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Why is small-scale ARM development such a pain

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by Jim Stewart, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Jim Stewart

    Jim Stewart Guest

    Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great,
    lets me use assembly language with a single
    ..asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much
    to complain about.

    Why isn't there an equivalently painless
    solution for the small ARM devices? Everything
    we've tried is a great mass of codependent
    GNU software stuck together with a less-than-
    user-friendly value-added front end.
     
    Jim Stewart, Apr 18, 2012
    #1
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  2. Jim Stewart

    Guest

    On Wednesday, April 18, 2012 1:51:18 PM UTC-7, Jim Stewart wrote:
    > Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great,
    > lets me use assembly language with a single
    > .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much
    > to complain about.
    >
    > Why isn't there an equivalently painless
    > solution for the small ARM devices? Everything
    > we've tried is a great mass of codependent
    > GNU software stuck together with a less-than-
    > user-friendly value-added front end.


    I don't find it a pain at all. I've used Rowley Crossworks with either Rowley or Segger JTAG devices, and it all works quite nicely. No one-pin debugging, but I don't consider that lack a pain. And I'd give my neighbor's right arm if AVR Studio had the equivalent of Rowley's tasking library.
     
    , Apr 18, 2012
    #2
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  3. Jim Stewart

    Guest

    Jim Stewart <> wrote:
    > Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great,
    > lets me use assembly language with a single
    > .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much
    > to complain about.
    >
    > Why isn't there an equivalently painless
    > solution for the small ARM devices? Everything
    > we've tried is a great mass of codependent
    > GNU software stuck together with a less-than-
    > user-friendly value-added front end.


    Look harder. Most ARM toolchain vendors (Keil, IAR etc.) support the
    Cortex-M0/M3 and debugging over the SWD (single-wire debug) interface.

    -a
     
    , Apr 18, 2012
    #3
  4. Jim Stewart

    Bob Guest

    On Wednesday, 18 April 2012 21:51:18 UTC+1, Jim Stewart wrote:
    > Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great,
    > lets me use assembly language with a single
    > .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much
    > to complain about.
    >
    > Why isn't there an equivalently painless
    > solution for the small ARM devices? Everything
    > we've tried is a great mass of codependent
    > GNU software stuck together with a less-than-
    > user-friendly value-added front end.


    Back in the old days we used to debug with a logic analyser and an ICE the size
    of a small house. The code was programmed into UV eraseable EPROMS. We could
    manage about 4 edit/compile/debug cycles per day. If you think ARM development
    is a pain, you don't know real pain :)

    To be serious though, the ARM dev systems I have used are pretty good. You have
    to pay a bit of learning curve for your 32 bits though. I would avoid anything
    Eclipse based or that requires external gdb servers though.
     
    Bob, Apr 18, 2012
    #4
  5. Jim Stewart

    Guest

    On Wednesday, April 18, 2012 2:30:26 PM UTC-7, Bob wrote:
    > On Wednesday, 18 April 2012 21:51:18 UTC+1, Jim Stewart wrote:
    > > Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great,
    > > lets me use assembly language with a single
    > > .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much
    > > to complain about.
    > >
    > > Why isn't there an equivalently painless
    > > solution for the small ARM devices? Everything
    > > we've tried is a great mass of codependent
    > > GNU software stuck together with a less-than-
    > > user-friendly value-added front end.

    >
    > Back in the old days we used to debug with a logic analyser


    I think you mis-spelled LED.

    > and an ICE the size
    > of a small house. The code was programmed into UV eraseable EPROMS. We could
    > manage about 4 edit/compile/debug cycles per day. If you think ARM development
    > is a pain, you don't know real pain :)


    Who doesn't remember the smell of the ozone from the UV eraser!
     
    , Apr 18, 2012
    #5
  6. Jim Stewart

    hamilton Guest

    On 4/18/2012 2:51 PM, Jim Stewart wrote:
    > Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great,
    > lets me use assembly language with a single
    > .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much
    > to complain about.
    >
    > Why isn't there an equivalently painless
    > solution for the small ARM devices? Everything
    > we've tried is a great mass of codependent
    > GNU software stuck together with a less-than-
    > user-friendly value-added front end.
    >
    >


    Maybe you need to go next door for a little management training solution !

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=1403 ... 95616&t=h&z=17&panoid=gp34YFZCI9YnNjtH4jgBkQ
     
    hamilton, Apr 18, 2012
    #6
  7. On 2012-04-18, Bob <> wrote:
    > On Wednesday, 18 April 2012 21:51:18 UTC+1, Jim Stewart wrote:


    >> Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great, lets me use assembly
    >> language with a single .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much to
    >> complain about.
    >>
    >> Why isn't there an equivalently painless solution for the small ARM
    >> devices?


