Helpful ReplyHot!Harmony worth using?

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NKurzman
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Re: Harmony worth using? 2017/07/07 11:10:35 (permalink)
4.67 (3)
Yes I use Harmony.
V1.11 for my pic32mz.
V2.03b for my MX
I complian way to much to not have used it.
If you are not using the big peripherals( tcp/up,USB,graphics, files) you have more options. These options are always available with the smaller peripherals(uart, timers, ic,oc,I2c,spi)

1) use Harmony drivers.
2) use only the harmony peripheral libraries. They are similar to PLIB. You can make a shell project t and MHC will bring it in.
3) read the data sheets and poke the registers.
4) for MX only you can use MLA.

I am using 1 and 2 on my MZ
And 2 and 3 on my MX.
I would use PLIB more, but in their attempt to abtract it they have removed the linkage to the data sheet. And the libraries themselves are not extensively documented. It can be hard to fine the name of the function that performs the task you need.

Moving from 8/16 bit pic to 32 read up on the set, clear and invert registers. Harmony or not.
#21
mrpackethead
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Re: Harmony worth using? 2017/07/07 11:14:02 (permalink)
5 (2)
I feel that harmony' downfall is its lack of insightful documentation, and training material.    Compared to the likes of STM32F etc etc, theres an awful lot that you have to 'guess' at..   And there are just things that are fustrating..

I'm at a crossroads now. We have a lot of time invested in PIC32 products,  but i'm wondering if i should move on to something else.
 
#22
NorthGuy
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Re: Harmony worth using? 2017/07/07 11:35:29 (permalink)
4 (2)
mrpackethead
I feel that harmony' downfall is its lack of insightful documentation, and training material.    Compared to the likes of STM32F etc etc, theres an awful lot that you have to 'guess' at..   And there are just things that are fustrating..



Neighbour's grass always looks greener :)
#23
mbrowning
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Re: Harmony worth using? 2017/07/07 12:41:54 (permalink)
0
mrpackethead
Compared to the likes of STM32F etc etc, theres an awful lot that you have to 'guess' at..   And there are just things that are fustrating..

Things are probably much better now, but I started with the STM32F3 10 years ago (after some years working with variants of 8051, PIC, AVR, 80188, 68xxx, etc.) and I found it to be the most frustrating thing I'd ever dealt with. Every little thing required setting up multiple modules with unclear documentation; the peripheral libraries were atrocious; the I2C interface was next to broken. Powerful yes, but it took a lot of effort to unlock that power.
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Aiden.Morrison
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Re: Harmony worth using? 2017/07/10 01:23:58 (permalink)
1.67 (3)
mbrowning
mrpackethead
Compared to the likes of STM32F etc etc, theres an awful lot that you have to 'guess' at..   And there are just things that are fustrating..

Things are probably much better now, but I started with the STM32F3 10 years ago (after some years working with variants of 8051, PIC, AVR, 80188, 68xxx, etc.) and I found it to be the most frustrating thing I'd ever dealt with. Every little thing required setting up multiple modules with unclear documentation; the peripheral libraries were atrocious; the I2C interface was next to broken. Powerful yes, but it took a lot of effort to unlock that power.




In that regard Microchip has caught up with the STM32F environment as Harmony is overwrought while the documentation is mostly auto-generated pablum devoid of usage examples.  They are making progress though - the PIC32MZ I2C module is also next to broken and rumor has it that it's completely non-functional in the MZDA chips :D
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ElwoodBlues
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Re: Harmony worth using? 2017/07/21 14:14:07 (permalink)
4.8 (5)
To use a popular idiom, you have asked "the $64,000 Question".  Many people ask themselves this question.  I ask myself this question.  My boss asks me this question.   
 
I will attempt to give my brief as possible answer, as if I was talking to myself several years ago when jumping on the Harmony roller coaster (note my careful choice of an analogy that can go either way, i.e. fun or scary ;).  Of course my comments are based on my specific application and requirements.  But I would claim they are fairly common (embedded network endpoint IoT genre type of device with various types of I/O to the outside world).  But of course, yours might be different, so take it as you will.
 
1. Harmony seems very spiffy and Utopianish from the surface.  But once you break the surface, you'll learn some different perspective.  It often does not work near as smoothly as it sounds.  You will have a major learning curve to discover all the quirks and idiosyncrasies.  However, if you use it "out of the box", with the fancy MHC (Harmony Configurator), without doing much customization, you might have an OK experience if you are lucky.  
 
