Attached is an article I recently wrote which describes how to use a scripting language to create a PC program. For those that are unfamiliar with them, scripting languages are interpreted languages and are usually designed such that they can be quickly learned and can produce a working program with a minimum of effort. They have the added benefit that the generated program can run (often with no changes) across multiple platforms, such as Windows, MAC OS or Linux. Also, most of them are available for free.
I have been using scripting languages for a number of years, both at work and at home. My most recent AVR project was a Mega128 based control interface to a whole-house audio system. The hardware is directly controlled by a server, written in the Tcl/Tk scripting language, which runs on a Win2K based PC. A client program, also written in Tcl/Tk, communicates with this server through a socket interface and separate instances of it run on various other systems throughout the house. There is even a client that runs on a wireless PDA, allowing hand-held remote control capabilities.
In the article I try to introduce the user to the capabilities of scripting languages. A simple but complete example, including both AVR and PC sides is presented which anyone with an STK500 can actually try out. Hopefully the article will help others get started when they need to create a custom control program for their AVR project.