Texas Instruments (TI) has just announced version 6 of its Code Composer Studio IDE. In addition to offering users an intelligent apps center, advanced integration, and enhanced learning tools, this new version of the IDE also makes things simple and easy to learn for new users.
One way to think about Code Composer Studio's app center is as an "iTunes for microcontrollers." Based on the microcontroller platform you've selected, the app center allows you to locate and download additional resources quickly, including libraries, examples, SDKs, real-time operating systems (RTOSs), etc.
The ability to identify, locate, and access quickly all of the software packages the user needs can greatly reduce development time and cost.
Users can also utilize unique built-in learning tools, such as the optimizer assistant and the ultra-low power (ULP) advisor. The optimizer assistant includes a graphical display of memory usage. It provides real-time advice on how to obtain the best performance for the available code size. Meanwhile, the ULP advisor analyses the user's C source code line by line, verifies everything against a detailed ULP checklist, and highlights areas of code that can be improved.
In the case of developers who are new to Code Composer Studio (perhaps even new to microcontroller IDEs in general), there's even an option to select a "Simple Mode." This greatly reduces all of the available options and exposes only the essential functionality the user requires to get up-and-running. Once users are familiar with the fundamental aspects of Code Composer Studio, they can switch back to the full development mode at any time.
Of particular interest to new users is the fact that Code Composer Studio is integrated with, and fully supports, the Energia open source electronics prototyping platform. Launched by Robert Wessels in January 2012, the goal of Energia is to bring the Wiring and Arduino framework to the Texas Instruments MSP430-based LaunchPad -- a low-cost microcontroller board that is made by Texas Instruments.
Free licenses of Code Composer Studio are available when using a development board with an integrated debug interface or when using the ultra-low cost XDS100 debug probe (priced at $79). MSP430 users can use a free 16KB code-size-limited license with the TI compiler or unlimited code size with GCC. The full platinum license for all TI embedded processors is available at the price of $495. Code Composer Studio v6 is also free for Linux and Android application developers who do not require a JTAG debugger.
Click here to see videos of Code Composer Studio in action on TI's YouTube Channel, and click here to download Code Composer Studio.
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting