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Strategic advice for MSP presentation


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Hi everyone,

I wanted some strategic advice from the Forum on an MSP event I'm organizing in Rome next week (everyone is invited, the link is at the end of the post). I'm trying to introduce the MSP hardware/software platform to an arduinocentric audience who is unaware of other - better in my opinion - options such as ours. For the hands-on part, I'm basically going to open up a sketch in Energia - which they will recognize as an "Arduino in red" - and then I want to migrate it into Code Composer Studio, in order to show them what a professional IDE is all about and what it offers.

My idea is to focus on two - of the many - reasons to make the move: debugging and low-power-oriented coding. I have very little time and the group is diverse in that it will include complete newbies all the way to engineers. I'm a bit stuck with my C mindset to come up with a proper minimal Energia sketch that is meaningful to view in the debugger and possibly in the disassembly view too. The other issue I've encountered is that, once imported and run in CCS, the sketch forks in a maze of Wiring self-generated derivatives and routines that are hard to follow for a beginner. Showing them the low power modes in the register view is also a possibility, but it's perhaps a bit too advanced as it requires mentioning interrupts and ISRs. Bottom line, it has to be as simple as it gets because my goal is to get the audience interested, not to teach them.

My initial idea was to show a modified Blink sketch with a couple of incrementing globals that can be tracked down in the debug view, both as expressions and in memory, but honestly it doesn't mean much to me.

I would really appreciate any feedback or input from the brilliant 43oh collective mind on more creative - and yet simple - ways to get the message through...

 

Link to free event (breakfast with organic pastries is offered) if you want to attend!

 

http://ow.ly/LK01A

 

Thanks

Stefano

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I would focus mainly on the Launchpad devices and the good integration Launchpad has with CCS.  IMO Launchpad is a much better tool for going from novice to professional than Arduino is.  That is something you can discuss.

 

You can also mention than MSP432 has familiar peripherals to MSP430, so going to ARM CM3/4 in the future is something the Launchpad/Energia community can do easily (and already has), whereas in Arduino-Land the transition to ARM never really happened.  It seems like Arduino-Land is stuck in 8 bit AVR forever.

 

Lastly, I have made many presentations to engineers.  I would say, over a hundred.  Be nice.  Nobody wants to hear that their chosen platform is dead and is a piece of junk, even if it is.  So you should acknowledge the strengths of Arduino, but then try to pick a few areas where Launchpad/Energia is just must better, and talk about them.

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jpnorair,

 

thanks for your great advice, I really appreciate your input.Code-wise  I've added some breakpoints on my simple modified Blink sketch and created a customized debug perspective in CCS, so that I can show how you step into the code. I've added an expression to watch, along with the view in memory, so I'm hopeful that they get interested in debugging...

 

Low power modes are a more complicated subject so I'll probably only mention them as opposed to delay cycles which are frequent in Arduino code...

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For Arduino users, moving to the LaunchPad is virtually painless and the LaunchPad uses the same IDE based on the same Wiring / Arduino framework and derived from the same Processing IDE. The name of the Wiring / Arduino compatible IDE is Energia.

 

Now, the cool thing is you can use this Wiring / Arduino framework with CCS. CCS is based on Eclipse and offers powerful tools, of which the debugger. There's also CCS Cloud which works very well, with everything online. See https://dev.ti.com

 

I wouldn't promote the plain MSP430G2 LaunchPad, but the MPS430F5529 and MSP432 instead, as they provide faster MCUs and more memory. The MSP432 is a Cortex-M4F MCU.

 

Now, I'm still using the MSP430G2553 in DIP20 form-factor for my smart sensors: very easy to use and to program. See smartColours, smartLED and smartMeter.

 

Last but not least, the LaunchPads are very affordable, around 13

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Low power modes are a more complicated subject so I'll probably only mention them as opposed to delay cycles which are frequent in Arduino code...

The normal Arduino and Energia libraries do nothing for low power modes, but this is changing fast with Energia-MT.  It is not complete yet, really, but it is the shape of things to come as far as Wiring is concerned.  With multi-threading, the RTOS can manage the low power mode of the MCU.

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Thank you Rei Vilo, Jpnorair and Spirilis,

 

in fact I'm probably demoing on the G2 (I think it's an awesome Launchpad for beginners) but I will also bring a Wolverine and a Tiva (I don't have a 432 yet) to show them. I agree that low-power is the future, but it does add a level of complexity and is hard to approach without mentioning at least interrupts and peripherals. The fact that Energia does take LPMs into account is a great step forward, at least for learning that they do exist. I will mention cloud development, although it kind of defeats my purpose of focusing on debugging, as it's not available (for now, at least) in that context. I believe that Energia MT is in fact the first really significant innovation since Wiring / Arduino was introduced, and it seems to me that it is rather a complete overhaul of the platform. I will definitely mention it and we'll see how it evolves on the MSP430 and in the Tiva.

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