C Compiler for Parallax Propeller Chip


The BASIC Stamp and Arduino aren't the only microcontrollers out there. The Parallax Propeller chip, as many of you have already discovered, is a more powerful microcontroller. Boasting eight 32-bit processors, it is capable of parallel processing.
The major turn off for people to the Propeller was having to write code in the high-level, proprietary Spin language or low-level assembly. There's a good support forum and large object code library, however.

ImageCraft has now released a C compiler and IDE for the Propeller as Ken Gracey promised a couple months ago here. You can download a 45-day demo on the ImageCraft website or purchase two different packages (also available at Parallax). The commercial programs are a bit pricey for hobbyists at $99 and $249. Since it's still new, there are only a handful of libraries for it. The IDE interface is a bit clumsy and takes a minute to figure out, but it works. I like the built-in terminal, which you'll have to configure to work with the example codes included (Tools -> Environment Options... -> Terminal tab -> pick COM port & set Baudrate to 57600)

ICCV7 for Propeller Features at a Glance: (as listed at the ImageCraft website)
  • comprehensive target support
  • powerful and user-friendly IDE
  • ANSI C compiler
  • optimizations
  • assembler / linker
  • debugger support
  • libraries
  • documentation
  • third party tool support
  • technical support
  • (Additional features, debugger information, etc. listed below)
  • uses Large Memory Model (LMM) to bypass 2K byte limits of Cog code
  • typically 5 to 10 times faster than Spin
  • access Propeller multiprocessing and other Propeller specific features in C
  • write native assembly code and launch it in another Cog for high performance driver
  • built-in terminal
  • support for Parallax's Propellent DLL for program downloading
  • Include libraries such as ASyncIO, VGA Text, etc.

Parallax has promised to begin including C codes in their object exchange, so you can expect to see more useful codes popping up soon.

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3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on July 3, 2008 at 5:18pm

Excellent post! Good news about the arrival of C. For those who are worried about the pricing, a point of clarification: the combo of compiler and IDE is $99 for non-commerical use, which I imagine is most of us. That's still $99 more than the Spin (or Basic Stamp or Arduino) programming packages, but if it means not having to learn yet another language it may be worth it.

Comment by crystal garris on July 4, 2008 at 10:50am
at last !!


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