Posted by: Claudio Carbone | 24 September 2011

Me and embedded ethernet (Microchip PIC32)

These days the embedded technologies have achieved very low prices and unbelievable capabilities.

With about 70€ you can take home a 32bit microcontroller with 512KB of flash rom (for program code) and 128KB of ram.
It pales in comparison with the lowest netbook, but we are talking a different scale here.
These things can almost be mounted by hand, interfaced with all sorts of things: infact they are at the heart of some of the Arduino boards.

Now this starter kit I got (see here for more info) got an ethernet adapter on board.

Pic32 Ethernet Starter Kit

Pic32 Ethernet Starter Kit

Which means that with comparably little effort you can have your embedded application go online.
Doesn’t look lime much when the average smartphone does the same and better, but when you see that you can do almost everything without ever getting an operating system around, it starts sounding different.

A word of advice though: these things are complex by themselves, and implementations are even more complex.
It took me the best part of today to get a demo to compile correctly on my computer and run on my hardware.
It was nowhere straightforward as I would have liked.

Path alignment is a nightmare, and the Demo is loaded with so many things that compile time averages 10 minutes.
But in the end I was greeted with the welcome page (a masterpiece of how NOT TO design a web page: it tears firefox down in minutes with all the dynamic ajax) and after another 30 minutes of fiddling I was able to enhance the site with a webpage of mine.

Embedded web server test page

Embedded web server test page


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