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Bring the Power of the MPLAB® Development Ecosystem to Your AVR® and SAM Microcontroller-Based Projects

Our MPLAB® development ecosystem now supports AVR® and SAM devices including SAM MPUs

Did you know that Microchip’s MPLAB development ecosystem now supports AVR and SAM devices including SAM MPUs? This means that you can now import, compile, debug and program code for every architecture in Microchip’s portfolio within a single tool chain. It also offers unprecedented latitude when selecting compilers, debuggers and programmers, providing numerous opportunities to find the right tool to use with your project. When you migrate to this integrated and comprehensive development environment, you will discover how it saves you both time and money in bringing your design to market. To help you become better acquainted with the MPLAB development ecosystem, here is an overview of the different components and how they can benefit users of AVR and SAM architectures at each stage of their development cycle.


We have added a number of enhancements to MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to include support for AVR and SAM products and to simplify the process of moving your projects from Atmel Studio 7. You can now use MPLAB X version 5.35 or later to create and import AVR and SAM-based projects, regardless of whether the project originated from bare metal, Atmel START, Atmel Studio 7 or Advanced Software Framework (ASF) 3 or 4 or MPLAB Harmony v3. Watch the Getting Started - AVR in MPLABX Episode 1: Import Studio 7 Project into MPLAB X IDE video to see how easy it is to import an Atmel Studio 7 project into MPLAB X IDE.


MPLAB X IDE and your debugger can now recognize your development boards as well as any  connected extension boards. Direct links to key documents, such as user guides, schematics and data sheets, are also provided. The ability to find the LED pin on your connected development board is now right at your fingertips. In the Getting Started - AVR in MPLAB X Episode 2: Creating an AVR Project in MPLAB X IDE video, you’ll see how MPLAB X IDE can identify an ATmega324PB Xplained Pro and then be used to discover the LED pin and quickly write the first few lines of code to turn the LED on and off.


As shown in the Getting Started - AVR in MPLAB X Episode 3: Using IO View and AVR Libc video, once a project has been imported, Atmel Studio 7 users will recognize that many of their favorite tools and features are available in MPLAB X IDE, such as I/O View. I/O View displays the current state of each MCU pin and permits the developer to change the I/O state as needed to debug hardware or test circuits.


The Data Visualizer can receive data from the debugger or simply over a serial port. As demonstrated in this Atmel START Sensors: Implementing the Data Streamer Protocol (#12) video, the Data Streamer protocol can be used to add more than one variable to a graph. Any PIC MCU-based development kit, which will be recognized as a virtual communication (COM) port, can use the Data Visualizer to graph program variables. To understand the full capabilities of the Data Visualizer, such as the Data Gateway Interface (DGI), watch the Getting Started with Atmel Studio 7 - Episode 2: AVR/SAM MCU Hardware Tools and Debuggers video and see a demonstration in the Getting Started with Atmel Studio 7 - Episode 3: Data Visualizer/Power Debugging Demo video. A standalone version of the Data Visualizer is available now, and an MPLAB X plug-in version is expected to be available in May of this year.


If you are a fan of Atmel START, it has been enhanced to export projects to MPLAB X IDE in addition to its ability to export to Studio 7 and IAR Embedded Workbench. This feature is demonstrated in the Getting Started - AVR in MPLAB X - Episode 4: Import Atmel START Project video.


We believe developers of MCU-based projects will also appreciate the many additional benefits the MPLAB XC compilers offer, including the ability to store fuse information in source code and apply attributes to memory. If you still need access to the GNU Compiler Collection, they are also supported in MPLAB X IDE.


Since MPLAB X IDE now supports the Atmel-ICE, Microchip Power Debugger, and the on-board debuggers available in the Xplained series of evaluation kits, there’s no need to purchase a new debugger when you migrate. The popular SAM-ICE for use with 32-bit SAM MCUs is also supported in MPLAB X IDE via a plug-in. But if you’re ready to upgrade your debugger, look no further than our fourth-generation tools. These include the MPLAB ICD 4 In-Circuit Debugger (DV164045) for use with SAM MCUs and the MPLAB PICkit™ 4 In-Circuit Debugger (PG164140) or MPLAB Snap In-Circuit Debugger (PG164100) for use with AVR and SAM MCUs. The J-32 Debug Probe supports all of Microchip’s 32-bit PIC and SAM devices at a fraction of the cost of competitors. This line of debuggers works seamlessly with MPLAB X IDE and offers a variety of features and price points to meet your development needs.


There have been so many improvements to our MPLAB development ecosystem over the past year that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Fortunately, we offer a variety of excellent training resources to help you become familiar with these new tools and product offerings. In addition to the product information that is available on www.microchip.com, check out the videos on our YouTube channel and the tutorials on our Developer Help website to help guide you through your migration to MPLAB X IDE.