    For starters, one man's "painless" is another man's "painful". :)

    >> Everything we've tried is a great mass of codependent GNU software
    >> stuck together with a less-than- user-friendly value-added front end.

    >
    > Back in the old days we used to debug with a logic analyser and an
    > ICE the size of a small house.


    You had ICE and a logic analyzer? Lucky pup. I remember a lot of
    projects that were developed using the just "edit-compile-burn-crash"
    cycle with UV EPROMs. If you were lucky you had a spare port pin you
    could toggle and an storage oscilloscope to look at the pin. Storage
    scopes were rare and expensive, so more often that not you had to
    settle for "I/O pin debugging" that was limitted to stuff in loops
    that could run fast enough to light up the phospor frequently enough
    to be visible.

    And we had to walk to work and back in a blizzard -- up hill both
    ways!

    As one of the developers I worked with used to say "the best debugger
    is looking at source code and thinking".

    > The code was programmed into UV eraseable EPROMS. We could manage
    > about 4 edit/compile/debug cycles per day. If you think ARM
    > development is a pain, you don't know real pain :)
    >
    > To be serious though, the ARM dev systems I have used are pretty
    > good. You have to pay a bit of learning curve for your 32 bits
    > though. I would avoid anything Eclipse based or that requires
    > external gdb servers though.


    I tried AVR studio for a while and found it slow, clumsy, and overly
    restrictive. Add in the fact that you had to use Windows to run, and I
    dropped it pretty quickly and went back to an occasional diagnostic
    "printf" and sometimes command-line gdb via JTAG or the like.

    If you really want something more like AVR studio, a lot of people
    seem to like Rowley CrossWorks. It's vendor and OS neutral, which
    wins them a lot of points in my book.

    I also know people who try to use Eclipse for Embedded work...

    --
    Grant Edwards grant.b.edwards Yow! I feel like I am
    at sharing a ``CORN-DOG''
    gmail.com with NIKITA KHRUSCHEV ...
     
    Grant Edwards, Apr 18, 2012
    #7
  8. Jim Stewart

    Tim Wescott Guest

    On Wed, 18 Apr 2012 13:51:18 -0700, Jim Stewart wrote:

    > Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great, lets me use assembly
    > language with a single .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much to
    > complain about.
    >
    > Why isn't there an equivalently painless solution for the small ARM
    > devices? Everything we've tried is a great mass of codependent GNU
    > software stuck together with a less-than- user-friendly value-added
    > front end.


    Because you haven't gone out and built your own gnu toolset (Google for
    "summon-arm-toolchain") along with your own startup code, then gone on to
    have a ball?

    gnu arm tool chain, gnu debugger, Eclipse -- joy.

    --
    My liberal friends think I'm a conservative kook.
    My conservative friends think I'm a liberal kook.
    Why am I not happy that they have found common ground?

    Tim Wescott, Communications, Control, Circuits & Software
    http://www.wescottdesign.com
     
    Tim Wescott, Apr 19, 2012
    #8
  9. Jim Stewart

    Rich Webb Guest

    On Wed, 18 Apr 2012 14:22:14 -0700 (PDT),
    wrote:

    >On Wednesday, April 18, 2012 1:51:18 PM UTC-7, Jim Stewart wrote:
    >> Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great,
    >> lets me use assembly language with a single
    >> .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much
    >> to complain about.
    >>
    >> Why isn't there an equivalently painless
    >> solution for the small ARM devices? Everything
    >> we've tried is a great mass of codependent
    >> GNU software stuck together with a less-than-
    >> user-friendly value-added front end.

    >
    >I don't find it a pain at all. I've used Rowley Crossworks with either Rowley or Segger JTAG devices, and it all works quite nicely. No one-pin debugging,


    Do you mean serial wire debug (SWD)? If so, it is supported. Check under
    "target interface type" in the JTAG properties.

    --
    Rich Webb Norfolk, VA
     
    Rich Webb, Apr 19, 2012
    #9
  10. On 2012-04-18, Tim Wescott <> wrote:
    > On Wed, 18 Apr 2012 13:51:18 -0700, Jim Stewart wrote:
    >
    >> Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great, lets me use assembly
    >> language with a single .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much to
    >> complain about.
    >>
    >> Why isn't there an equivalently painless solution for the small ARM
    >> devices? Everything we've tried is a great mass of codependent GNU
    >> software stuck together with a less-than- user-friendly value-added
    >> front end.

