Design Environment

MPLAB® X IDE works in conjunction with an in-circuit debugger (programmer/debugger) and a target system which may consist of a demonstration board or your own hardware.

Code is developed on a PC in MPLAB® X IDE which is then built (compiled and/or assembled) and programmed onto the target board. The IDE is then used to issue commands to the target to run, stop, step through code, and so on while viewing the contents of registers and the state of the device. This enables you to see what your program is doing and how the hardware reacts at any step of your program's execution.

What You Need To Get Started

A Typical Development Setup

Most development setups consist of four main components:

  1. A computer running the MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment
  2. A C Compiler (unless you are programming in assembly since an assembler is included with the IDE)
  3. A programmer / debugger such as one of the following:
  4. A target board with your PIC® microcontroller of choice. This could be something like:
    • Your own hardware
    • A Microchip demonstration board
    • A third-party demonstration board
    • A breadboard

We'll look at the options listed above in more detail in subsequent pages.

Class Exercises

The hands-on exercises associated with this self-paced class are conducted using MPLAB® X IDE in conjunction with a special free version of the Proteus VSM Viewer which simulates the environment of an in-circuit debugger and an Explorer 16 demonstration board. Therefore, no hardware is required to complete the exercises.

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