My MPLAB X Alternative
Information really for anyone who finally gives up with the joke of an IDE.
I have a new 32-bit project to do and decided to upgrade my tools first including harmony 2 to 3. I had all assorts of issues with XC32 not working with 5.4, harmony 3 errors etc.
After a week I gave up went back to 5.35, XC32 now works, harmony 3 works.
I finally thought enough is enough, it might be free, but I spend 95% of my working week using MPC**P X, there must be another way.Cutting a long story short, I’ve now been using Vscode for my microchip development for over a month and things are going well.
I have setup tasks to,
Make production / debug images, makefile generation and clean the project and I’m working on using the IPECMD to build and program in one hit.
I have a 4 core CPU (8 logical) and although I have parallel build set inside MPC**P X my PIC32 project was taking 3 minutes to build, (420K image) inside Vscode using make -j6 my build is down to 63 seconds.
The only downside is debugging will only work in MPC**P X unless I write an extension for the MDB, which is a bit over my head. However, in Vscode if I build a debug image, MPC**P X will skip over the build and go straight to programming / halt at main.
I basically now use MPC**P X for project created with MCC / harmony when needed and a debugger. I tend to write sections of code / functions, build regularly for errors and then debug that section, so I’m down to only using MPC**P X 15 – 20 % of the time, which is better day all round.
Last week I had to update a project and did the whole thing without opening the IDE once. The project used a PDIP device so rather then debug I just made the changes in stages, editing / building inside Vscode, used our Dataman to flash the chip, drop in circuit to check etc.
Having never used Vscode, I spent a couple of hours setting everything up and I can now copy the setting to new projects and tweaked accordingly. XC16 & XC32 work almost out the box as these are gcc based, so supply the path and Vscode probes the compliers for the headers etc. XC8 is a strange one and I’ve had to supply the complier path along with the header locations etc.
There are some great features inside Vscode, it’s a joy to use and I’m spending my time coding and not fighting / restarting the IDE. The joke is MPC**P has been developed since the 90’s and is a mess, Vscode is 5 years old and is far superior in every aspect.
How you release updates that break more than they fix is beyond me and I would be fired for doing this, this is “Redmond” territory, must be something in the “Micro” name