    >
    > Because you haven't gone out and built your own gnu toolset (Google for
    > "summon-arm-toolchain") along with your own startup code, then gone on to
    > have a ball?
    >
    > gnu arm tool chain, gnu debugger, Eclipse -- joy.


    Or s/Eclips/emacs/g.

    The point is you have lots of choices. It's not a one-suit-fits
    everybody situation.

    --
    Grant Edwards grant.b.edwards Yow! Am I having fun yet?
    at
    gmail.com
     
    Grant Edwards, Apr 19, 2012
    #10
  11. Jim Stewart

    Tauno Voipio Guest

    On 19.4.12 12:30 , Bob wrote:
    > On Wednesday, 18 April 2012 21:51:18 UTC+1, Jim Stewart wrote:
    >> Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great,
    >> lets me use assembly language with a single
    >> .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much
    >> to complain about.
    >>
    >> Why isn't there an equivalently painless
    >> solution for the small ARM devices? Everything
    >> we've tried is a great mass of codependent
    >> GNU software stuck together with a less-than-
    >> user-friendly value-added front end.

    >
    > Back in the old days we used to debug with a logic analyser and an ICE the size
    > of a small house. The code was programmed into UV eraseable EPROMS. We could
    > manage about 4 edit/compile/debug cycles per day. If you think ARM development
    > is a pain, you don't know real pain :)



    Kind of. If we take another step backward, it took three quarters of a
    hour to feed the assembler into a Nova 1200 or PDP-8 using an ASR-33
    and paper tape (provided the reader did not make an error). The net
    effect was one edit/assemble/debug cycle per day, if you were lucky.

    > To be serious though, the ARM dev systems I have used are pretty good. You have
    > to pay a bit of learning curve for your 32 bits though. I would avoid anything
    > Eclipse based or that requires external gdb servers though.


    I'm happy with the GNU toolset and an editor (kedit on Linux etc).
    For debugging OpenOCD and a wiggler perform well enough. A correction
    cycle is usually less than 10 minutes.

    --

    Tauno Voipio
     
    Tauno Voipio, Apr 19, 2012
    #11
  12. Jim Stewart

    Jim Stewart Guest

    Tim Wescott wrote:
    > On Wed, 18 Apr 2012 13:51:18 -0700, Jim Stewart wrote:
    >
    >> Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great, lets me use assembly
    >> language with a single .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much to
    >> complain about.
    >>
    >> Why isn't there an equivalently painless solution for the small ARM
    >> devices? Everything we've tried is a great mass of codependent GNU
    >> software stuck together with a less-than- user-friendly value-added
    >> front end.

    >
    > Because you haven't gone out and built your own gnu toolset (Google for
    > "summon-arm-toolchain") along with your own startup code, then gone on to
    > have a ball?


    Put simply, because when I want to produce a
    metal part, nobody expects me to build a lathe
    and mill first.

    > gnu arm tool chain, gnu debugger, Eclipse -- joy.
    >
     
    Jim Stewart, Apr 19, 2012
    #12
  13. Jim Stewart

    Jim Stewart Guest

    hamilton wrote:
    > On 4/18/2012 2:51 PM, Jim Stewart wrote:
    >> Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great,
    >> lets me use assembly language with a single
    >> .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much
    >> to complain about.
    >>
    >> Why isn't there an equivalently painless
    >> solution for the small ARM devices? Everything
    >> we've tried is a great mass of codependent
    >> GNU software stuck together with a less-than-
    >> user-friendly value-added front end.
    >>
    >>

    >
    > Maybe you need to go next door for a little management training solution !
    >
    > http://maps.google.com/maps?q=1403 ... 95616&t=h&z=17&panoid=gp34YFZCI9YnNjtH4jgBkQ


    Long gone. Now a holistic health center. Should
    I go there instead?
     
    Jim Stewart, Apr 19, 2012
    #13
  14. Jim Stewart

    Bob Guest

    On Thursday, 19 April 2012 17:59:41 UTC+1, Jim Stewart wrote:

    > Put simply, because when I want to produce a
    > metal part, nobody expects me to build a lathe
    > and mill first.


    Jim, I know where you are coming from and I agree, so I apologise for not
    having given a really practical reply before.

    For the direct question, and at the risk of stating the obvious, Atmel have a
    different business model to ARM. Atmel sell silicon and see an advantage to
    providing a good free IDE for developers. ARM don't sell silicon, they sell IP
    to companies who make silicon and then sell tools to end-users. Since both
    companies seem to be doing pretty well, it appears they have chosen market
    strategies that work well for them.

