New Basic Stamp Editor Assembler and C Feasibility

microcontrollerusermicrocontrolleruser Posts: 442
edited October 11 in BASIC Stamp Vote Up0Vote Down
I will be as delicate as possible. If someone else wants to say the 'P' word go ahead.

One of Parallax's competitor's has assembler for their PIC based Basic language teaching system.

You just change the settings in their editor and away you go. It's now an assembler editor.

So we see it is quite doable.

With Parallax's deep PIC experience it would be like 'falling off a log' for them to add assembler and C to their

Basic Stamp editor.


PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!
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Comments

  • 42 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • Parallax has less than ZERO interest in providing compilers for competitive chips.

    What you seem to be missing is that the BASIC Stamp runs an interpreter that is pre-programmed (OTP) into the PIC. The BASIC Stamp editor compiles to byte code that is run by the onboard interpreter -- it's not assembly. They poured their (well, Chip's) PIC expertise into creating a tiny interpreter for the PIC and creating byte codes that run on it.

    The Propeller was created to get away from the mania that is other chip vendors pushing around a small company like Parallax. Why not learn the Propeller? It's a great tool (among many) that would be good for your kit. If you're absolutely intent on exclusively using PICs, there are myriad sources of information and tool chains for you to do what you want to do. They just don't exist at Parallax.

    Scott Edwards once wrote a book on PIC assembly that illustrates routines that duplicate what the BASIC Stamp does. But that was way back in 1995, I think, and the PIC variants the book targeted may not even be available today. Look for it, though, it's interesting. I have the first copy -- Scott signed it for me.
    Jon McPhalen
      *It's "Jon" or "JonnyMac" -- please don't call me "Jonny"
  • microcontrollerusermicrocontrolleruser Posts: 442
    edited October 10 Vote Up0Vote Down
    'Scott Edwards once wrote a book on PIC assembly that illustrates routines that duplicate what the BASIC Stamp does. But that was way back in 1995, I think, and the PIC variants the book targeted may not even be available today. Look for it, though, it's interesting. I have the first copy -- Scott signed it for me'

    Looks like Parallax painted themselves into a corner with the interpreter.

    Basic Atom compiled and had assembler with the IDE. So does the 'unnamed education competitor'.

    If Parallax has a new 'triple play' IDE. Basic Assembler and C they will stand alone.

    Scott Edwards? I have something of his bookmarked. Yes. I will look for that book you're talking about.

    EDIT Yes. Will take a look at Propellor. Basic Assembler and C. It better work in single processor mode!:)

    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!

  • The PIC Source Book?

    Programming and Customizing the Basic Stamp?

    I will get both of them anyhow. Been meaning to get 'Programming and Customizing' Stamp.

    Have propellor one from Parallax.



    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!
  • ....
    With Parallax's deep PIC experience it would be like 'falling off a log' for them to add assembler and C to their Basic Stamp editor.
    Actually, no....
    The editor is not the problem, it is the hardware itself.
    The PIC16F57 has a very small 2K words of Program Memory & 72 bytes of SRAM
    That's bad enough, but the device also has a Vpp pin, needing 12V to program.

    That's enough to kill stone dead, any idea of writing code to 'simply download and run' inside the PIC16F57.

    There are much better parts to choose, as an ASM/C Debug MCU platform today, than the ancient PIC16F57.

    eg for a similar price, (sub $1 in modest volumes) you can buy an EFM8LB1, which gives you 14b ADC and 12b DAC, a bootloader, and ASM/C support all out of the box.

    or, you might choose to spend a little more, and get a MCU like the NUC505, that has Bootloader, HS-USB, and a Cortex M4 core, with 128k RAM.

  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 5,801
    edited October 10 Vote Up0Vote Down
    If Parallax has a new 'triple play' IDE. Basic Assembler and C they will stand alone.
    Don't count on that happening.

    Still, the Propeller can in fact be programmed in Spin [native], Assembly [native], BASIC, C, and Forth -- and people are doing real (commercial) work with these tools. To expect these within a single editor may be asking too much.

    I'm quite happy to write in Spin and PASM (and a significant chunk of my living comes from doing that), and I can use a few editors to do that work. I tend to stick to Propeller Tool (it has a better basic editor control), with compilation in PropellerIDE or BST.
    Jon McPhalen
      *It's "Jon" or "JonnyMac" -- please don't call me "Jonny"
  • "like 'falling off a log' for them to add assembler and C to their Basic Stamp editor"

    Actually, no....
    As jmg mentioned, the PIC16F57 is very limited in memory. Neither assembler nor C makes much sense for the average user. Even assembler doesn't make much sense in that it takes a lot of experience and skill to code any project of significance for that limited space.

