PDS Documentation


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  1. #1
    jom
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    Default PDS Documentation

    OK, I'm going to go ahead and post this question basically because I'm frustrated with the documentation for Proton. I'd like to know why there doesn't seem to be any documents that describe all the files in the PDS directory (or at least some). Which includes:

    1) What are .def files?
    2) Loader_Hex directory. What does the Bootload.exe app do? Term.exe app?
    3) What are .ppi files?
    4) What are the files in the Sources directory including .inc .ext and .int files

    For instance there are a ton of .inc files, many I'm sure I could use but I haven't a clue what is used for what. I suppose I could look through EACH of these but what can't this be in the documentation? What's all this stuff for?

    jom

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  • #2
    Prolific Poster hadv215's Avatar
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Term.exe is a stand-alone windows terminal program that enables you to communicate with a PIC that uses the UART. But you could use the built-in serial communicator instead.
    Most of the other 'stuff' is used by the compiler.
    .PPI files are used by the compiler to inform it of the characteristiscs of a specific device. Not very interesting to read, but very necessary.
    .DEF files tell the compiler about the SFR's (and some more) for each device, they too are used by the compiler (at least, I presume). Again, not of interest for the programmer.
    .INC files are include files, indeed there's a lot of them, each for a specific function. Many of them contain macro's that you can use in your programs. Just look at the name to find out what they are about. ADC.inc for example contains macro's to handle the AD convertor. But you don't really need this one because ADin will do the trick. Timerx.inc however is much more interesting because it contains macro's that will help you to program the timers. And that's something some of us really like, but is not standard functionality of Proton.
    .EXT and .INT are for Proton/Proteus boards. If you don't use them just forget about them.
    Loader_hex: these are bootloaders. Again, if you don't use a bootloader just ignore them. If you want to use a bootloader, find the device and the oscillator frequency. If you don't know diddley about bootloaders...forget them.

    Most of the time you don't have to bother with these files, although especially the .inc files may be of great help because they contain functionality that may come in very handy writing your programs. I personally do not use them, but that's because I started programming PIC's in assembler and, therefore, am a datasheet reader.
    But if you would like to do, say, some timer0 programming, just look at the great macro's that are supplied by Les.

    Yes, I agree. The documentation on these files is non-existent (and for many of the .inc files that's a darn pity) & I understand your frustration. But if you would have taken some time to investigate the various types of files you might have figured out yourself. Sorry to say so, but to me using a tool is finding out what it's all about (hell, I even read the source files that are used by Delphi if I want to know how a specific feature is implemented).

    I think that Les is selling himself short by not telling us about the wonderful features in especially the .inc files.

    harm

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  • #3
    Prolific Poster John Drew's Avatar
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Harm,
    How about knocking up a summary for the Wiki. Would be useful for a lot of us.
    Cheers
    John

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  • #4
    jom
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Quote Originally Posted by hadv215 View Post
    Yes, I agree. The documentation on these files is non-existent (and for many of the .inc files that's a darn pity) & I understand your frustration. But if you would have taken some time to investigate the various types of files you might have figured out yourself. Sorry to say so, but to me using a tool is finding out what it's all about (hell, I even read the source files that are used by Delphi if I want to know how a specific feature is implemented).
    Well, I have taken some time and far too much IMO. There are a ton of .inc files and examples but no documentation on any of it. The files names aren't as much help as one might think. I agree you learn by doing but you eventually end up with errors. When you try to find where the errors come from you're never sure if it's something you've missed in the PIC itself (ie datasheet kind of things) OR if it's from not having the compiler documentation. It's "spinning your wheels" at its finest. It is VERY frustrating and in my opinion not acceptable. Especially, if you are new to the language.

    I think that Les is selling himself short by not telling us about the wonderful features in especially the .inc files.
    I'm not entirely sure who Les is but if he wrote the compiler then, yes, he is selling quite a bit short.

    jom

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  • #5
    Prolific Poster hadv215's Avatar
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    @John. Maybe I'll do that after I finish my complex/multifile Proton Project Analyser. That one is taking quite some time.
    @jom: Yes, that's Les. Maybe it's a small comfort, but up to now I haven't needed any of the files in these directories (except Term.exe) because everything I do can be done with the standard set of commands.