    The implicit question is what ARM IDE is as good as AvrStudio? Not used
    AvrStudio for a while, but I have recently evaluated Keil, IAR, CodeSourcery,
    Crossworks, CooCox, as well as Eclipse+CDT+gcc+gdb, and by default vanilla
    text editor + gcc + printf. This is not a comprehensive survey by any means
    only a sample of the main players.

    I assume you are using windows, you don't mention whether it is for personal
    or professional use. CodeSourcery and CooCox are Eclipse based, so we
    eliminate those. I marginally prefer IAR, but my employer went for Keil, Keil
    is perfectly adequate for my needs. For hobby stuff I am liking CrossWorks. I
    have tried Eclipse + free tools, some swear by them, but they do not suit me.

    You could also look at software bundled with dev boards e.g: mBed (NXP),
    Xpresso (NXP, CodeRed), STM Discovery (ST, Atollic?). These and the other
    commercial IDEs above all have limited free versions or evaluation versions.

    I doubt there is an ARM IDE to exactly match AvrStudio, but IMO there are several
    IDEs that are perfectly usable. The caveat being that the better ones are not
    free for non-trivial applications.
     
    Bob, Apr 19, 2012
    #14
  15. Jim Stewart

    Guest

    On Friday, April 20, 2012 5:58:48 AM UTC+12, Bob wrote:
    > Atmel sell silicon and see an advantage to
    > providing a good free IDE for developers. ARM don't sell silicon, they sell IP
    > to companies who make silicon and then sell tools to end-users. Since both
    > companies seem to be doing pretty well, it appears they have chosen market
    > strategies that work well for them.
    >

    and there you have a nice summary as why " small-scale ARM development such a pain".

    It's the classic falls between two stools problem :

    Atmel sell chips, and so long as their BIG customers have a solution, they are ok.
    ARM _sell_ tools, so they are in no hurry to help small scale / open source offerings. Why would they lower their profits ?

    So something like AVR Studio, which Atmel MUST have to sell AVR8 & AVR32s, will always be ahead of any small scale ARM offerings.

    There may be some good news, as Atmel's newest offering is now renamed "Atmel Studio 6", and it includes ARM debug flows.

    ["Atmel Studio 6 Integrates ARM and AVR Design in Single Environment"]

    I think you may need to buy their SAM-ICE, and it is not clear how 'other brands' might work, but they do now claim ARM support in Studio.

    Press release is also sketchy on Simulator support for ARM. ( WIP? )
    -jg
     
    , Apr 19, 2012
    #15
  16. Jim Stewart

    Tim Wescott Guest

    On Thu, 19 Apr 2012 14:18:48 +0000, Grant Edwards wrote:

    > On 2012-04-18, Tim Wescott <> wrote:
    >> On Wed, 18 Apr 2012 13:51:18 -0700, Jim Stewart wrote:
    >>
    >>> Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great, lets me use assembly
    >>> language with a single .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much to
    >>> complain about.
    >>>
    >>> Why isn't there an equivalently painless solution for the small ARM
    >>> devices? Everything we've tried is a great mass of codependent GNU
    >>> software stuck together with a less-than- user-friendly value-added
    >>> front end.

    >>
    >> Because you haven't gone out and built your own gnu toolset (Google for
    >> "summon-arm-toolchain") along with your own startup code, then gone on
    >> to have a ball?
    >>
    >> gnu arm tool chain, gnu debugger, Eclipse -- joy.

    >
    > Or s/Eclips/emacs/g.
    >
    > The point is you have lots of choices. It's not a one-suit-fits
    > everybody situation.


    What's emacse? Is than a newer version that's even harder to figure out
    how to get out of?

    --
    Tim Wescott
    Control system and signal processing consulting
    www.wescottdesign.com
     
    Tim Wescott, Apr 20, 2012
    #16
  17. Jim Stewart

    Rich Webb Guest

    On Thu, 19 Apr 2012 15:23:39 -0700 (PDT), wrote:

    >On Friday, April 20, 2012 5:58:48 AM UTC+12, Bob wrote:
    >> Atmel sell silicon and see an advantage to
    >> providing a good free IDE for developers. ARM don't sell silicon, they sell IP
    >> to companies who make silicon and then sell tools to end-users. Since both
    >> companies seem to be doing pretty well, it appears they have chosen market
    >> strategies that work well for them.
    >>

    > and there you have a nice summary as why " small-scale ARM development such a pain".


    It doesn't have to be. Rowley sells their full kit, including the RTOS,
    for only $150 for a personal, non-commercial license. The deeper innards
    are accessible to those who want them but it's pretty much install, load
    the "package" for the target processor, and go. Decent IDE and debugger
    and it supports the cheap Olimex JTAG dongles out of the box as well as
    a score of others. I can't imagine how it could be any more pain free.

