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Integrated development environment for a microcontroller systems laboratory

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2 Author(s)
Perez-Quinones, M.A. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Puerto Rico Univ., Mayaguez, Puerto Rico ; Cruz-Rivera, J.L.

The MC68HC11 is one of the most popular microcontroller families in existence. Software simulators and development boards are routinely used in undergraduate education in order to familiarize students with MC68HC11 applications development. Simulators offer graphical user interfaces that allow students to visualize all the inner workings of the MC68HC11. Development boards provide all the necessary tools to write code for the MC68HC11 and to interface physical devices to the chip. Unfortunately, development boards used in academia (e.g., MC68HC11 EYE) rely on command-line driven interfaces that result in steep learning curves that must be overcome in the course of an academic quarter or semester. This situation has led many academic institutions to opt for the use of simulators rather than development boards in their courses. The problem with this approach is that software simulators do not allow students to experience the issues that arise in the software-hardware integration step of microcontroller-based system implementations. In order to address this situation, the authors have designed an integrated development environment (IDE) for MC68HC11 that uses a GUI to interact with a low-level development board debugger (Buffalo Monitor). The IDE seeks to improve on the drawbacks of the simulator and command-line interfaces by implementing an easy to use graphical user interface to the most common commands used by the students in a microprocessors course. This paper presents the design and implementation of the first prototype of this IDE. Also the paper presents the results of a preliminary evaluation of the IDE and plans for future extensions.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1999. FIE '99. 29th Annual  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

10-13 Nov. 1999