Microchip: MPLAB Integrated Development Environment (IDE) Overview

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    Ordering InformationKey FeaturesLicensing & System Req.Language ToolsDebuggers and ProgrammersVideoTechnical Documents



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    Microchip has a large suite of software and hardware development tools integrated within one software package called MPLAB Integrated Development Environment (IDE). MPLAB IDE is a free, integrated toolset for the development of embedded applications on Microchip's PIC and dsPIC microcontrollers. It is called an Integrated Development Environment, or IDE, because it provides a single integrated environment to develop code for embedded microcontrollers.


    MPLAB IDE runs as a 32-bit application on MS Windows, is easy to use and includes a host of free software components for fast application development and super-charged debugging. MPLAB IDE also serves as a single, unified graphical user interface for additional Microchip and third party software and hardware development tools. Moving between tools is a snap, and upgrading from the free software simulator to hardware debug and programming tools is done in a flash because MPLAB IDE has the same user interface for all tools.



    The MPLAB IDE has both built-in components and plug-in modules to configure the system for a variety of software and hardware tools.


    Project Manager: The project manager provides integration and communication between the IDE and the language tools.


    Editor: The editor is a full-featured programmer's text editor that also serves as a window into the debugger.


    Assembler/Linker and Language Tools: The assembler can be used stand-alone to assemble a single file, or can be used with the linker to build a project from separate source files, libraries and recompiled objects. The linker is responsible for positioning the compiled code into memory areas of the target microcontroller.


    Debugger: The Microchip debugger allows breakpoints, single stepping, watch windows and all the features of a modern debugger for the MPLAB IDE. It works in conjunction with the editor to reference information from the target being debugged back to the source code.


    Execution Engines: There are software simulators in MPLAB IDE for all PICmicro MCU and dsPIC DSC devices. These simulators use the PC to simulate the instructions and some peripheral functions of the PICmicro MCU and dsPIC DSC devices. Optional in-circuit emulators and in-circuit debuggers are also available to test code as it runs in the applications hardware.

    Key Features

    MPLAB IDE is a Windows® Operating System (OS) based Integrated Development Environment for the PIC MCU families and the dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers.

    The MPLAB IDE provides the ability to:

    • Create and edit source code using the built-in editor.
    • Assemble, compile and link source code.
    • Debug the executable logic by watching program flow with the built-in simulator or in real time with in-circuit emulators or in-circuit debuggers.
    • Make timing measurements with the simulator or emulator.
    • View variables in Watch windows.
    • Program firmware into devices with device programmers


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    Licensing & System Req.

    No licensing is required for MPLAB IDE as it's a free integrated toolset available for the development of embedded applications on Microchip's PIC and dsPIC microcontrollers.


    The following minimum configuration is required to run MPLAB IDE:

    • PC compatible Pentium class system

    • Microsoft Windows 3.1x, Windows 95/98, and above

    • 16 MB memory (32 MB recommended)

    • 45 MB of hard disk space


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    Language Tools

    Choose MPLAB C Compilers, the highly optimized compilers for the PIC18 series microcontrollers, high performance PIC24 MCUs, dsPIC digital signal controllers and PIC32MX MCUs. Or, use one of the many products from third party language tools vendors. Most integrate into MPLAB IDE to function transparently from the MPLAB project manager, editor and debugger. Microchip’s MPLAB C compilers are full-featured, ANSI compliant high-performance tools tightly integrated with MPLAB IDE. Source level debugging allows single stepping through C source code and inspecting variables and structures at critical points in the code.


    Microchip MPLAB C Compliers

    • MPLAB C Compiler for PIC18 MCUs (C compiler for PIC18)
    • MPLAB C Compiler for PIC24 MCUs (C compiler for PIC24)
    • MPLAB C Compiler for dsPIC DSCs (C compiler for dsPIC)
    • MPLAB C for PIC32 MCUs (C compiler for  PIC32)

    Third Party Compilers

    • HI-TECH
    • IAR
    • CCS
    • Micrium


    Flowcode 4 is one of the worlds most advanced graphical programming languages for microcontrollers. The great advantage of Flowcode is that it allows those with little to no programming experience to create complex electronic systems in minutes. Flowcode supports code generation for the PIC (Flowcode for PIC12, PIC16, and PIC18 series), PIC24 and dsPIC series of microcontrollers. The professional edition includes drivers for a wide range of subsystems like LCDs, keypads, 7-segment displays, ADC, and PWM, as well as communication protocols including I2C, SPI, RS-232RS-232, Zigbee, TCP/IP, etc. Flowcode is compatible with Microchips PICkit programmer as well as third party programmers, and is also compatible with the HI-TECH C compiler.