    For a variety of reasons, Parallax moved to the SX series which could be programmed easily in assembler and a subset of Basic (in addition to an extended PBasic). After Scenix got in a legal battle with Microchip (and lost), Parallax developed and adopted the Propeller which can be programmed in assembler, C, Spin, Forth, Basic, etc.

    There's no benefit to Parallax to provide any development resources for any devices other than the Propellers. JonnyMac's EFX still uses the BS1 and BS2 and Parallax will sell you a selection of boards, modules, and OEM chips as long as supplies last (and demand justifies carrying). You can even still buy SX48 chips and SX-Keys as long as supplies last and program them in assembler and a subset of Basic.

    Keep in mind that there are huge support costs for any "new" chip and its assembly language. There's some commonality among C implementations, but not as much as you might think, particularly in the microcontroller world.

  • 'After Scenix got in a legal battle with Microchip (and lost),'

    That explains a lot.

    Still no need for Parallax to 'Pick up there marbles and go home.'

    That's one thing you learn quick in Southern California.

    It's business. You are not friends.


    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!

  • 'The editor is not the problem, it is the hardware itself.'

    I think it goes without saying to upgrade the chip while you're at it.

    Okay. Now Parallax would have a IDE to program in Assembler PBasic and C.

    Keep in mind they wrote their own PIC Assembler compiler.

    They could even include Spin and Javelin. Pretty sure there was a Spin stamp. It might have been a propellor in stamp module

    package though.

    Have not worked out the Basic Stamp 1 and 2 pin compatibility angle or whether you could use editor to program

    Stamp 2's.Backward compatible.

    Almost forgot. Make it compile please.

    That reminds me. Has Parallax painted themselves into a corner on that too.

    A compiler that programs in PBasic. Sounds familiar. Don't make me say another 'P' word!

    Could Parallax even make a PIC PBasic compiler legally?




    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!
  • jmgjmg Posts: 10,482
    edited October 10 Vote Up0Vote Down
    'The editor is not the problem, it is the hardware itself.'

    I think it goes without saying to upgrade the chip while you're at it.

    Only you did not actually say that in your first post, you mentioned only editor changes.

    Quite a few "upgrade the chip while you're at it" candidates out there, depending on how large a leap you wanted...

    Keeping 5V to be compatible, possible 32b Cortex M4 choices are :

    USB:
    Nuvoton: M452LG6AE 72MHz 256kF 32kR, FS-USB included, $1.96/1k
    Nuvoton: NUC442RG8AE 84MHz, 256kF 64kR, HS-USB, $3.30/1k
    NXP: MKE14F256VLH16 168MHz, 256kF 32kR No USB $1.99/10k
    Cypress: MB9BF566KPMC-G-JNE2 160MHz, 512kF, 64kR, FS-USB, $3.35/1k

    BLE: CY8C4247FNI-BL493T 48MHz, 128kF, 16kR, BLE, $4.15/2k


    or, 8 bit, sub $1 parts are simpler to learn, and have a strong place in education....

    EFM8UB1/2/3 - USB included, 5V tolerant
    STC8F, STC8A series, USB bootloader, SW based, 5V operation.

    .....

    Have not worked out the Basic Stamp 1 and 2 pin compatibility angle or whether you could use editor to program
    Stamp 2's.Backward compatible.

    If you really want true 'pin compatibility ', your target MCU needs to be 5V operating.
    Could Parallax even make a PIC PBasic compiler legally?

    Of course, but I'm not sure anyone would bother with PIC16 PBasic compilers in 2017.

    Parallax have their hands full with P2, and P1 FLiP, which is quite close to a Stamp module like DIP form factor. (but not 5V tolerant)

    They certainly will do a P2 module, and may even do one with 5V level translators.
  • microcontrolleruser,

    The Javelin used Java.
    The SpinStamp was a Propeller modularized as a 24-pin DIP, just like a BS2.
    Both are long gone.

    Parallax also made a number of industrial controllers/boards such as the Stamp PLC.
  • microcontrollerusermicrocontrolleruser Posts: 442
    edited October 11 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Took another look at the competitor's IDE.

    It has a simulator. That is in line with PIC compiler and others.

    Okay. So Parallax should add simulation to their new Stamp Editor.

    'Parallax also made a number of industrial controllers/boards such as the Stamp PLC.'

    That reminds me to look for the Parallax logic kit on Ebay.

    EDIT

    My as well make new Parallax IDE multi chip. Simple 8 pin one, middle grade and Advanced chip.

    It is 'well within their capabilities' for Parallax to accomplish this.

    The Basic Stamp was 'king' in the hobby microcontroller world.

    It needs it's legacy to continue.


