There are many types of softwares available for programming Micro-controllers. These are called toolchains.
A tool-chain is a set of programs, compilers and tools that allows us:
- to write down our code and to navigate inside source files of our application;
- to navigate inside the application code, allowing us to inspect variables, function definitions/declarations, and so on;
- to compile the source code using a cross-platform compiler;
- to upload and debug our application on the target development board (or a custom board we have made).
To accomplish these activities, we essentially need:
- an IDE with integrated source editor and navigator;
- a cross-platform compiler able to compile source code for the ARM Cortex-M platform;
- a debugger that allows us to execute step by step debugging of firmware on the target board;
- a tool that allows to interact with the integrated hardware debugger of our TM4C123xxx Discovery board.
There are two types of users, Professionals and hobbyists. Companies often prefers to use commercial IDEs (Integrated Development Environment). These companies purchases IDE softwares from other companies like Keil, which also comes with technical support. Also, there are some softwares which are available for free which are called Open Source Software/Tool-chain.
Keil MDK is available to us in many packages, one of them is free and others are having some price based on their features.
Few of the Open Source Softwares are Eclipse, Energia (available on energia.nu website) etc.
One can find out and compare the features of these tool-chains by checking on their websites from following links.
Keil MDK is the complete software development environment for a wide range of Arm Cortex-M based microcontroller devices. MDK includes the µVision IDE and debugger, Arm C/C++ compiler, and essential middleware components. MDK is available only for Windows based computers.
These are the features of Keil µVision Software (IDE/MDK):
- µVision IDE comes with Integrated Debugger, Flash programmer and the ARM® Compiler tool-chain. MDK is a turn-key product.
- A full feature Keil RTOS called RTX is included with MDK. RTX comes with a BSD type license. Source code is provided.
- Serial Wire Viewer and ETM trace capability is included.
- RTX Kernel Awareness window. It is updated in real-time.
- Keil Technical Support is included for one year and is easily renewable. This helps you get your project completed faster.
User Guide to Install Keil MDK
- Make a folder named “Workspace” where all the softwares and projects will be saved in future while learning.
Make two sub-folders named “Keil” (for installation of software) and “KeilWorkspace” (for saving project files).
- Download Keil MDK.
Download MDK-Arm latest version. (Note: C51, C251, C166 are for other devices and not for Arm/Cortex).
Note: You need to give the required information to download the MDK software.
- Install the Keil MDK software in “Keil” folder created in first step.
- Once installed, Go to Project>Manage> and select “Pack Installer”. It opens a new window of “Pack Installer”.
- In Pack Installer, search for “TM4C123GH6PM” (device code available on microcontroller packing).
- Select “TM4C123x Series” under “Tiva C Series”, which will open Packs on right side.
- Select “Keil::TM4C_DFP” which downloads Device Support and Examples for TM4C123GXL microcontroller board.
Energia is an Open Source Platform to program Tiva C Series LaunchPad. Energia is available for Windows, Linux 64-bit, Ubuntu and Mac OS X platforms. Its interfacing is quite like Arduino IDE (if you have used Arduino IDE, you will see the similarities).
To use Energia you will need to have the LaunchPad drivers installed. The drivers allow your PC to “see” the LaunchPad on a serial COM port when it is connected.
User Guide to Install Energia
- Download Energia.
Download latest version of Energia for your computer system.
- Unzip the downloaded zip file to appropriate folder.
- Open Energia.exe