    Get a $30 header board from Olimex or one of their resellers and it's
    game on.

    #disclaimer: just a customer (full commercial license, though)

    --
    Rich Webb Norfolk, VA
     
    Rich Webb, Apr 20, 2012
    #17
  18. Jim Stewart

    Les Cargill Guest

    Tim Wescott wrote:
    > On Thu, 19 Apr 2012 14:18:48 +0000, Grant Edwards wrote:
    >
    >> On 2012-04-18, Tim Wescott<> wrote:
    >>> On Wed, 18 Apr 2012 13:51:18 -0700, Jim Stewart wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great, lets me use assembly
    >>>> language with a single .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much to
    >>>> complain about.
    >>>>
    >>>> Why isn't there an equivalently painless solution for the small ARM
    >>>> devices? Everything we've tried is a great mass of codependent GNU
    >>>> software stuck together with a less-than- user-friendly value-added
    >>>> front end.
    >>>
    >>> Because you haven't gone out and built your own gnu toolset (Google for
    >>> "summon-arm-toolchain") along with your own startup code, then gone on
    >>> to have a ball?
    >>>
    >>> gnu arm tool chain, gnu debugger, Eclipse -- joy.

    >>
    >> Or s/Eclips/emacs/g.
    >>
    >> The point is you have lots of choices. It's not a one-suit-fits
    >> everybody situation.

    >
    > What's emacse? Is than a newer version that's even harder to figure out
    > how to get out of?
    >



    Nah. Emacsis easy to get out of:

    ps -aux | grep emacs

    <result is a PID>

    kill -9 <PID>

    --
    Les Cargill
     
    Les Cargill, Apr 20, 2012
    #18
  19. On 2012-04-20, Tim Wescott <> wrote:
    > On Thu, 19 Apr 2012 14:18:48 +0000, Grant Edwards wrote:
    >
    >> On 2012-04-18, Tim Wescott <> wrote:
    >>> On Wed, 18 Apr 2012 13:51:18 -0700, Jim Stewart wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> Ok, I'm spoiled by AVR Studio. Works great, lets me use assembly
    >>>> language with a single .asm file, debugger takes one pin, not much to
    >>>> complain about.
    >>>>
    >>>> Why isn't there an equivalently painless solution for the small ARM
    >>>> devices? Everything we've tried is a great mass of codependent GNU
    >>>> software stuck together with a less-than- user-friendly value-added
    >>>> front end.
    >>>
    >>> Because you haven't gone out and built your own gnu toolset (Google for
    >>> "summon-arm-toolchain") along with your own startup code, then gone on
    >>> to have a ball?
    >>>
    >>> gnu arm tool chain, gnu debugger, Eclipse -- joy.

    >>
    >> Or s/Eclips/emacs/g.
    >>
    >> The point is you have lots of choices. It's not a one-suit-fits
    >> everybody situation.

    >
    > What's emacse? Is than a newer version that's even harder to figure out
    > how to get out of?


    Touché!

    --
    Grant Edwards grant.b.edwards Yow! Mr and Mrs PED, can I
    at borrow 26.7% of the RAYON
    gmail.com TEXTILE production of the
    INDONESIAN archipelago?
     
    Grant Edwards, Apr 20, 2012
    #19
  20. Jim Stewart

    Jim Stewart Guest

    Rich Webb wrote:
    > On Thu, 19 Apr 2012 15:23:39 -0700 (PDT), wrote:
    >
    >> On Friday, April 20, 2012 5:58:48 AM UTC+12, Bob wrote:
    >>> Atmel sell silicon and see an advantage to
    >>> providing a good free IDE for developers. ARM don't sell silicon, they sell IP
    >>> to companies who make silicon and then sell tools to end-users. Since both
    >>> companies seem to be doing pretty well, it appears they have chosen market
    >>> strategies that work well for them.
    >>>

    >> and there you have a nice summary as why " small-scale ARM development such a pain".

    >
    > It doesn't have to be. Rowley sells their full kit, including the RTOS,
    > for only $150 for a personal, non-commercial license. The deeper innards
    > are accessible to those who want them but it's pretty much install, load
    > the "package" for the target processor, and go. Decent IDE and debugger
    > and it supports the cheap Olimex JTAG dongles out of the box as well as
    > a score of others. I can't imagine how it could be any more pain free.
    >
    > Get a $30 header board from Olimex or one of their resellers and it's
    > game on.


    I'll definitely give it a try. Thanks.

    > #disclaimer: just a customer (full commercial license, though)
    >
     
    Jim Stewart, Apr 20, 2012
    #20
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