nb-platform-screens.pngUpdate (12/20/11):

People are doing amazing things with the NetBeans RCP (Rich Client) Platform. Geertjan Wielenga just pointed me to two more cool uses, this time for embedded development.

First, Microchip Technology Inc. has built an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for their PIC MCU series, called MPLAB. It’s a feature-rich, fully integrated, end-to-end development environment for developing and testing applications for their range of 8, 16, and 32-bit microcontrollers.

It is built on NetBeans RCP and features a number of advanced functions such as building, deploying, and running/debugging MCU code with a single click, visualizing call graphs to understand complex code, seamless support for different MCU types, project and tool configurations, change tracking, code templates, and much more.

Read this interview with the lead developer, Vince Sheard, on all the features and why they chose NetBeans RCP as the base to build MPLAB on.

Second, coming more from a hobbyist angle, there are several options to program Atmel MCUs (basis of the extremely popular Arduino platform), including the Java-based Arduino IDE.

However, developer Ingmar Hendriks prefers using the NetBeans IDE with its C/C++ support to program Atmel MCUs directly. As Ingmar points out in this interview there are already several options to do that – but it would be great to leverage the flexible NetBeans plugin architecture and create a dedicated plugin which integrates the Atmel MCU tool chain into the NetBeans IDE. This would give developers a one-stop, integrated IDE experience for programming Arduino platforms.

Check out Ingmar’s proposal for creating such a plugin. Sounds like a great idea to me!


— Terrence