsPIC digital signal controllers and memory devices, in total more than 800 products are supported.

The open source NetBeans environment is expected to enable many future features, through plug-ins developed in part by the open-source community. The IDE is also claimed to provide compatibility with a wide range of development tools, through a single, unified graphical interface for Microchip and third-party tools, including the MPLAB ICD 3, PICkit 3 and MPLAB REAL ICE debugger/programmers.

MPLAB X is built on the core benefits of the Oracle Sponsored open-source NetBeans platform, which has an active user community that could contribute a wide range of enhancements and third-party plug-ins. It means Microchip customers can take advantage of free NetBeans software components and plug-ins that are available immediately, as well as the capability to customise MPLAB X IDE to match individual development needs.

The MPLAB X IDE’s features include: an import utility for migrating projects from the previous MPLAB IDE platform; code completion and context menus via an advanced editor; a configurable watch window; support for multiple compiler versions, simultaneously, and team collaboration tools for bug tracking and source-code control.

MPLAB X is free and can be downloaded today from www.microchip.com/MPLABX. To help ensure that there are no disruptions to active projects, Microchip says it will also continue to support the current MPLAB 8 environment.

From "Open source framework powers latest IDE, but it isn’t Eclipse", EETimes

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Comments ( 5 )
  • Jonathan Spooner Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Why is NetBeans a "perfect fit for the embedded environment"?


  • Geertjan Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Hi Jonathan. That part of the quotation comes from this paragraph: "The emerging importance of the MAC OS and Linux operating systems has influenced Microphip’s decision to move to an open source framework for the latest release of its IDE, choosing NetBeans over the widely popular Eclipse environment claiming that it is a perfect fit for the embedded environment. This follows a recent decision by Atmel to abandon Eclipse, stating that it is over-complex for the embedded space."

    Hence, one can conclude that Eclipse is considered to be over-complex. Also, Eclipse is good for Windows-only apps, less so for apps on Mac OS and Linux. Here are other reasons that probably came into play:

    http://netbeans.dzone.com/why-from-eclipse-rcp-to-netbeans-platform

    Other reasons, specifically relating to Microchip, can be found here in an interview done with Microchip:

    http://netbeans.dzone.com/nb-microchip


  • Geertjan Thursday, September 22, 2011
  • javydreamercsw Friday, September 23, 2011

    When you mention Atmel leaving Eclipse does it means that the AVR Studio might be migrated to NetBeans? That would be great! The current Studio (5) can use a lot of NetBeans features.

    This are huge news for the NetBeans community!


  • Geertjan Friday, September 23, 2011
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