    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!
  • Mike GreenMike Green Posts: 22,518
    edited October 11 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Could Parallax even make a PIC PBasic compiler legally?

    It's been done by others, but you have to buy it ... and it's not quite PBasic, but close. I used an earlier version years ago.
  • Could Parallax even make a PIC PBasic compiler legally?
    The could, but I'm pretty certain they won't after Microchip dragged them into the SX lawsuit (Parallax won their side, but lawyers are expensive). If you want to program a Parallax product in BASIC, C, or Assembly, then you have the Propeller. You get Spin and Forth, too -- no extra charge!
    Jon McPhalen
      *It's "Jon" or "JonnyMac" -- please don't call me "Jonny"

  • Mike

    The compiler that you mention is what Parallax should do.

    Then extend it with more powerful PIC's.

    Add Assembler and C. Don't forget the simulator.

    Lots of people take first steps with simulator. It cuts out the programmer headaches.

    What other companies don't have is the 'Parallax way' of doing it.

    Guess you could call it 'Gradual Learning Curve'.

    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!
  • Mike

    The compiler that you mention is what Parallax should do.

    Then extend it with more powerful PIC's.

    Add Assembler and C. Don't forget the simulator.

    Lots of people take first steps with simulator. It cuts out the programmer headaches.

    What other companies don't have is the 'Parallax way' of doing it.

    Guess you could call it 'Gradual Learning Curve'.
    I don't think Parallax has any interest in providing tools for PIC development. As many others have already said, their focus is now on the Propeller and soon the Propeller2. If you want to see what they are doing recently, look at the FLIP module, BlocklyProp, and SimpleIDE. That is the only area you are likely to see ongoing development. It is pointless to continue suggesting that they go back to the PIC.

  • microcontrollerusermicrocontrolleruser Posts: 442
    edited October 11 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Jon

    Parallax needs to 'get over it' or 'close the door firmly on the past' regarding PIC's.

    Holding a grudge or being vindictive is negative energy. It drains instead of creating energy.

    They can leverage most of their experience with PIC's doing Propellor.

    They need to 'put the Stamp on steroids' also. PIC's is the direct route.

    'Once you learn one microcontroller it's easier to learn others'. Popular saying.

    Sidenote: Jon Anyway to serial program an SX?


    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!

  • Mr Betz

    ' providing tools for PIC development.'

    It's more than that. That sounds like just a duplicate of Microchip except for the Basic.

    Parallax adds matching lessons.

    I guarantee you current good lesson are badly needed in PIC world.

    'pointless to continue suggesting that they go back to the PIC.'

    What are experienced hobbyists supposed to do?

    Be a cheering section for Parallax if it is the right thing or the wrong thing?

    'We are measured not by what we achieve but what we attempt'

    'Your reach should exceed your grasp'

    Parallax is missing an opportunity here. There is an opening.Especially since Digilent scrapped their compiler.

    What I am suggesting can be patched together from other sources.

    Good example is like Jon said. Using SX with Assembler and Parallax Basic.

    Basic Stamp needs to be 'Supercharged'.






    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!
  • Basic Stamp needs to be 'Supercharged'.
    It has already been "supercharged". The supercharged BASIC Stamp is the Propeller FLIP and the supercharged PBasic is Spin.

  • Heater.Heater. Posts: 19,729
    edited October 11 Vote Up0Vote Down
    microcontrolleruser,
    With Parallax's deep PIC experience it would be like 'falling off a log' for them to add assembler and C to their Basic Stamp editor.
    Let me get this straight. The idea is for Parallax to spend a huge pile of time, effort and money on developing a C compiler for a chip that nobody uses and is really C unfriendly?

    There is a reason why there is an open source C/C++ compiler for the AVR devices (avr-gcc) and not the PIC. And hence the Arduino is AVR based not PIC.

    Oh, and the "P word". What you are suggesting means diverting dollars from a device that Parallax makes to a device made by some competitor. It's not just the compiler but all the support materials to go with it.

    This is 2017. We now have a ton of options, from the 8 bit Arduino to the 32 bit processors of the ESP8266 and ESP32, and Espruino and so on. And so on.

    It is perhaps time for you to grow beyond the PIC.
    It better work in single processor mode!:)
    Of course the Propeller works in "single processor mode" if you want. Makes no sense to me but quite doable.
    Still no need for Parallax to 'Pick up there marbles and go home.'
    Not sure what you mean there. Perhaps they just grew out of marbles and moved onto baseball.

    Edit: Yes, I know, there are C compilers for even the smallest PIC devices. It's crazy but I have seen them used in industrial settings. That is another world.






  • microcontrollerusermicrocontrolleruser Posts: 442
    edited October 11 Vote Up0Vote Down
    'Luke.It's the only way' 'Noooooooo'.