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    Debuggers and Programmers

    MPLAB IDE offers full control over programming both code and data, as well as the Configuration bits to set the various operating modes of the target microcontrollers or digital signal controllers.


    MPLAB SIM: High-speed software simulator features  peripheral simulation, complex stimulus injection and  register logging. MPLAB SIM executes your code and can be  exercised with stimulus signals from fi les, from mouse clicks  and from easily set up waveforms. The contents of variables  and special function registers can be logged to a file for  analysis.


    PICKit 3 ICD: The PICkit 3 Debug Express allows debugging  and programming of PIC Flash microcontrollers  and dsPIC DSCs using the powerful graphical  user interface of the MPLAB Integrated  Development Environment (IDE).


    MPLAB ICD 3: MPLAB ICD 3 In-Circuit Debugger System is  Microchip's most cost effective high-speed hardware debugger/programmer for  Microchip Flash Digital Signal Controller  (DSC) and microcontroller (MCU) devices.  It debugs and programs PIC Flash microcontrollers and  dsPIC DSCs with the powerful, yet easy-to-use graphical user  interface of MPLAB Integrated Development Environment (IDE).  The MPLAB ICD 3 In-Circuit Debugger probe is connected  to the design engineer's PC using a high-speed USB 2.0  interface and is connected to the target with a connector compatible with the MPLAB REAL ICE systems (RJ-11). It provides an economic alternative to an emulator. By using some of the on-chip resources, MPLAB ICD 3 can download code into a target microcontroller inserted in the application, set breakpoints, single step and monitor registers and variables.


    MPLAB REAL ICE: MPLAB REAL ICE In-Circuit Emulator  System is Microchip’s next generation high  speed emulator for Microchip Flash DSC  and MCU devices. It debugs and programs  PIC and dsPIC Flash microcontrollers with  the easy-to-use but powerful graphical user interface of the  MPLAB Integrated Development Environment (IDE), included  with each kit.


    The MPLAB REAL ICE probe is connected  to the design engineer's PC using a high-speed USB 2.0  interface and is connected to the target with either a  connector compatible with the popular MPLAB ICD 3 system  (RJ11) or with the high speed, noise tolerant, low voltage  differential signal (LVDS) interconnection (CAT5). MPLAB REAL ICE is fi eld upgradeable through future  fi rmware downloads in MPLAB IDE.


    Development Kits: Microchip offers a variety of innovative development kits to simplify and expedite design development. Please click her for Microchip Dev Kit Linecard

    MPLAB IDE.png


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    Technical Documents

    Learning Center

    User GuideMicrochip: User Guide for MPLAB IDE
    BroucherMicrochip: MPLAB Integrated Development Environment (IDE) Brochure
    Quick Start GuideMicrochip: MPLAB ICD 3 Quick Start Poster
    Quick Start GuideMicrochip: Getting Started with MPLAB C18 v3 C Compiler
    Product BriefMicrochip: Product Overview of MPLAB REAL ICE
    Product BriefMicrochip: How to Set the MPLAB PM3
    More Training Videos on knodeMicrochip: MPLAB IDE Training Videos
    Design Elements


    Application LibraryMicrochip: Sample Code for A/D Converter Demonstration for the 18CXXX
    Application LibraryMicrochip: Sample Code for PIC32 MEB Graphics (QVGA) Lib
    Application LibraryMicrochip: CE117 - Using the DMA with DCI peripheral for I2S driver ( Audio & Speech - Playback )
    Application LibraryMicrochip: CE034 - Sample Code for Network System CAN Loopback
    Application LibraryMicrochip: CE031 - Sample Code for dsPIC for SMPS ADC Triggered by PWM


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    Ordering Information

    C compiler options from HI-TECH

    PIC10/12/16 MCUsSW50006SW500010SW500010SW500005SW500005
    PIC18 MCUsSW500007SW500007SW500008SW500008
    PIC24 MCUs/dsPIC   DSCs
    PIC32 MCUsSW500011SW500011SW500012SW500012


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