With the growing complexity of embedded systems, industry studies have shown that software development accounts for 60% of the average design cycle. At the same time, designers are using a variety of software with untested compatibility and multiple sources of purchasing and support. This causes increased verification and debug time after the design is completed, which can cost 10-30 times more than defects found during the design phase.
Microchip’s new MPLAB Harmony framework reduces development time and costs by providing a single integrated, abstracted and flexible source for Microchip-tested, debugged and interoperable code. In addition, Harmony provides a modular architecture that enables the efficient integration of multiple drivers, middleware and libraries, while offering an RTOS-independent environment that makes it easy to switch RTOSs. Not only does this pre-verification and integration speed development, it also increases reuse. On the hardware side, the Harmony framework makes it even easier to port code and migrate among all of Microchip’s 32-bit PIC32 microcontrollers. Also, by using this single source for in-house and third-party code (both free and premium) that is supported by Microchip, designers can greatly increase their reaction times to their ever-changing end-market requirements.
“MPLAB Harmony provides a new software development approach that is unmatched in the embedded industry,” said Rod Drake, director of Microchip’s MCU32 Division. “No one else provides a single, comprehensive firmware development framework where designers can download and find support for such a broad range of pre-tested, interoperable software.”
“InterNiche worked closely with Microchip’s application engineers to ensure that our low-cost TCP/IP object code and our source-code networking modules are compatible with the MPLAB Harmony platform,” said Larry Larder, president of InterNiche Technologies, Inc. “InterNiche offers a complete suite of commercial-grade network modules that are pre-integrated with MPLAB Harmony so that PIC32 customers can quickly add value to their designs while reducing time to market.”
MPLAB Harmony is available today, and the basic framework is free. The first release provides initial support for the new PIC32MZ family, as well as the PIC32MX families. Full support for all PIC32 families is planned for the next version release, which is expected in March 2014. Once downloaded, there is a modular menu of free and premium software options that are also available today. The expanding list of initial offerings includes FreeRTOS from A Real Time Engineers Ltd. and OpenRTOS from Wittenstein High Integrity Systems; a TCP/IP stack from InterNiche Technologies; and a CyaSSL Embedded SSL Library from wolfSSL, among many others.
Microchip’s comprehensive MPLAB Harmony Online Design Center provides designers with a portal where they can easily download the framework and get started with their development. Additionally, the site offers many resources to users of the Harmony framework.