A potential new C compiler supplier. :-D

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I was nosing around at some MSP430 stuff whilst making a comparison of devices for a project I have on, and of course I wanted to look at all the available tools as well. And look what I came across....

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We are now porting CrossWorks to the Atmel AVR. If you would like to register your interest as a potential beta site, we invite you to contact us.

For all those interested parties, see http://www.rowley.co.uk. They do look like a decent alternative! Complete IDE with JTAG debug support for the other devices. Let's hope they do the same for AVR. Not cheap. But a damn sight cheaper than IAR!

Anybody else had experience with them? Oh, and for those that are nosey, I am going with the Mega32L at the moment.

Sacha.

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I wish them luck. It takes a lot of work and cost to have a GOOD compiler for the micro's with FLASH and RAM on separate address spaces.

And to have a GOOD library for vprintf and malloc et al.

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Quote:
It takes a lot of work and cost to have a GOOD compiler for the micro's with FLASH and RAM on separate address spaces.

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that is harder to design a (good) compiler for a Harvard architecture than for a Von Neumman architecture. Can you elaborate a little about that ?

Regards,
Alejandro.
http://www.ocam.cl

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Sacha wrote:
Not cheap. But a damn sight cheaper than IAR!

So is GCC. :D

But then again, every compiler is cheaper than IAR. :wink:

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True! But if you are a lazy hardware engineer like me, you want something straight out of the box with good support. With a bit more of a 'visual' aspect, and help files! :wink:

Not that WinAVR is poorly supported. I think that you guys here do a fantastic job! But there is always that knowledge (or at least the illusion) with a commercial product that you can pick up the phone if things get really bad.

Sacha.

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Sacha wrote:
But there is always that knowledge (or at least the illusion) with a commercial product that you can pick up the phone if things get really bad.

:lol:
Go ahead!

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EW wrote:
Sacha wrote:
But there is always that knowledge (or at least the illusion) with a commercial product that you can pick up the phone if things get really bad.

:lol:
Go ahead!

Not an illusion if the compiler vendor is ImageCraft :-) While I usually don't answer the phone anymore, I still answer most in depth technical questions (FYI - I write all the ICC compilers). We prefer email of course, but the phone is there, if you must use it.

// richard (richard @ imagecraft.com)

Richard Man http://imagecraft.com

Beyond Arduino - When you're ready to get serious...
JumpStart C Tools, The Better Alternative.

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"Not cheap. But a damn sight cheaper than IAR! "

You are correct, "Not" cheap, but at least CVAVR and ICCAVR let you perform and see some of the generated code. I downloaded the crossworks demo for a test drive and attempted to build one of their sample apps. It let me know right off that I needed to register (purchase?) to go beyond what I was viewing. Give me a break! If they are bold enough, and competent enough to claim high expertise, then surely they have enough talent to perform better crippling than this. It reminds me of car dealers that want us to purchase an expensive vehicle, without physically driving it. No, just starting the engine and looking through the windshield is not enough folks :roll: .
Jack

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imagecraft wrote:
EW wrote:
Sacha wrote:
But there is always that knowledge (or at least the illusion) with a commercial product that you can pick up the phone if things get really bad.

:lol:
Go ahead!

Not an illusion if the compiler vendor is ImageCraft :-) While I usually don't answer the phone anymore, I still answer most in depth technical questions (FYI - I write all the ICC compilers). We prefer email of course, but the phone is there, if you must use it.

// richard (richard @ imagecraft.com)

Despite my GCC leanings, I agree with you Richard. I've heard very good things about the support for ICC.

I was speaking from experience specifically about IAR. I apologize that I didn't mention that in my off-hand remark above.

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Quote:
I downloaded the crossworks demo for a test drive and attempted to build one of their sample apps. It let me know right off that I needed to register (purchase?) to go beyond what I was viewing. Give me a break!

You only need to register to get an evaluation key, you don't put any money down.

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If they are bold enough, and competent enough to claim high expertise, then surely they have enough talent to perform better crippling than this.

This is the way we chose to protect our software. You're afraid of sending us a single e-mail to register your evaluation? Did you not read about the activation process on the downloads page? Why download the software if you object to the plainly-worded activation process?

Once activated, you have full functionality for 30 days, the software isn't crippled.

The same activation process will be required for the AVR compiler.

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I tried the Rowley Crossworks for the MSP430 - on a bench of more than 10 projects it came out 7% higher on codesize than the IAR MSP430 compiler. Not bad at all.
Let's just wait and see what their AVR version can do...

*** Eivind, webmaster ***

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eivind wrote:
I tried the Rowley Crossworks for the MSP430 - on a bench of more than 10 projects it came out 7% higher on codesize than the IAR MSP430 compiler. Not bad at all.
Let's just wait and see what their AVR version can do...

Eivind,

Did you build in Release mode and turn all optimizations on for the MSP430? Our benchmark figures against EW430 for the latest offering are pretty good. The AVR compiler is not too far off now, and the performance against EWAVR is particularly impressive.

-- Paul.