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  • #6
    Senior Member barak's Avatar
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Jom,
    I followed some of your threads. You can save yourself a lot of frustration if you relax a bit and lower your expectations for having everything documented and explained systematically. I doubt if other compilers/IDEs have anything better. Years ago, I realized people in this industry are so smart they think everyone else can just figure it out from the thin air, so I lowered my expectations and always brace myself to a long and tedious process of reading manuals, specs and searching the forums for solutions.
    Over the years, I've used compilers from Microsoft (no documentation at all), IAR, Keil and Microchip, costing houndreads or thousands of dollars, all have cryptic documentation at best. They all expect you to "figure it out on your own". Also, in C compilers, they assume you already have general knowledge of the standard language. I've never seen a compiler manual that explains sample code or the files structures.
    In my opinion the documentation in Proton is great when it comes to the commands and use of the compiler. You just need to spend time reading it.
    I don't believe the manual professes to cover samples, libraries, etc. That is where the forum comes into play.
    Though it may be frustrating to try and understand stuff on your own or via searches and forums, it will pay big dividend later.

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  • #7
    jom
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Barak:Yeah, I know, I'm just whining. I guess I expected, at the very least, a reasonable User Guide to the compiler which I guess it is even though I've found a number of calls in the Protected Words area that aren't even mentioned in the Guide. Such as a few interrupt commands...but whatever.

    I do disagree a bit on other software packages. I find Mikroe Basic has some nice info about their examples. I can translate to PDS's less structured format to use them...that might be a good "project" to get to learn the compiler....

    jom

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  • #8
    jamachine
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Hey Jom,

    I don't know if this is a hobby for you,or what you expect or want.But as Barak said calm down and take your time.If you want to learn more about the compiler and start from the beginning,look at the Amicus18 stuff lots more of the starting type projects in that and it will lead you through it.Along with that it is the same basic as proton unlike mikroe and their commands and all of their private libraries that are different.The path you are on is not easy and it is long.Start with small projects,using the code and modifying it to see what it does it will teach you how it all works.I am guessing you are starting out, looking for the best way, you found it,Proton and Amicus.I tried Mikroe too looking for the fastest way to learn this,after starting with Proton and going to Mikroe their basic seamed so backwards to me.So goto http://www.myamicus.co.uk/ download the compiler and go look at those and see if that is more helpful.


    Stan

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  • #9
    jom
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Thanks Stan

    It's not exactly a "hobby". I'm just trying to expand my knowledge. I'm an analog RF electrical engineer but over the years haven't done that much programming. I got into the PIC with a project I was doing a few years ago and felt it was a good time to start. Up to this point I've really only done PIC assembly but only VERY small little projects and side things. I was told to use "C" but I just absolutely HATE the language. I thought assembly got you right down into it but it was a chore. Believe it or not I liked Assembly far more than "C"...can't stand it. lol

    However, over the years I got used to Basic...specifically Visual Basic. Doing programs within MS Excel and Access. Then I wrote a Windows program and used Visual Basic Studio and I felt comfortable using it. So when I heard about the Mikroe EasyPIC development board I figured that's a good way to learn PICs using all the "bells and whistles". I wanted to try a compiled language (other than "C") so his led me to PDS on advice from friend. So here I am....

    I do have a question since you mentioned it....actually couple:

    What is "Amicus18" exactly? Also what is Proteus? Does this relate to Crownhill or is it some separate entity or 3rd party?

    Thanks

    jom

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  • #10
    Prolific Poster pic-ignorant's Avatar
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Amicus18 is a single pic compiler for an Arduino-like development board that Crownhill sell.
    Proteus is a rather expensive simulator.

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  • #11
    Prolific Poster RGV250's Avatar
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Hi Jom,
    Proteus (ISIS) is a simulator and can be quite useful for debugging routines, you can single step through your code to see where it branches etc or just run as normal, there are several free boards that are supplied with PDS, if you "compile and program" you will see the options (18F452, 16F877 and 12F?). I have the full version which as John says is quite expensive but I still use the free one for a quick test, you just have to think a little outside the box sometimes, IE if you require a GLCD and say a pushbutton you can use a keypad to do it. Also you could use terminal to send serial commands etc and add serial output to the terminal screen for debugging info. The full version gives you the ability to design your own boards so are a lot less restrictive.

