Monday, June 17, 2024

Piklab: An IDE for PIC Microcontroller

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Piklab is an open source integrated development environment (IDE) for applications devised on Microchip PIC and digital signal processor IC (dsPIC) microcontroller (MCU) that can be compiled only with Qt on Linux and Windows. Qt, being a cross platform framework, allows Piklab to develop non-graphical user interface (non-GUI) programs. Based on general public licence version 2 (GNU GPL v2), Piklab is a complete development environment, providing access to different toolchains.


Piklab, although compatible with all versions of Windows and Linux, is only compatible with K-Desktop Environment 3 (KDE3) and KDE4 from version 0.16.0.

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Why use Piklab
Every tool has some specific features that make it essential enough to be used over its competitors. The features that Piklab can be related to are as follows:

524_Box_11. Provides tools for the complete development process that includes editing and compilation of the source, programming the device and debugging.

2. Integrates with several types of compilers, assembler toolchains and gpsim simulators.

3. Supports most common programmers, ICD2 debugger and several types of bootloaders. It also supports some direct programmers for most of the devices with PIC18F MCUs and PIC24C EEPROMs.

Other advantages of Piklab

Apart from the key essentials, Piklab has certain other advantages that may be present in other IDEs as well.

Fig. 2: Device selector
Fig. 2: Device selector

Command-line tool. Piklab is a command-line tool that provides a console for user interface, i.e., it allows the users to issue successive lines of text.

Checks validity of hex files. This tool checks the validity of a hex file to confirm if it complies with the INHEX- Standard defined by Intel Corporation, returns the information to the console, cleans the file and fixes the errors. It also compares two hex files.

Supports gputils. It is a collection of tools from Microchip PIC MCUs that includes gplink, gpasm and gplib. It allows a direct conversion of Assembly language into hex files for the programmer using gpasm.

Fig. 3: Hex file editor
Fig. 3: Hex file editor

Erases selected memory. Piklab performs multiple functions. It can read, program, verify and erase the whole device or only the selected memory ranges.

Easy debugging and simulation. Piklab allows an easy and faster simulation of PIC MCUs and also enables an easy debugging with three control options: graphical user interface (GUI), remote processor and command line interface (CLI) using the gpsim simulation tool.


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