While my friends at Parallax may
have arrived late to the open source
party, it's safe to say that they're fully
onboard and supporting it now. One
of the more exciting projects in the
Propeller world is a new open
source IDE for those of us that
prefer Spin over C.
You probably know by now that
there is a very nice cross-platform
IDE for Propeller GCC. I — among
many — asked if Spin could be
folded into this tool (SimpleIDE).
Well, it seemed like an innocent
request at the time, but the ultimate
implementation is not as clean as
Spin programmers would like; the
program was designed for the
project-oriented nature of C.
While involved in another
project, I asked — okay, cajoled —
Steve Denson into taking that other
project and turning it into a cross-platform, Spin-centric programming
tool — something that should
ultimately replace the Windows-only
Propeller Tool. That project was built
on a lot of the same code base as
SimpleIDE, so it seemed like a
In my view, Steve is one of the
heroes of the Propeller community.
It is through his efforts that really
great cross-platform tools are
becoming available for the
Propeller. To be fair, Steve works
with other great folks (in
particular, Roy Eltham and Dennis
Gately have been big
contributors) that are likewise
helping to create great new tools
for our favorite microcontroller.
When I made this twist-your-arm
request of Steve, he said that he
couldn't go it alone and then
invited others to participate with
him. This is the soul of open
It's still in progress, but
looking very good — and it may
well be in public release by the
time you're reading this. Figure 6
is a screenshot of the Propeller IDE
running under Windows. As with
SimpleIDE, this program uses the Qt
framework and will run on
Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Note the toolbar (which is still
missing in the Propeller Tool). It’s
handy for mousers like me. Note,
too, that the connection port to the
Propeller is on that toolbar so we
don't have to go looking for it. What
makes me happiest is the pane in
the lower left of the screen. This will
display the methods included in the
current object. I cannot count the
times I've had to open object files to
scan through the method names to
find what I need. Not any more.
They are right there on the screen.
Also in the works are features
we find in advanced editors like
hints and auto-completion. I really
appreciate the efforts by Steve and
the team for doing this. I love the
background colors in Propeller Tool,
but find other areas lacking — not
the least of which are variants for
other computer platforms.
If you've been holding off trying
Spin because you don't have a tool
for your favorite operating system,
it's time to file that excuse in the
trash bin and join the Propeller
Until next time, keep spinning
and winning with the Propeller! NV
66 May 2014
; FIGURE 6. Propeller IDE.
Use high speed USB and
4-bit SD card interfaces.
Access ;;;;;;;;;wo USB
drives and an SD card
Use SD-Reader Mode
allowing the ALFAT SoC
to act as an SD Card Reader.
Use UART, SPI or I;;;;;;;;;
Long File Name
With ALFAT SoC You Can
The ALFAT SoC is also available
as an OEM board.