[amsat-bb] Re: Programming language recommendation?

Bruce Robertson ve9qrp at gmail.com
Sun Oct 5 19:07:38 PDT 2008

I appreciate Gordon's expert opinion below. If you'd like something
that is very, very simple to work with in order to  explore the world
of PIC programming, you should also consider the picaxe line of
products. These  comprise PIC chips with a basic interpreter on
board. The wiring for the programmer is very simple, and the toolchain
is easy because it removes the compiling stage.

While I'm trying to  move on to the atmel line, using this inexpensive

I still find the picaxe chips  dead  handy for all sorts  of little
jobs because so much is built into them.

As  for computer programming, I would encourage someone returning to
this  practice to consider adding one of the cross-platform scripting
languages to his or her arsenal. Ruby and Python are both good

73, Bruce

On Sun, Oct 5, 2008 at 7:18 AM, Gordon JC Pearce MM3YEQ
<gordonjcp at gjcp.net> wrote:
> JW wrote:
>> Along the same line: anyone on here doing PIC programming or know of a
>> list for beginners? From CW keyers to Antenna control units and
>> everything in between it looks like it would be fun to program some
>> gadgets for around the shack...
> Without lighting up a PIC/AVR flamewar, I've pretty much entirely moved
> from PIC to AVR.  The hardware is generally two to four times faster for
> the same clock rate (gets more done per cycle) and is easier to program
> - you can make up an AVR programmer for the parallel port that's
> basically three resistors!
> Furthermore, the toolchain is much better for AVR - Microchip are only
> interested in pushing their frankly dreadful Windows-only MPLAB
> software, while Atmel actively contribute to avr-gcc, a cross-platform
> toolchain based on the industry standard gcc.  The whole AVR community
> seems a lot better than the PIC one, and I say that as a long-standing
> user of PIC microcontrollers.
> In short, PIC is great, but the community isn't as strong and the tools
> are rubbish.  On the other hand, Microchip are always more than happy to
>  sample parts and their customer support is *excellent*.
> AVR is technically superior in pretty much every way, with an excellent
> community.  Unfortunately Atmel's tech support are a dour bunch who are
> often hard to get good information out of, and not great at sending samples.
> I haven't tried the ARM-based AVRs or the MIPS-based PICs yet, though.
> Those might be something to tempt me back to Microchip, if MIPS is as
> good as I remember it ;-)
> Gordon
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