Cross-Platform Cortex-M Development
Cross-Platform Cortex-M Development (Cross-Platform Cortex-M Development + VSCode Project Folders)
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Cross-Platform Cortex-M Development

Last updated on 2018-11-07

About the Book

Choosing a development environment for an embedded system is one of the more consequential parts of the project.

Most Arm Cortex-M projects today employ an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) which supplies an editor, compiler, project manager, build tool, terminal, debugger GUI, debugger, and debugging probe or interface.

The IDE's like Eclipse, IAR, Greenhills, Keil, and Code Composer Studio have become so complex that simply learning to use them may take a big chunk of time for each team member at the beginning of the project.

The dollar cost of an IDE seat can be as high as several thousand dollars.

For small development projects, involving one or two people and a few man months worth of work, a full blown IDE can occupy a big chunk of the budget, especially when it's learning curve is considered.

Luckily, help is on the way, and from the most unlikely source.

Microsoft has funded an IDE for use in web-development. It supports a wide variety of computing languages, including scripting languages such as JavaScript and TypeScript. It also allows simple configuration with a few JSON schemes. The name of this environment is Visual Studio Code, or VSCode for short.

This book shows how to use VSCode, Arm Embedded Compiler Tools, a make file, and OpenOCD debug server, to build a simple, cross-platform IDE for developing Cortex-M projects.

The book comes with three compressed files containing build directories for macOS, Linux, and Windows platforms. Each directory is a VSCode project, with complete MIT licensed source code, and a make file, for building the example project for the STM32F7 Discovery Board

The project is a digital theremin, with ADSR note envelopes, multiple waveforms, a filter, and a cross-channel beat frequency control.

The eBook gives detailed instructions for obtaining VSCode, the Arm Compiler Tools, a Cortex-Debug extension for VSCode, and the OpenOCD debug server. It describes how to setup the three simple scripts necessary to integrate these tools into a fully functional IDE for Cortex-M development for macOS, Linux, and Windows..


About the Author

David Clifton
David Clifton

I have developed embedded software for 30 years.  Along the way, I have worn out several keyboards, stared holes in multiple displays, and produced firmware for a wide variety of electronic products.

Systems developed in whole or part include: Multi-parameter biofeedback system for Apple II, C and Dsp code for a television watching robot, firmware for a laser power meter, hypertext editor and math assistant for a pocket PC, autosampler firmware for a hematology instrument, robotic control and sequencer for a genetic blood assay machine, bootloader and kernel for an oximeter, portable flight planning computer, firmware for a wireless data acquisition system for bridge diagnostics, base station firmware for corrections telemetry and alcohol monitoring, communications protocol for an implantable hearing aid, usb mass storage driver, and sensor drivers for an oilfield seismic data logger, firmware for a digital theremin and a gps locator-tracker.

For more detailed information, see

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • About Visual Studio Code
    • Embedded Project Example
  • Install the Tools
    • Download and Install Visual Studio Code
    • Download and Install Embedded Arm Compiler Tools
    • Debugger Installation
    • Obtain and Install OpenOCD Server
  • Configure Visual Studio Code
    • Configure Cygwin make for the Windows example project
    • Configure the Debugger
    • Configure Project User Settings
  • Build and Run the Example Project
    • Build and Run the Mac Version
    • Build and Run the Linux Version
    • Build and Run the Windows Version
  • About the Example Project
    • Screen Shots
    • XY Controller View
    • Theremin Settings View
    • Sound Characteristics
    • Access to Project Documentation
  • Appendix – When to Use an Open-Source IDE
  • Sources Referenced (by URL)

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