Conceptual Differences

Important conceptual differences between MPLAB® X IDE and Atmel Studio are highlighted below. Some differences are because of the different devices (e.g., PIC® MCUs vs AVR® MCUs) that each IDE supports.

Table: Concept Differences

Concept MPLABXIDE_Shield_small.png Atmel_Studio_small.png Notes
Make for debug / production Program Device for Debugging Main Project
Make all the files in the project and add a debug executive to the build image.
Remove previous build files and make all the files in the project. Add a debug executive to the built image.
Same compiler settings for Debug/Production
Developers may set compiler optimization to lower level when debugging, but Make/Build is the same.
Studio 7 has no such differentiation since a debug executive is not needed for debugging.
Debugging is supported through different means.
Configuration Bits / Fuses Configuration (Config) Bits
Have a default value on RESET.
SOFT recovery: Just reset the part if values don't work.
Config bit values in HEX file.
Independent of chip reset, default value from factory (available in datasheet).
HARD recovery: Fuse settings should be chosen with care.
Note: If an external clock source fails while used as CLK_MAIN source, only the WDT can provide a mechanism to switch back via System Reset.
Fuse values in ELF file.
Project/Solution Organizes development at a project level.
A project can be stand-alone or work with other projects.
Organizes development at a solution level.
A solution is comprised of a number of related projects.
Read Device ID / Signature

Device ID read automatically by hardware tool.

Click image to enlarge.

Verifying a kit connection in Studio 7 is often done by reading a device signature.

Click image to enlarge.
Communication Interface for PIC / AVR MCU ICSP communication between debug tool and target PIC device.
MPLAB REAL ICETM in-circuit emulator provides additional communications options for trace.
There are a number of communication interfaces for different families of AVR and SAM MCUs. N/A
Set/Clear Bit Values Clear bit: Bit value = 0
Set bit: Bit value = 1
Clear bit: Bit value = 1 N/A
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