mikroPascal is a complete IDE that helps you through the entire design of PIC microcontrollers of types PIC12, PIC16, and PIC18, from Microchip. It includes examples and a comprehensive help file for learning how to use this wonderful tool.
Besides mikroPascal there are two other IDEs available from MikroElektronika - mikroC and mikroBasic, which are basically the same, the language used being the only difference. Thus, anything in this review also applies to them.
The IDE is completely configurable - several windows can be dragged and dropped, expanded and collapsed as you please. From version 3.80 there is a new tool that allows you to auto complete - you write an “if”, and it completes it to an “if else” statement. In addition, by pressing Ctrl+Space you can write OS, and it will auto complete to OSCCON - register for clock configuration. You can also add your own auto-completion items using the Options window, in the Auto Complete tab. Hence, this version will certainly help you raise your productivity, which is so important today.
The IDE already comes with many libraries, which will fit almost all your needs. It is important to know the requirements for each one - for example, many of them need the SPI protocol that is embedded in many PICs; however, engineers should be able to make whatever they need with what is available. The popular model PIC16F84A does not have any SPI hardware, but fortunately, it is possible to emulate it with the Software SPI library. Of course, the non-emulated version works better, but sometimes it is just not possible.
The IDE is easy to learn. After installing and running the software, you will find a sample called "LED blinking". There is a second sample, and the developer's web site contains many examples that are also cool ideas supplied by other developers. There you will find a free book - available only in Basic and C, in English and Spanish - that provides you with concepts for more complex projects, and which can be translated into Pascal (it is roughly the same - same registers, same bits). The local help is well designed and easy to understand - it provides information on how to use the IDE, its syntax, and everything you need to know about the built-in libraries.
It is rare to find such a well-designed software tool not developed by a big company. In fact, mikroPascal’s so many features make its price look not so high. Moreover, the most important thing of all is that mikroPascal could be your first step into the much more exciting world of dsPICs, PIC of 16, and 32 bits, with the help of other Pascal IDE for PICs - mikroPascal PRO for dsPIC30/33 and PIC24.
- Several built-in libraries.
- Embedded simulator, programmer, and debugger.
- Well done IDE.
- Programmer and debugger only works with PICFlash device from the same MikroElektronika.