With a steady release train, NXP has released last week a new and updated version of their flagship IDE: the version 11.6.0 of the MCUXpresso IDE.
And there are several new and cool features with that release, including a power & energy profiler and CMake support.
The release includes updated build tools and debug probe libraries (CMSIS-DAP/Linkserver, SEGGER J-Link and P&E Multilink), plus a new Eclipse release.
The new release comes with bug fixes (see community post for details) but as well with new features.
The release is based on Eclipse 2021-12 (Eclipse Platform 4.22.0 / CDT 10.5.0). So this is not the latest (2022-06 just came out), so the ‘stable’ one. If you want to add more plugins, be sure to use the following Eclipse update site:
Something which seems small but makes a good visual impact: many of the ‘system’-like icons like for closing are now more aligned with the host OS (Windows, Linux/Mac):
Launch Configuration View
The new Launch Configuration view makes it easy to inspect and edit launch configurations, or running a debug session from it:
I can start a debug session, or terminate and relaunch a running session that way too.
Multiple Text Selection
A useful feature is the new ‘multiple text selection’: I can select with different ways multiple text or set the cursor at multiple locations (e.g. Click with ALT key pressed). For example below I click with ALT key pressed at the start of different lines and then type a single ‘//’ to add a line comment for each location:
I can now use optional divider lines with the #pragma mark: adding a ‘-‘ is used to add a line before and/or after the mark. The #pragma region is supported as well:
For the ‘Black Theme Lovers’: The ‘dark side‘ is now even darker: now the window title bar is following the color theme too:
Finally I can directly import and use Cmake projects. I can install it from the CDT Update site:
After that, I can import projects or folders and it recognizes CMake projects:
After that, I can use them like ‘normal’ projects.
Previously the timeout for GDB (suspended timeout) was hard-coded to 5 seconds. For remote targets on slow connections this has been an issue. Now the default is 10 seconds and can be configured:
Energy & Power Profiler
A very cool new feature added by NXP is the ‘Power Profiler’. There is a new menu inside the ‘Analysis’ one:
In combination with a power/energy measurement probe as the NXP MCU-Link Pro it gives me a power/energy profile of my application which is very useful. The feature requires a MCU-Link firmware v2.263 or later.
The view uses a combination of SWO profiling (PC sampling) and power measurement, both transmitted using the ARM SWO hardware/pin. It is currently only supported with the NXP debug probes (MCU-Link Pro) and requires SWO operational on the target. Keep an eye on the SWO data/error statistics: I have found that setting a higher SWO clock/speed might be necessary to keep up with the additional data on the SWO channel:
Zephyr RTOS Awareness
The IDE now supports Zephyr with gdb thread awareness plus a view for the Zephyr OS threads, similar to the FreeRTOS threads view:
Currently it is supported for the LinkServer debug connection only.
Editor Awareness Parsers
The IDE includes parsers (syntax coloring) for linker .map files, linker .ld files and linker .map files. Because this could slow down opening large linker files, it is possible now to disable these parsers:
All in all, a solid release with many useful features. I like the best the power and energy profiler, even if it is limited to targets with SWO and the MCU-Link Pro: it gives another angle and view how to optimize embedded applications for lower power and energy consumption. The direct CMake support is a great addition as well, as many new projects are switching from the classic make to the new CMake world.
Happy Xpressing 🙂
- NXP download site: https://www.nxp.com/mcuxpresso/ide/download
- Community: https://community.nxp.com/t5/MCUXpresso-IDE-Knowledge-Base/MCUXpresso-IDE-v11-6-0-Now-Available/ta-p/1490458
- Previous release: MCUXpresso IDE 11.5.1
- New MCU-Link Debug Probe from NXP
- Tutorial: Using GNU Profiling (gprof) with ARM Cortex-M