    There is another way.

    Start an open source project or one of those 'crowd funded' things to make a new Stamp.

    All interested parties please respond to Publison. I'm kidding! No.Don't bother him.

    Since it's a hobbyist thing. Hobbyist's can make it.


    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!
  • I guarantee you current good lesson are badly needed in PIC world.

    Than talk to Microchip !
    'pointless to continue suggesting that they go back to the PIC.'

    What are experienced hobbyists supposed to do?

    'PIC' means many things, it is merely a brand, there are a great many 'PIC's

    The PIC16F57, (Used in Stamp) is so ancient and lobotomized, those "experienced hobbyists" have long since moved onto something else, like Ardunio.

    Basic Stamp needs to be 'Supercharged'.
    Have you looked at Parallax FLiP ?

    The only real issue there, is the lack of 5V compatible pins.
    See my list above, of 5V operating parts that might be used where 5V IO matters. (eg PowerMOSFET direct drive, backward compatible use etc)
  • microcontrollerusermicrocontrolleruser Posts: 442
    edited October 11 Vote Up0Vote Down
    'Oh, and the "P word"'

    Just to be clear. The P word is Picaxe.

    Why have they been going full throttle with their PIC stamps (generic usage) and Parallax has tossed them aside?

    It is almost unfathomable how someone can see someone doing something and not catch on.

    'really C unfriendly?'

    PIC? I don't think so. They have BUILT chips to work with C.

    Why should Parallax build any chips?

    They can apply what they know to ready made PIC's and fill the need for HOW TO USE THEM.

    Parallax TEACHES. They can pass up the whole hardware development of devices and

    do a whole lot of good with HOW THEY TEACH.


    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!
  • microcontrolleruser,
    Since it's a hobbyist thing. Hobbyist's can make it.
    Yep.

    You are a hobbyist. Let's see what you can do.


  • 'Have you looked at Parallax FLiP ?'

    No.

    Is there more to it than just a Propellor in a breadboard friendly package?

    I am open minded.Wouldn't be much point in debating with somebody that is closeminded.

    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!
  • '
    All interested parties please respond to Publison.

    Let me set the record straight. I am not a Parallax employee. I am just a volunteer Moderator.

    Infernal Machine
  • This thread is really going nowhere and is a burden to the forum IMO. The Basic Stamp is what it is, no hardware or software upgrades. PIC is not a product Parallax needs to put any money into. There are bigger fish to fry.

    Sorry to be so crass, but this thread is going to be sunk unless someone from Parallax disagrees.
    Infernal Machine

  • 'Let's see what you can do.'

    Okay.

    Anybody that can tweek an existing compiler to support a higher PIC like 18F to support Basic commands

    please PM me.

    And wants to work on project for free.

    That would make it like PIC Basic. Okay. It will need more.

    I think there is a more efficient way to do this.

    Anybody that wants to collaborate on lessons to get started in PIC assembler please PM me.

    The problem is not with the compilers or the processors.

    It is with the lessons.

    I do have sample of how it should be done. It's a 'Learn x86 Assembler in One Hour'.

    It's on Petes QBasic page.

    Just apply that approach to PIC assembler and C.


    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!
  • microcontrolleruser,
    Is there more to it than just a Propellor in a breadboard friendly package?
    I would say that a Propeller in a breadboard friendly package is a wonderful thing.
    I am open minded.Wouldn't be much point in debating with somebody that is closeminded.
    Yes.

    At this point I have to ask. Never mind what chip or technology or company is supplying whatever.

    What actually is it that you want to do?

  • 'Have you looked at Parallax FLiP ?'

    No.

    Is there more to it than just a Propellor in a breadboard friendly package?

    I am open minded.Wouldn't be much point in debating with somebody that is closeminded.

    If you are open minded, you certainly should look very closely at FLiP.

    Your focus seems to be on software, so look into all the development languages FLiP can support.

    You will find (at least) Blocky, PropBASIC, Spin, C in various flavours, Forth in various flavours, and Assembler. Many with educational examples.

    Why not build on those, and improve them ?

    PropBASIC is Open Source, you could make that more compatible with PBasic, for example.

    Or, do a PBasic to PropBASIC translator ?

  • Here's the link for 'Learn Assembler in One Hour'.

    Here is the master website.

    http://www.petesqbsite.com/sections/tutorials/assembly.shtml

    Here is the lesson.

    http://www.petesqbsite.com/sections/tutorials/zines/qbtimes/1-asm.html

    'What actually is it that you want to do?'

    Looking for simplicity. Directness.




    PARALLAX SX BLITZ OR SX KEY WANTED!
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