It seems that the next big thing for MPLAB, Microchip’s IDE, is going to be a move to NetBeans. MPLAB is, mostly, a pretty good place to develop embedded software for the Microchip PIC processors. All the variants from the venerable 16F84 up to the latest 32-bitdevices are catered for. Editing, programming and debugging can all be done from one handy-dandy application. Of course, it has its limitations…

Chief among these, for me, is that it will only run on Windows and I mostly use a mac at home. In fact, almost the only thing I need a windows PC for at home is working on my micromoice that use the dsPIC processor. Although I shall soon switch all new development to the STM32, there will remain a need to code for the dsPIC on the older mice.

Microchip have recognised that there is more to the world than Windows and so they are going to be releasing the next MPLAB generation using the NetBeans IDE. NetBeans is a Java based IDE capable of many tasks. Think of it as like clipse but much, much nicer – and smaller.

Don’t let the Java thing put you off either. Gone are the days when Java applications were automatically big and slow with wierd user interfaces. NetBeans will run on windows, OSX and Linux and runs pretty well identically on all platforms. I already use it as the platform of choice when I have code to edit. In fact, at home, I have the mouse code set up to be edited on the desktop Mac using NetBeans and only switch over to the windows laptop to compile and download to the target.

For my part, I can’t wait for the NetBeans version of MPLAB to become available.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. peteh

    I downloaded a copy of this along with the C30 compiler and, so far, I am pretty impressed. It is a large download and took a little while to install on my mac but it tucks itself away quite neatly and just works.

    MPLABX does not yet have support for the pickit2 programmer but this is promised in the release version. For now, the pickit3 is supported.

    In the meantime, if you have a pickit2, you can download a binary image of the command line pickit2 controller pk2cmd from here:

    This works pretty well but seems to have been written by windows programmers if its use of switches is anything to go by and it took a while to work out the eact set of options needed to program my device. I added a section to the project’s make file that looked like this:

    # Since there is only one target, you don't need to give one on the command line.
    # makefile extension to write the code to the device
    # -P causes the programmer to auto identify the device 
    # -W tells it the device has its own power
    # -M is to program the entire device
    # -E means erase the target
    # -F determines the filename - this only works to the default output
    # -R means release the reset line after programming
    PK2 = pk2cmd -P -W
    	@echo "Programming target..."
    	${PK2} -M -E -R -F${CND_ARTIFACT_DIR_default}/${PROJECTNAME}.production.hex

    Now I can just type make write from the project root folder to send the hex file to the device. It will only work in the default production mode but that will get me by until the pickit3 arrives and/or pickit2 support is added to the IDE.


  2. Arthur de Araújo Farias


    Why not Eclipse?

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