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Eivind at al,

The compiler is now ready for evaluation at http://www.rowley.co.uk/

Regards,

-- Paul.

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@plc

Might wanna correct this on the avr page

Quote:
CrossWorks for AVR sets the standard for AVR development tools. The toolset provides a complete and cost-effective solution for programming the MSP430 family of low-power

/Bingo

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Bingo600 wrote:
@plc

Might wanna correct this on the avr page

Quote:
CrossWorks for AVR sets the standard for AVR development tools. The toolset provides a complete and cost-effective solution for programming the MSP430 family of low-power

/Bingo

That's the problem writing these things. Websites always get the least amount of attention. :-(

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Paul,

Can you tell how many stack your compiler has? I mean that IAR, ICC, CV have separate stacks for code and data. WinAVR has one for all.
Do you support pragmas?
How many optimization levels? I'm personally interested in speed, not size.
Do you have online manual?
I do not like any evaluation copy that is one of the reasons/excuses for asking those questions.

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...and true professionals NEED to ask the questions rather than answering then with the evaluation copies.

From the Rowley Web site, the CrossWorks for AVR seems perfect:

Quote:
Our C compiler is the benchmark for code quality and performance for the AVR microcontroller. Compliant to ANSI and ISO standards, professional and robust, it's the perfect choice for any AVR project. Coupled with our CrossStudio development environment, it makes an unbeatable development tool!

Lee

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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brberie wrote:
Paul,
Can you tell how many stack your compiler has? I mean that IAR, ICC, CV have separate stacks for code and data. WinAVR has one for all.

There are two stack, configurable in size. One contains return addresses, one is dedicated to function arguments and locals that can't be held in registers.

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Do you support pragmas?

Yes, a good number of them. And we have a bunch of compiler intrinsics.

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How many optimization levels?

That's a function of which optimizations you enable. You can, for instance, enable many optimizations on an individual basis and many help both code size and execution speed. Our optimizer works across modules. And we have code factoring to reduce code size.

Quote:
I'm personally interested in speed, not size.

Well, speed is a function of code generation strategy. From our benchmarks, we compare better than ICCAVR and CVAVR and many times we're identical to IAR, sometimes better, sometimes slightly worse. However, flick into "save space" mode and we're smaller than any of them.

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Do you have online manual?

Our manual is coded in XHTML and is integrated into our IDE. We're working on making all our manuals available online and also producing a PDF version.

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I do not like any evaluation copy that is one of the reasons/excuses for asking those questions.

What do you have against evaluation copies? Ours are completely unrestricted for 30 days and you can always ask for extensions.

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theusch wrote:
...and true professionals NEED to ask the questions rather than answering then with the evaluation copies.

From the Rowley Web site, the CrossWorks for AVR seems perfect:

Quote:
Our C compiler is the benchmark for code quality and performance for the AVR microcontroller. Compliant to ANSI and ISO standards, professional and robust, it's the perfect choice for any AVR project. Coupled with our CrossStudio development environment, it makes an unbeatable development tool!

Lee

Well, we'll be releasing sample code for benchmarking, including all the sources and project files we used for other compilers, in the coming weeks. This will answer questions about the code generation capability of the compiler. Of course, your own application is the ultimate test.

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I guess I do have one follow-on question: notably absent from the "processors supported" list are any of the good old AT90S and all the ATTiny series. In particular, no support for '2313.

Also, there is no mention of the AVR "variants" such as AT86, AT43, & AT94.

Lee

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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theusch wrote:
I guess I do have one follow-on question: notably absent from the "processors supported" list are any of the good old AT90S and all the ATTiny series. In particular, no support for '2313.

Also, there is no mention of the AVR "variants" such as AT86, AT43, & AT94.

Lee

We made a decision, with advice from Atmel, about which processors to support on an initial release. We support the processors that you can debug using JTAG at present, together with the ones that can be supported by our code generator now.

On our roadmap is support for the tinyAVR series, specifically those with SRAM to support C, and the JTAG ICE mk II, which is the only device to support debugWIRE. Rather than wait for the mk II target interface code to be completed, we made the decision to release what we have now, and work on the mk II and tinies and offer it as a free upgrade. Note that our policy is not to charge for software upgrades or annual maintenance, you get all upgrades in the v1.x line for free. We've been shipping MSP430 for two years now, and have never charged an upgrade fee to any customer.

We won't be supporting classic AVRs for debug in ICE200; you can use AVR Studio for that. We only advertise what we know works and have tested on.

As such, AT94 is theoretically supported but hasn't been tested. AT43--never seen a device, but did try to order an eval kit but it didn't materialise. AT86, as AT43.

Our long range plan is to have C code generation for all parts with static RAM, to be able to debug megaAVR and tinyAVR devices, to be able to use assembler for all AVR devices. Unless there is a good reason to, we will not be supporting the ICE200.

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Thank you, Paul!

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What do you have against evaluation copies? Ours are completely unrestricted for 30 days and you can always ask for extensions.

