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The best and worst microcontroller software development kits

Interrupt looks at the Best and Worst MCU SDKs: 10 are reviewed and ranked against each other:

In 2020, an MCU is much more than a hunk of silicon. Indeed, it comes with a whole ecosystem including a BSP, integrated third-party libraries, tooling, field application support, and more.

As firmware engineers, we are often handed down an MCU selection as a fait accompli. Cost concerns, peripheral, or pinout requirements often take precedent over the SDK.

Yet we are allowed to have an opinion. So here for you today is my first post in a new “comparing MCU SDKs” series.

In this post, I download SDKs for 10 popular Cortex-M4 microcontrollers, and evaluate how straightforward it is to get a simple example compiling. I include some step by step instructions to get started, a rating out of 10, and a few comments.

The ten chosen are:

  • Nordic Semi nRF5-SDK – 10/10
  • Texas Instruments TivaWare – 9/10
  • NXP MCUXpresso – 9/10
  • STM32 Cube – 8/10
  • Atmel START for SAMD – 7/10
  • Silabs Simplicity Studio – 5/10
  • Infineon XMC4000, Renesas RA4 3/10
  • Cypress PSoC Creator, Maxim DARWIN 0/10

See the detailed comparisons in the article here.


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