PRESS RELEASE: CorStarter™-STM32, ARM Cortex™-M3 C Starter Kit for $99

Available October 31st, 2013: ImageCraft’s CorStarter™-STM32 is a complete 32-bit ARM Cortex™-M3 C Development Kit for $99. It includes all the hardware and software to develop and debug C programs in a simple to use package.

The CorStarter-STM32 base board, powered by a 72-Mhz STM32 device with 256K flash and 64K SRAM, is more than 20 times faster than 8-bit AVR Arduino boards. With 8-bit Arduino Shield compatible headers, hundreds of Arduino Shields may be used to expand the capabilities of the system. Remaining IO pins are brought out to the header, allowing access to the full power of 32-bit embedded computing. The hardware design files for the CorStarter-STM32 base board are Open Source.

A choice of either the industrial standard Segger JLINK-Edu or ST-LINK/V2 (for ST devices only) provides fast code download and hardware debugging support. These JTAG/SWD pods allow full access to Cortex™-M devices and seamless debugging without source code modification.

To complement the hardware, the Kit also includes an ImageCraft Non-Commercial C compiler (ICCV8 for Cortex™) license. The C compiler includes a professional IDE with an integrated flash downloader and source level debugger. The compiler can be used for other Cortex™-M development projects as well. Finally, the Kit includes example projects and libraries for various Arduino Shields.

The CorStarter-STM32 base board can be purchased by itself for $45.

A companion college-level embedded system programming textbook will be available in Spring 2014.

For more information, please visit http://corstarter.com, http://imagecraft.com or email info@imagecraft.com

Designed and manufactured in the USA.

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FreeRTOS, __inline now supported in our Cortex compiler

Our Cortex compiler now supports __inline keyword, CMSIS V3 and now includes a port of FreeRTOS for the STM32. Check out our fully functional 45 day demo.

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Earliest C Compiler now on Github

The very first C compiler available “in the wild” written by Dennis Ritchie (“dmr”) is now on Github. Could be interesting to port it to compile under a modern compiler.

https://github.com/mortdeus/legacy-cc

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Silicon Labs Acquires Energy Micro

Energy Micro is a fairly major ARM Cortex MCU player in Europe, and its line has just been acquired by Silicon Labs.

The Ancient History o C

C was developed at Bell Labs on a PDP-11 by Dennis Ritchie. As soon as it was running on multiple (i.e. more than one) machines, then the nascent “document processing” OS named Unix was rewritten in C by Ken Thompson in a matter of months. Bell Lab released Version 6 Unix outside of Bell Lab and along with it, the influence of C grew.

ICCAVR gets 64-bit double support in printf

(We are going to blog more often, catch us at http://imagecraft.com/blog https://www.facebook.com/imagecraft.inc and Twitter @imagecraftinc)

One common concession to C Standard on typical 8-bit embedded compilers is that double data type is 32 bits and not 64 bits as required by the standard. Since 8-bit CPU microcontrollers are usually limited by both memory size and clock speed, this is an acceptable tradeoff. However, some of these 8-bit micros are growing in size and speed, driven by the complexity of the firmware.

We added 64-bit double support a couple years back, and now we are adding full printf (e.g. %f, %g, %e”) support on the AVR compiler as well. As usual, this is optional and we even have different versions of the underlying conversion to string function depending on whether you want full range/precision support or faster execution.

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Exciting Times Ahead

We are about to release ICCAVR version 8.10.00, with support for CRC generation and production ELF file. The latter allows users to specify all the special control bytes (fuse, lockbits etc.) in the C source file and have a single output file for device programming. More convenient and less error prone than existing methods.

We are also working on some very exciting products. More details later when we can talk about them :-)

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2012 Year End Message

Dear customers of ImageCraft,

After starting to regain ground in 2010-2011, the Semiconductor sector seems to have stalled again in 2012. Nevertheless, some of our customers are now telling us that their clients are asking them to resume work on products that have not been touched in the last 5 years, so I do see that as a sign that recovery is happening. Lets hope 2013 is a more positive year for all.

ImageCraft’s big news is the release of our ARM Cortex-M and the integrated debugger. Our V8 IDE now has all the major features you would expect from a modern IDE. This puts us in a good position for 2013.

In 2013, our focus will be on increased ease of use, and broadening our middleware offerings.

