Quickly Turning Ideas into Microcontroller-Based Applications

Over the last 30 years, microcontrollers, often referred to as microcontroller units (MCUs) have become a pervasive part of our daily lives. Every day, MCUs find their way into new applications, ranging from remote car door controllers in a key ring to smart credit cards, engine control units and automatic braking systems (ABS) control units.

Whether small or large, MCU-based applications development requires the same software engineering process as other architectures. After product management or marketing has defined the requirements for a new product, engineers develop a plan to create—in the given time to market window—the product that will meet the given specifications. The plan, often called a statement of work (SOW), describes all the features the product will have, the resources assigned to the project, the time lines and deliverables, as well as what the team may need and the potential risks in the project. This usually comprehensive document does not always accurately take into account the amount of time that the engineering team needs to fully understand the MCU, as well as the time required to get the best performance out of the MCU chosen for the project. This piece of information, which is often difficult to appreciate and quantify, may end up being the critical determining factor in the success of the project and its timely release to a very competitive market.

Freescale Semiconductor's MCUs are at the heart of countless applications, and to help designers maintain a competitive advantage, CodeWarrior development tools supporting these MCUs are now integrated with Processor Expert, providing engineers with an integrated development environment (IDE) for design, implementation, verification and optimization of embedded microcontroller-based applications. This highly productive combination allows for efficient use of the MCU and its peripherals, enabling building of portable solutions and saving development time and cost. Initially introduced for the 68HC08 family, this combined package will soon also be released for the other microcontroller families such as 68HC12 and others.

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