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ARM development - KEIL (MDK) vs. IAR (EW)

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by alemannia, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. alemannia

    alemannia Guest

    Hi all,

    I have browsed the web for recent experience reports on KEIL MDK and IA
    Embedded Workbench. The posts that I found are quite outdated, so I though
    I start a new thread here.

    I will need to buy one of those products sometime soon and I am curiou
    about your experience with one OR/AND the other. What do you like about it
    what are the weak points? I am completely aware that this questions is
    little bit like "iPhone" vs. "Android" but I find it hard to decide and an
    suggestions will help.

    There are free (size limited) version of both environments and I am havin
    a first look, but this takes time and additionally I need to buy a JTA
    probe to get the real feel of the IDEs in action.

    I appreciate your input.
    alemannia, Apr 3, 2011
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  2. alemannia

    Rich Webb Guest

    I'd add Rowley's CrossWorks to the list. I don't believe that they offer
    a time-unlimited free version but one does get 30 days to evaluate the
    full suite. It also supports quite a range of JTAG adapters, including
    the relatively inexpensive ones from Olimex.

    Likes: Works pretty well. Has include files/packages for more ARM-core
    processors than I knew existed. Supports serial wire debug (SWD) mode.

    Dislikes. Wish that the text editor had a vi mode!

    #disclaimer: just a customer.
    Rich Webb, Apr 3, 2011
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  3. alemannia

    tim.... Guest

    I worked for a company that used the IAR for a while and the optimisation of
    the code that it produced was absolutely rubbish compared to the ARM
    compiler (that every previous company had used).

    They soon swapped!

    The ARM complier isn't that expensive. For a single seat you will not
    regret the small up front extra costs

    tim...., Apr 3, 2011
  4. alemannia

    David Brown Guest

    I can't comment much on either of these, but you should be aware that
    there are a number of other alternatives. Someone else has mentioned
    Rowley - I'd add CodeSourcery and Code Red to the list of tools you
    should try.

    You really should try out the tools yourself - asking other people will
    just get you personal opinions. You can get a good impression from
    using them without a board or a jtag debugger - they all have some sort
    of simulator, which can give an idea of how the debugger works and its
    features (though obviously no impression of the real-world speed).

    You are going to be investing a lot of time, and possibly a lot of
    money, in these tools - it's worth spending some time picking the right
    tool at the start.
    David Brown, Apr 3, 2011
  5. alemannia

    alemannia Guest


    thanks for your answers so far. I think at the end it's really a matter o
    personal taste.

    I have been working with the ARM compiler (stand alone with Lauterbac
    JTAG) for quite some time and that's why I will opt for the KEIL package,

    I just wanted to check, if there is a killer argument in favor of IAR.

    + USB stick based licence management. The license is not linked to you
    + Support for Cortex A8, which will never be the case with KEIL.

    + ARM compiler.

    As to the other tools, I tried CodeSourcey and it's interesting although
    am not sure about their JTAG support and the whole 'Sprites' approach. Als
    CodeSorcery has been bought recently by Mentor. They will certainly star
    pushing their own products (Nucleus, etc.) through this channel now.

    Anyway thanks again for your answers.
    alemannia, Apr 3, 2011
  6. alemannia

    Fredxx Guest

    I felt a litle ripped off when they initially said unlimited updates, then
    upped the version number and therefore wasn't eligible for updates!! :-(

    Also in my case limited by 2 hardware breakpoints.
    Fredxx, Apr 3, 2011
  7. Surely that's a limitation of the ARM7, rather than the toolchain?
    John Devereux, Apr 3, 2011
  8. alemannia

    D Yuniskis Guest


    You also, undoubtedly, have your own way of "doing things" and
    you want to see for yourself if the tools support, encourage
    or *discourage* this. No one can "tell" you that...
    D Yuniskis, Apr 3, 2011
  9. alemannia

    hamilton Guest

    Which ARM compiler are you talking about ?

    ARM PLC sells Keil, are you talking about Kiel ?

    Are you suggesting ARM RVDS ??

    The question was about IAR and Keil, are you also adding a third
    compiler to this mix ?

    hamilton, Apr 3, 2011
  10. Same with IAR + Segger Jlink + STRM912 CPUs
    That's most likely a processor limitation, not a tool's one.
    Roberto Waltman, Apr 3, 2011
  11. alemannia

    David Brown Guest

    If you are used to ARM/Keil, then that's a big argument in favour of
    continuing using it.
    ARM owns Keil - I can't imagine there would be an ARM core that Keil
    won't support.
    I expect that most debuggers work in a similar way, using some sort of
    "proxy" program that is specific to the hardware interface. They might
    hide it better, but it's a common way to modularise the debugging system
    and let it support a range of hardware debuggers. Tools like Lauterbach
    that connect by a network are sometimes a different matter.
    I haven't noticed any change in CodeSourcery since Mentor bought them,
    but perhaps it will over time. But the core tools - Eclipse for the
    IDE, gdb debugger, and gcc for the toolchain - are all open source, and
    safe from too much Mentor-specific influence.
    David Brown, Apr 3, 2011
  12. alemannia

    alemannia Guest

    Hi hamilton,

    As far as I know there is only one "ARM compiler" - armcc. It is the sam
    compiler in the KEIL MDK package and in the ARM RVDS package. The onl
    difference is that the KEIL package has some flags disabled. It doesn't le
    you compile for the ARM application processors Cortex A8/9 for example.
    alemannia, Apr 3, 2011
  13. alemannia

    hamilton Guest

    LOL, and the rest of us knows that how ??

    So far the discussion has mentioned 5 ARM (processor) compilers.

    So, the war (flame) begun has !!

    hamilton, Apr 3, 2011
  14. alemannia

    tim.... Guest

    The one sold by ARM.
    Isn't its current name Realview?

    Yep. I have no experience of the Kiel so I can't do a comparison.

    I can only compare IAR with ARM and TIME there is no comparison

    tim...., Apr 3, 2011
  15. alemannia

    tim.... Guest

    Yes I'd forgotten that.

    Is the compiler "branded" Kiel the same as the one that ARM used to sell
    using their own branding?

    tim...., Apr 3, 2011
  16. alemannia

    David Brown Guest

    As far as I know, when Keil was a separate company, it had its own ARM
    compiler completely independent of ARM's compiler. When ARM bought
    them, I presume that they standardised on one and merged the good bits
    from the other - but that's just a guess.
    David Brown, Apr 3, 2011
  17. alemannia

    Chris H Guest

    The Keil compiler will not support any cores... only MCU. The RDVS
    supports al the cores. That is the differentiation between the RVDS and
    Chris H, Apr 3, 2011
  18. alemannia

    Chris H Guest

    The KEil compiler is a restricted ARM RVDS
    Chris H, Apr 3, 2011
  19. alemannia

    Chris H Guest

    And accurate,.

    Keil had their own (very good ) ARM7 C compiler.

    When they were acquired by arm the dropped their own compiler and put a
    cut down version of the ARM RVDS into Keil uVision.
    Chris H, Apr 3, 2011
  20. Hi Chris, I suspect you are using your own private definitions of words
    again... :).

    If it supports a particular MCU with a cortex-M3 core, say, then it
    supports the CM3 "core", doesn't it?
    John Devereux, Apr 4, 2011
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