SAN FRANCISCO—Microchip Technology Inc. Monday (Feb. 15) announced a new cloud-based integrated development environment (IDE) for the company’s PIC microcontrollers. According to Microchip (Chandler, Ariz.), the free MPLAB Xpress cloud-based IDE is the easiest way for users to get started with PIC MCUs, requiring no downloads, sign-in or setup to start designing. It brings the most popular features of Microchip’s MPLAB X IDE to connected PCs, laptops and tablets, the company said. Features of MPLAB Xpress include: a library of Microchip-validated code examples, interface to MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC) 3.0 for GUI-based MCU peripheral setup and automatic code generation, integrated MPLAB XC compilers, support for programmer/debugger hardware, and 10 GB of secure online storage with a myMicrochip account. Microchip said cloud-based hardware development is supported by connecting any USB-enabled PC, laptop or tablet to tools such as the MPLAB Xpress evaluation board. This board features an integrated programmer, a PIC16F18855 MCU and a mikroBUS header for system expansion with MikroElektronika's more than 180 Click boards, the company said. The MPLAB Xpress IDE also supports Microchip's Curiosity Development Board, featuring integrated programmer and debugger as well as expansion options for add-on boards and connectivity. The online IDE can also be used with Microchip’s PICkit 3 in-circuit debugger/programmer, which provides programming and debugging capabilities for more than 1,000 PIC MCUs, Microchip said. "While it's always been easy to develop with PIC MCUs using the free MPLAB X IDE, the web-based MPLAB Xpress reduces the installation time to zero while enabling users to build an entire application within minutes," said Derek Carlson, Microchip's vice president of development tools, in a statement. "Users can open a browser, quickly generate code via the integrated MPLAB Code Configurator which integrates with MPLAB Xpress—a feature not available with any other cloud-based IDE—test that code with the included simulator, compile the code, then program and debug their target MCU." MPLAB Xpress can be accessed from Microchip’s website. A limited supply of free MPLAB Xpress evaluation boards are available here, or by visiting Microchip's booth at Embedded World.