In our previous Atmel tutorial, we talked about how to set up the powerful AVR Studio 5 IDE to incorporate Arduino libraries and projects. As flexible as AVR Studio 5 is, it had a few issues, and Atmel has been hard at work hustling the next major version out the door. Now, rebranded as Atmel Studio 6 (no longer just for AVRs!), the new version promises to be better, faster, and easier to use. Here, we’ll show you the quickest way to get up and running if you want to use Arduino code with all of the new features.
Note: This article explains how to set up the Atmel Studio 6 IDE for use with Arduino projects, step-by-step. It also notes on general setup for working with Atmel devices, background on the pros/cons of working with AVR Studio, and a few other tips. A table of contents is below; feel free to skip to any section that interests you.
In a previous post, we covered online IDEs for embedded software development. In order to run embedded programs you need to, well, embed them in something, so we also included a paragraph on Upverter, a tool for collaboratively editing and sharing circuit schematics. Hardware design is an area that’s still relatively untouched by the web application revolution, and we always love to see new innovation.
More recently, we ran across CircuitLab, an alternative schematic tool with some unique features. On the surface, the site seems extremely similar to Upverter: fire up an online editor, create your circuit in the browser, then save it to your account. At any point in this process, you can share a link to your circuit to let others view it and collaborate.
Recently we’ve seen a few options for compiling and programming your processor of choice in the cloud. Online IDEs offer a lot of convenience, as you don’t have to worry about OS idiosyncrasies or implementation details on your specific machine. You simply put in source code and get compiled files out. Power users may want alternatives with more features, but just like other app categories, we’re guessing online development environments will get more polished as time goes on. Most online environments are limited to standard desktop languages, but lately some online options have popped up in the microprocessor arena.
When you start programming AVRs, you already have your hands full with learning the C language, I/O registers on your chip, and how to manipulate the hardware. However, you also have to worry about your development environment. Figuring out how to compile code, get it on your device, and debug it can seem overwhelming when you’re trying to tackle one thing at a time.
Pete Brown, the lead of the Developer Guidance Community Team at Microsoft, has written a great post on how to properly prepare for a new AVR project. He covers how to choose a microcontroller, collecting necessary datasheets and information, setting up your hardware development environment and software IDE, and how to properly test and debug your code.
If you’re looking to make the jump from Arduino or another processor family but aren’t sure where to start, this should help get you off the ground. You can also cross-reference our tutorial on using AVR Studio 5 with Arduino projects if you want to mix and match environments.