Part of making a product is selecting the right Microcontroller to do the job. There is a lot to consider, price, availability, features and the cost of the toolchain. Some compilers, IDEs & Jtags can cost thousands.
We have chosen the
LM3S6100 (Didn’t have enough RAM) LM3S6432 for the SplashLight. TI (Texas Instruments) offer Code Composer Studio an eclipse based IDE which supports their entire range of microcontrollers. A quick look at the product page shows you can get a 30 day evaluation version but otherwise you will need to spend $495 per seat. Well that is unless you have a XDS100 based jtag which almost all TI’s LM3S dev kits come with! You simply activate the “Free Limited License” it’s only limit is that it will only work with XDS100 jtags, so no code or time limit. I guess they don’t like to shout about it so bigger businesses will just pay the per seat fee’s. But for Makers, Enthusiasts or people with no money it’s great! TI’s wiki page for the XDS100 lists all the suppliers for standalone XDS100 jtags, circuits to make your own or just pick up the cheapest TI LM3S dev kit you can find.
Personally I think every large manufacturer should give away free IDEs to their users, it lowers the barriers to entry and gets people using your devices.
TI have also recently released a stable version of CCS 5.1.1 which so far seems slightly quicker than v4. Theres many other changes, may favorite is that they have tidied up the massive project settings dialog which previously was a bit daunting to use.
SplashLight Development is going well, I’m working on the boot loader so for those of you who don’t want to mess around with code or Jtags can just update it simply with firmware we will provide over the network or via the serial interface. If your interested in buying a SplashLight when they are ready register your interest here, there’s no commitment to actually buying one, we just want to see how many people would want one and where in the world you are. We have already had a few, so thanks for those they help keep us motivated!