2. If you need to get "under the hood" of MHC, it can get very complex.  I propose that Harmony's high abstraction from the hardware largely benefits people who have never worked with a microcontroller, whose eyes glaze over when looking at a PIC32 reference manual.  For them, it seems awesome to have a way of setting things up without having to look at I/O registers and such.  But this is NOT me.  And in my opinion, this is NOT the large majority of embedded developers.  But, I could be wrong.
 
3. Ask yourself this question... will you really, truly benefit from having the high amount of abstraction from the hardware that Harmony gives?  If "NO", then Harmony will probably annoy the crap out of you.
 
4. Through much trial and tribulation, I have resorted to using VERY MINIMAL Harmony modules in my projects, e.g., TCPIP Stack, minimal System Services, and maybe an I/O driver if I'm desperate.   Instead, whenever possible, I have found it much cleaner and more successful to deal directly with the hardware.  If that scares you, then try the Harmony PLIB functions.  These are what the Harmony layer calls down into eventually.   But, even the PLIBs can even be odd and unnecessarily complicated at times.  That's why I prefer going direct to the hardware.
IMPORTANT NOTE:  The reference manual PDF chapters/sections for each function of the PIC32 have great code examples for each function of the microcontroller.  They are basic and straightforward, and can be expanded or modified as needed.  
 
5. If you run into questions with Harmony, do not assume you have reliable support to fall back on.  Based on the last few years experience, the responsiveness from Microchip online tech support is quite poor.  I have submitted tickets which sat for MONTHS without even being assigned to anyone.  Do not expect to be able to submit a ticket, and get a response without following up with a phone call.  Then, if you can actually get a live person, you can get some help usually.  If you encounter someone who is attentive, remember their name.  
I have recently resorted to submitting cases in the tech support system, then posting the same question on these forums. So far, the forums win.  What does that say for Microchip's Tech Support? 
 
6. If you find a bug in Harmony that seems like everyone else in the world should have also encountered the same issue, then you are probably right!   "Well, then... why hasn't the issue been fixed already?" you might ask?   Good question!  In some cases myself or colleagues have reported issues through tech support cases, only to be told "We are glad you found a resolution, thank you, and have nice day!" and the ticket gets closed.   And the issue is never fixed by Microchip.  And then you encounter some other poor soul struggling with the same problem.  How sad is that?   Often there does NOT seem to be a good continuous-improvement feedback loop back to the development team.  Bummer.
 
Those are some things I can think of at the moment that I would have liked to have known when I dove into Harmony.  I hope maybe that benefits you.   If I think of more, I'll post them here. 
 
#26
MHGC
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Re: Harmony worth using? 2017/07/21 16:59:47 (permalink)
4.5 (2)
ElwoodBlues
If you run into questions with Harmony, do not assume you have reliable support to fall back on.  Based on the last few years experience, the responsiveness from Microchip online tech support is quite poor.  I have submitted tickets which sat for MONTHS without even being assigned to anyone.  Do not expect to be able to submit a ticket, and get a response without following up with a phone call.  Then, if you can actually get a live person, you can get some help usually.  If you encounter someone who is attentive, remember their name.  
I have recently resorted to submitting cases in the tech support system, then posting the same question on these forums. So far, the forums win.  What does that say for Microchip's Tech Support?

 
Hi,
 
It is unfortunate your experience with seeking help for Harmony has been poor.  
 
I am a member of the team actually working on Harmony.  We have been instructed to roam this forum to offer customer support.
 
We welcome you to request Harmony support here.
 
Thanks!
#27
ElwoodBlues
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Re: Harmony worth using? 2017/07/21 18:58:47 (permalink)
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bill.li
Hi,
It is unfortunate your experience with seeking help for Harmony has been poor.  
I am a member of the team actually working on Harmony.  We have been instructed to roam this forum to offer customer support.
We welcome you to request Harmony support here.
Thanks!



Thank you!  That is good to know, and I will take you up on that.  
 
For the last 2 problems which I've simultaneously submitted a case with Microchip Support, and also posted here, I've received a reply on the forums the same day.  With Microchip Support I rarely get a reply unless I call in.  And even then I often cannot reach a live person.  Leaving a voicemail sometimes yields a response, but not always.
 
So, it's nice to get some response here.  I have to ask though, what is the deal with Microchip Support?  Why is it so poor?  I've been told it has to do with the acquisitions, etc... but it's been lackluster for quite a few years.  But it definitely has gotten worse recently.   Is anyone else experiencing similar?  I've seen other people sharing similar experience, so I don't think I'm alone.  Companies have risen and fallen largely based on their support performance.  It might take a while, but eventually people will get fed up.  
#28
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