What’s new in Flowcode 7?

Flowcode 7 delivers a smarter programming tool for engineers no matter what their stage of microcontroller development understanding or capability.

Launching this summer, Flowcode 7 will present a number of exciting new features to provide you with the perfect system development IDE for programming your Microchip, Atmel, Arduino and ARM projects on 8, 16 and 32 bit MCU’s.

Whilst a free version will be available to download for development of simple designs for use in a non-commercial environment, Flowcode will also include a number of additional features. Licensing of Flowcode 7 from Matrix will be modular meaning you only purchase the licence features you require.

In this article, we look in more depth at some of the new features in the latest version.

Improved user interface

One of the core features that has been updated in Flowcode 7 is the look and usability of the software. The old, grey style of Flowcode versions gone by has all but gone and is replaced by a modern looking, darker user interface which can be switched with a lighter interface within the options menu. The Flowcode developers have focused on improving the navigability and usability of the Flowcode environment, meaning anyone familiar with previous versions will be pleased with the new IDE.

Further user interface improvements with version 7 include the introduction of a ‘welcome screen’ which displays a range of useful ‘help’ guides and tutorials for users as well as special offers and more.

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What’s more, for version 7, users can also customise their projects with colour coded sections, to make complex projects easier to navigate.

Find out more about the user interface in our recent article; “Microcontroller programming made easy with a modern new look”.

Code profiling

Code profiling is a new feature that will be launched for the first time in Flowcode 7. This feature shows when icons have been ‘hit’ during a simulation run, highlighting sections of code that may be deemed redundant and other parts which are executed more often and may need optimising to improve program efficiency.

This gives engineers a perfect way to find out where there may be errors in their project or where problems may be occurring within their design. The image below outlines how this works.

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Oscilloscope and data recorder

A new and improved oscilloscope will be launched in Flowcode 7 which will include triggering. This will make Ghost technology on Matrix hardware easier and quicker than ever before. The existing data scope is still there but has now been renamed the data recorder. We hope these features will help revolutionise the capabilities of all users, from learning programming to developing products.

Ghost Technology is an advanced way of testing and debugging your electronic system. Using Matrix’s E-blocks hardware (EB006v9 and EB091, PIC and dsPIC multi-programmer boards), you can monitor every pin on your microcontroller and monitor and interpret serial data inputs and outputs.

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New components

In total, Flowcode 7 will contain 245 components that can be used to create a wide range of electrical and electromechanical systems. These components can also be used as a basis for creating your own components or simulations.

A number of the components contain in version 7 will be new to users. These include a number of data injectors for GPS, Can, Human Interface and many more; a number of popular new displays and sensors; new MIAC units for the forthcoming new range of Matrix MIAC PLC’s and more.

A full range of components will be available to view in the Flowcode 7 datasheet upon release this summer.

New device support

32 bit PIC devices

New for version 7 is Flowcode’s ability to support the PIC32 range from Microchip. The PIC32 family delivers 32bit performance and more memory to solve increasing complex embedded system design challenges. Amongst the 32 bit PIC target devices supported in version 7 is the chipKIT platform from Microchip which has been inspired by Arduino: http://chipkit.net/. For a detailed list of 32 bit devices supported in version 7 of Flowcode, you can check out the datasheet upon release at www.matrixtsl.com/flowcode.

Microchip development board templates

Another new feature of Flowcode 7 is the inclusion of templates for a number of popular Microchip development boards. Working hand in hand with Microchip, we have visually represented a number of development boards from the popular microcontroller manufacturer. These include the Curiosity development board, the Xpress and more. This new feature gives new users – or indeed users of the Microchip hardware supported – a quick and easy way of developing their microcontroller projects which is extremely beneficial to new users or those starting out on their microcontroller journey. Flowcode template files also come preconfigured for downloading to hardware, so any registers, compiler and programmer settings and other options are already set.

You can find out more about Microchip templates in the article here: “Easy programming for Microchip hardware”.

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Microchip XC compilers

One of the most impressive developments in Flowcode 7 is that for the first time, Flowcode will include Microchip’s XC compilers in version 7.

For those familiar with previous versions of Flowcode, this will improve the speed at which 8bit PIC devices compile by more than ten times compared to previous versions of the software.

Flowcode 7 will launch this summer. The free version and paid-for modular licencing versions will be available from www.matrixtsl.com/flowcode from July. Further details will be announced in the weeks ahead.

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