Everything You Need To Know About The MPLAB Xpress
The MPLAB Xpress is an ideal way for a first timer to embark on a Microchip PIC microcontroller project, as it has it has never been easier to develop applications. The cloud based programming environment can be operated within a browser, and is a streamlined version of the company’s award winning MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment (IDE), offering the most popular features from the software.
About The MPLAB Xpress
First time PIC microcontroller users can develop applications using Microchip PIC microcontrollers or dsPIC digital signal controllers on Windows, MAC OS or Linux. It is the perfect platform for first time users because the MPLAB Xpress requires no machine configuration, downloads or waiting time, which means an engineer can simply make a start on their system development. It is, therefore, the ideal solution for busy developers who require immediate access to embedded development tools.
The MPLAB Xpress can automatically generate initialization and application C code for 8-bit and 16-bit PIC microcontrollers or dsPIC DSCs using a pin map and graphical interface. The innovative new software is, therefore, the ideal in-browser IDE solution, which allows you to store project code on the internet and compiles server-side. It also produces a .hex file that can be downloaded by the web browser and flashed onto the target device.
Who Can Use It?
Anyone interested in developing a project using Microchip’s PIC microcontrollers can use the cloud based programming environment, such as makers looking to share code with the community, an experienced engineer wanting to test drive the latest Microchip technologies or academics looking for a portable, flexible lab tool.
Microchip has successfully designed the MPLAB Xpress to offer a seamless transition from the MPLAB X. So, even if you are currently using the software program, you do not have to worry about compatibility issues when transitioning to the Xpress, and vice versa. Microchip has confirmed that they will develop the MPLAB Xpress and MPLAB X IDE side-by-side, creating a similar experience whether you use the labs online or offline.
Share Your Projects
Developers can also store and share their projects in the cloud with other developers within their community if they use the MPLAB Xpress. You simply visit the examples section that allows you to post a project for review, which can be viewed by the MPLAB Xpress community. So, it’s a great way to gain insight, feedback and advice when developing an application – or to become inspired by other projects.
Anyone working on a PIC microcontroller application can store their current project information in the cloud. It doesn’t cost a penny to join the community to start working on a system, connect with other like minded developers or share ideas. All you need to enter is your myMicrochip login details.
Microchip assures their customers that the MPLAB X IDE is free and always will be, so you do not have to worry about receiving any charges as you work on a project. The XC compilers are provided in either a standard version, which is the free version, or the PRO version, which is available for $29.99 monthly subscription or, alternatively, you can purchase the PRO for $1,000.
Secure a Project
The MPLAB Xpress offers a heightened level of security when working on a project, as Microchip regularly conducts third-party penetration tests, and features data encryption when at rest. Not only that, but the lab uses industry standard encryption on both the company IP and user data.
Microchip has ensured the MPLAB Xpress IDE effectively supports PICKit3 and the Curiosity Development Board. You will, however, need a myMicrochip account if you would like to gain access to the tools, and you must also ensure you’re running the latest Java Runtime Environment.
How To Use The MPLAB Xpress
If you have a PC or MAC computer that is connected to the internet, you can start designing in the cloud from anywhere in the world. You can also start your PIC microcontroller journey by using the library of existing projects. Unfortunately, you can only enter the MPLAB Xpress interface on a computer equipped with both a mouse and keyboard. However, you can use the MPLAB X IDE on various smartphone and tablet browsers.
So, if you’re an engineer looking for an effective project development solution, which allows you to work on a project, share projects with a like-minded community and receive helpful advice, you should consider both the MPLAB Xpress and the MPLAB X IDE.