In terms of ease of use and new features for the AVR compiler, we will be releasing CRC, production elf file generation for the AVR compiler in Jan 2013, and in H1 2013 we plan to release function inlining, and revamped 64-bit double support, plus 64-bit long long.

The Cortex compiler will be getting function inlining and 64-bit double support.

There is still potential in the CPU12 market. Unfortunately, due to lack of resources and the low Return of Investment on the XGATE improvements we made to the CPU12 compilers, until we see that potential grow, it’s unlikely that we will work on the CPU12 compiler in the immediate future.

As for middleware, the key market is clearly the Cortex-M. We have some ideas that we will be working on in H1 2013 that could potentially open up the market for us.

Lastly, we decided to change the AVR compiler editions and pricing to match those of the Cortex-M compiler: the compiler now comes in STD ($249) and PRO ($499). Most of the new features will only be made for the PRO edition. Existing ADV users are still supported as before with no change, but of course upgrading to PRO edition is encouraged.

As always, we wish you the best new year, and if you have comments and suggestions, please feel free to email us.

Happy 2013.

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Another Milestone – We Now Have Our Own Debugger

Since establishing ImageCraft in 1994, we were one of the first, if not the first embedded compiler to include a Windows IDE. In 2009, our V8 release moved our IDE to the latest technological base when we adapted CodeBlocks. However, we still did not have our own debugger.

Until Now.

ICCV8 for Cortex V8.03.00 now includes an integrated debugger IDB. With a Segger Jlink unit, one click and the IDE will rebuild the project, flash download the program and start the debugger for you. All without writing linker command files or complicated debug pod configuration file.

IDB is fully functional under the PRO license and limited to one breakpoint and 64K program under -NC/STD/DEMO licenses.

We strive to provide the a combination of professional features, ease of use and cost benefits to our customers with our excellent technical support. With this release, we have moved the bar higher still.

The Press Release, also available here. Feel free to forward to anyone who may be interested.

Thank You.

****************

NEW C CROSS COMPILER AND DEBUGGER FOR ARM CORTEX M DEVICES
December 3, 2012
ImageCraft‘s ICCV8 for Cortex is a Windows-hosted C cross compiler for the ARM Cortex M devices. Built from the ground up, ICCV8 for Cortex includes a state-of-the-art IDE, C compiler tools and integrated debugger. In interfacing with the industry-standard Segger Jlink JTAG/SWD emulators, ICCV8 for Cortex provides seamless flash programming and debugging for all major Cortex M3 devices without complicated driver installation or trial-and-error configuration.

The C compiler accepts C89 Standard C with C99 extensions, and performs device-specific optimizations and function-level global optimizations. The ImageCraft Debugger (IDB) is likewise developed in-house, and is fully integrated with our compiler and IDE to provide the best out-of-the-box user experience.
The IDE is based on Open Source CodeBlocks with modern IDE features such as code folding, project management etc. With ImageCraft’s modifications, there is no need for any linker command file; the user needs only to select the target device by name.

Another ease-of-use IDE feature is flash programming capability and debugging with Segger Jlink units without installing unusual system software or writing complicated configuration files. A single button click causes the IDE to build the project (if necessary), download the code to the device, and start the debugger.
A 45-day fully functional demo is available on ImageCraft’s website. ICCV8 for Cortex is competitively priced at $249 for the STD edition / $499 for the PRO edition (includes IDB.)

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ICCV8 for Cortex Released

ICCv8 for Cortex (V8.00.00) has now been officially released. You can download it from our website.

From the readme

[ FEATURES THAT STILL NEED TO BE IMPLEMENTED ]
- M0 Instruction Set not supported
- M4 Instruction Set not supported
- PRO optimizations not enabled
- Cortex-M Bitfield instructions not used
- Bitband memory alias
- Debugger

CHANGE LOGS:
8.00.00 August 24th, 2012
- Open c:\iccv8cortex\examples.

cortex\examples.workspace for some sample projects

- ARM CMSIS header files under c:\iccv8cortex\include\CMSIS, the compiler
driver automatically includes this directory (along with
c:\iccv8cortex\include\) in the search list.

- NXP header files under c:\iccv8cortex\include\<vendor name>\
You will have to explicitly add them to the Include Path, e.g.
$(TARGET_COMPILER_DIR)NXP\LPC17xx\

- No vendor CMSIS source files are included as they are rather large.
Please download them from the vendors’ sites.

- Please refer to the documentation, “Programming for Cortex-M” on what
steps to take to get a working project.

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