    Regards,
    Bob
    Last edited by RGV250; 11th July 2012 at 08:26.

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  • #12
    wastrix
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Proteus is a product made by Labcenter, which is separate from Crownhill. However, the Proton Development Suite does include a cut-down demo version of Proteus which can be accessed through the IDE by pressing F12.

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  • #13
    canipus
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Quote Originally Posted by jom View Post
    Thanks Stan



    However, over the years I got used to Basic...specifically Visual Basic. Doing programs within MS Excel and Access. Then I wrote a Windows program and used Visual Basic Studio and I felt comfortable using it.

    jom
    I'd be interested to know when you started with Windows programming on Visual Basic whether you had any particular book/tutorial/guide? It's on my list of things to do but other than getting the software not sure where to start on that. There's so many books on the market and the reviews are not always reliable so any tips you've got on that score would be appreciated.

    canipus

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  • #14
    jom
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Quote Originally Posted by RGV250 View Post
    Hi Jom,
    Proteus (ISIS) is a simulator and can be quite useful for debugging routines, you can single step through your code to see where it branches etc or just run as normal, there are several free boards that are supplied with PDS, if you "compile and program" you will see the options (18F452, 16F877 and 12F?). I have the full version which as John says is quite expensive but I still use the free one for a quick test, you just have to think a little outside the box sometimes, IE if you require a GLCD and say a pushbutton you can use a keypad to do it. Also you could use terminal to send serial commands etc and add serial output to the terminal screen for debugging info. The full version gives you the ability to design your own boards so are a lot less restrictive.

    Regards,
    Bob
    I'm not all that familiar with simulators. I've really only used the ones in Microchip IDEs. They have one that is software based (I think that is the correct term) and there is what I call the "hockey puck" which I think is call ICE or ICD2 or some such. I think the puck will work with my EasyPICv7 but I haven't tried it. Is the simulator you mention step through the Basic code or does it step through the Assembled version? That might not be the right question to ask but I haven't gotten far enough with PDS even to think about debug/sim so I might not be stating that correctly.

    EDIT: I now found the simulator in PDS and I was completely off base. I thought you meant it was a debugger that stepped through code ONLY. It is actually a circuit simulator of sorts....wow I didn't see that coming. Which is odd since I use circuit sims all of the time but within the context of PICs I hadn't thought of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by canipus View Post
    I'd be interested to know when you started with Windows programming on Visual Basic whether you had any particular book/tutorial/guide? It's on my list of things to do but other than getting the software not sure where to start on that. There's so many books on the market and the reviews are not always reliable so any tips you've got on that score would be appreciated.

    canipus
    There are TOO MANY books on the subject...which I suppose is a good thing. I started with VB using the VB for Applications (VBA) that is used within MS Office. Specifically MS Access. I later used it in MS Excel because I needed to enhance a spreadsheet I had for radio design (noise, IMD bla bla bla) and the standard 2 dimension columns wouldn't work. Visual Basic Studio is pretty much has the same syntax.

    I'd look at the Murach series of books. http://www.murach.com/books/vb10/index.htm

    One thing I do know don't try to use MS "help" files...they are useless as any search you in the help window is bound to be something completely opposite of what you are looking for. lol

    jom
    Last edited by jom; 11th July 2012 at 18:11.

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  • #15
    jamachine
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    Default Re: PDS Documentation

    Jom,
    You will love the Amicus,it has a whole lot more starting projects than Proton does.Go download the compiler and check it out I wish it was around when I started.This is just a hobby for me, so I go down the road with I will learn it as I need it, go to Newark and order 79R5807 ,79R5806 then go to Jameco and order 20601 you will be set.And ISIS is exspensive I think for the 18f series it was like 495.00 and 75.00 a year to maintain,well worth it too.Now well worth it as long as the wife never saw the invoice HEHE.

    Stan

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