Design Automation


Microchip’s new firmware development framework sounds sweet

29 January 2014 Design Automation

Microchip has introduced a comprehensive 32-bit microcontroller firmware development framework with its announcement of MPLAB Harmony. This framework is the first to integrate the licensing, resale and support of both Microchip and third-party middleware, drivers, libraries and real-time operating systems.

Currently, Harmony includes third-party offerings from Interniche, freeRTOS, wolfSSL and OpenRTOS, with many more on the way. The result is that developers can greatly simplify their PIC32 MCU code development process by reducing common integration bugs.

With the growing complexity of embedded systems, industry studies have shown that software development accounts for 60% of the average design cycle. At the same time, designers are using a variety of software with untested compatibility and multiple sources of purchasing and support. This causes increased verification and debug time after the design is completed, which can cost 10 to 30 times more than defects found during the design phase.

The MPLAB Harmony framework reduces development time and costs by providing a single integrated, abstracted and flexible source for Microchip-tested, debugged and interoperable code. In addition, it provides a modular architecture that enables the efficient integration of multiple drivers, middleware and libraries, while offering an RTOS-independent environment that makes it easy to switch RTOSs.

Not only does this pre-verification and integration speed development, it also increases reuse. On the hardware side, the Harmony framework makes it even easier to port code and migrate among all of Microchip’s 32-bit PIC32 microcontrollers. Also, by using this single source for in-house and third-party code (both free and premium) that is supported by Microchip, designers can greatly increase their reaction times to their ever-changing end-market requirements.

MPLAB Harmony is available today, and the basic framework is free. The first release provides initial support for the new PIC32MZ family, as well as the PIC32MX families. Full support for all PIC32 families is planned for the next version release, which is expected in March 2014. Once downloaded, there is a modular menu of free and premium software options that are also available today.

For more information contact Arrow Altech Distribution, +27 (0)21 555 1884, aathanasiou@arrow.altech.co.za, www.arrow.altech.co.za, Avnet Kopp, +27 (0)11 319 8600, shane.padayachee@avnet.eu, www.avnet.co.za



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