It is simple. I just too busy and do not have enough time... For thirty day I may find just few at most to play with a "new toy". Next time I'll find more time - 30 days period has expired... I have this bad experience with other products
Also my current projects are based on the kernel build on winavr so I have to have very good reason to switch gears. This could be speed. IAR allows me using pragmas change the optimization level for any single function...I'd say that this is what i miss most with WinAVR. Optimisation level 2 works, level 3 doesn't.

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This compiler really looks verry interesting, but unfortunatly for non comercial users the price is much to expensive.

I dont think it makes sense to evaluate something you cannot afoard in the end.

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theusch wrote:

From the Rowley Web site, the CrossWorks for AVR seems perfect:

Quote:
Our C compiler is the benchmark for code quality and performance for the AVR microcontroller. Compliant to ANSI and ISO standards, professional and robust, it's the perfect choice for any AVR project. Coupled with our CrossStudio development environment, it makes an unbeatable development tool!

Sure, Lee. "Seems perfect". :roll:
C'mon, the above is marketing statment.
I'll be interested to see how it performs.

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Rubi wrote:
This compiler really looks verry interesting, but unfortunatly for non comercial users the price is much to expensive.

I dont think it makes sense to evaluate something you cannot afoard in the end.

I know this is a problem for many small users. But AVR is well-served with nice compilers. I recently purchased CVAVR, it's a nice system. But WinAVR is also pretty neat and has good code generation ability.

Regards,

-- Paul.

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I would think non-commercial users would just stick with avr-gcc. Is there a reason not to?

(I'm a non-commercial user and just want to know what I'm missing out on)

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GCC is a capable compiler. It also has the right price for playing (which I do very infrequently now). I've used GCC and LegOS on my LEGO Mindstorms brick, and I like it. I know that I wouldn't personally purchase an H8/300 compiler just to play!

-- Paul.

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Our ImageCraft ICCV7 for AVR's demo will be fully functional for 45 days, and then become 4K bytes code sized limit for non commercial uses for unlimited time. This would be good for people who just want to play around.

Tentatively, we may even incorporate the ICCtiny compiler fully into the ICCAVR, thus making us the ONLY C compiler support all AVR devices. We will make this decision within the next 2 weeks.

Richard Man http://imagecraft.com

Beyond Arduino - When you're ready to get serious...
JumpStart C Tools, The Better Alternative.

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About 15 years ago I used the following idea to protect my DOS software:
I could mark the computer where software has been installed (complete unlimited version). The next version could figure out that this computer had previous one free or licensed. If it was free, the new one did not want to work, reminding that now it is time to buy. No time limits, no support, no improvements, no updates, no hassles!

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brberie wrote:
About 15 years ago I used the following idea to protect my DOS software:
I could mark the computer where software has been installed (complete unlimited version). The next version could figure out that this computer had previous one free or licensed. If it was free, the new one did not want to work, reminding that now it is time to buy. No time limits, no support, no improvements, no updates, no hassles!

Interesting idea. May be V8 :-)

Couple downsides though: I am sure we will get people complaining that they "accidentally" d/l the new version and now they are dead in the water (you'd be amazed how mean some people can get on "free" demo stuff). Also, I bet there are people who tested it out for a day, then forget about for a year or two, and then they want to test some new device, and then they will not be able to test out the new device support etc.

Again, interesting idea.....

Richard Man http://imagecraft.com

Beyond Arduino - When you're ready to get serious...
JumpStart C Tools, The Better Alternative.

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Quote:

Imagecraft wrote:
Our ImageCraft ICCV7 for AVR's demo will be fully functional for 45 days, and then become 4K bytes code sized limit for non commercial uses for unlimited time. This would be good for people who just want to play around.

I think I will immeadetly browse to the imagecraft website and download their compiler.
That is really a great offer. Usually you get only 2k of code from commercial verndors,
or 0 k.
I think 4k is enough for manny of my projects.

Why switching to a commercial enviroment , when there is GCC for free ?

I like to work with an IDE , where I can compile the code from and where I must not allways switch to DOS calling make,...
I want to have the errors highlighted in the editor and not in a dos box, with a line number.
I think you get the picture.

GCC is great, no doubt. But I dont understand, why programmers notpad has no posibillity to compile and show me the errors.

Cheers
Rubi

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Any coin has two sides and even on shining Sun has a dark spots or no one weapon is absolute. Because I was selling hundreds of copies of relatively cheap ($20-$25) software it did not bring me any troubles.
I don't see a big trouble if some will get your stuff for free. Serious buyers and I guess they are your real goal would not do it in any significant quantity.
To all compilers suppliers: please consider possibility for optimization on a single function NOT file level,
Thanks.

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Rubi wrote:

GCC is great, no doubt. But I dont understand, why programmers notpad has no posibillity to compile and show me the errors.
Rubi

You can do this whit PN. I compile with F9, and program the AVR with F10. And the errors are in the output window, inside PN. If I click in the error, it jumps to the offending line.

May be this document could be helpful.

Regards,
Alejandro.
http://www.ocam.cl