CodeWarrior meets Eclipse, download Beta now

Having used Eclipse for some years I was relieved to hear that Freescale was merging CodeWarrior with Eclipse. Finally, a Freescale IDE for grown-ups!

To me, Freescale's CodeWarrior IDE for microcontrollers always looked a little outdated. The drab color scheme, the quaint icons, and the tiny window for error messages gave a less than sophisticated impression.
Don’t get me wrong; you could edit and build source code quickly, and to program your microcontroller target was a no-brainer. Single-stepping your target was equally easy, so in essence CodeWarrior IDE did exactly what it promised. But just like other microcontroller IDEs I’ve used, CodeWarrior felt confined.

So how does the Eclipse-based Beta version do? Here are some of my initial observations:
  • Yes!! It looks and feels like Eclipse!
    To someone who’s never tried Eclipse before the concepts of views, perspectives, launch configurations, etc. may be confusing at first. But this flexibility comes at a modest prize: Spend some time in the IDE, and the initial frustration will melt away.
  • Importing  your existing CodeWarrior projects into CodeWarrior for MCU v10.0 is a breeze, just start the Import Wizard from File | Import …. and browse to the CodeWarrior Project file (*.mcp).
  • Where the difference between previous versions of CW and the Eclipse-based version becomes very obvious, is when you attempt to program the microcontroller’s flash for the first time. Where you before could simply click an icon, you now have to create a launch configuration. (Freescale’s site has a nice little video showing you how to get this right the first time, don't worry).
    Once over this hurdle, programming your target’s flash is only a couple of mouse clicks away.
  •  I had the DEMO9S08QD4 demo board from P+E Micro lying around, and after plugging it into the USB port, CodeWarrior updated the demo board’s firmware. Not sure if this was really required, but it doesn’t matter, because the board still works fine under the previous CW version.
  • Yes, CodeWarrior is now available for Linux! But there is a major snag: You need to compile the USB driver for your programmer/development board.......! Linux header files, gcc and the whole shebang! This is just not acceptable, and has to become easier in the official release.
Thumbs up, Freescale.

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