Forums

Opinions on Rowley CrossWorks for ARM

Started by Sebastian Schildt October 30, 2006
Hello group,

I'd like to hear some opinions regarding the Rowley CrossWorks for ARM 
toolchain. I know, this is a somewhat broad request, so I'll try to 
clarify things a bit more:

I am in the process of evaluating ARM toolchains which are to be used in 
university classes/projects.

Wishlist
  1. stable, proven toolchain
  2. preferably something  "industry standard", so students use the 
tools which they might encounter in their future jobs
  3. Cheap :)

We just recently switched to ARM. We have experience with the (X)C166 
architecture using the Tasking Toolchain and Atmel AVR with WinAVR (GCC)

So far I tried out the the following ARM toolchains

IAR:
Had no problems with this one. I've come to the understandung, that this 
is THE toolchain for ARM Development? So certainly this fits 1 and 2 of 
the wishlist, but not exactly 3 ...

WinARM (free GCC)
I tried this and it worked somehow but feels a bit "hacky". AVRGCC 
distributions in contrast are way more polished. So for the time being I 
ruled this one out

ImageCraft
This worked pretty good, but as far as I could see there's no debugger 
included, which is a minus. Worse, the website, well, is very 
unprofessional and looks and reads as if it was created by a bunch of 
immature teenagers. I think I'll stay away from this. (I looked at 
http://www.imagecraft.com/. First I thought it is a fake or something 
but I couldn't find another page)


Rowley Crossworks
No Problems. Quite like IAR. Looks nice. I was quite impressed, and 
prices are very reasonable. From what I've seen this is a GCC variant 
for which Rowley provides the standard libs, device headers, IDE, etc?


Tasking
We already use this product for (X)C166. For ARM we want something else.

Keil
Haven't tried this one so far. Also quite welll known, at least for 8051 
I think.

So basically we're asking ourselves whether IAR or Rowley (and perhaps 
Keil?) is the "better" solution for us. "Everyone" seems to know IAR or 
Keil, while I haven't found that much about Rowley.

Any personal opinions regarding Rowley/IAR/Keil or pointers to 
Reviews/Benchmarks are greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading this far :)

Sebastian Schildt


Sebastian Schildt wrote:
> Hello group, > > I'd like to hear some opinions regarding the Rowley CrossWorks for ARM > toolchain. I know, this is a somewhat broad request, so I'll try to > clarify things a bit more: > > I am in the process of evaluating ARM toolchains which are to be used in > university classes/projects. > > Wishlist > 1. stable, proven toolchain > 2. preferably something "industry standard", so students use the > tools which they might encounter in their future jobs > 3. Cheap :) > > We just recently switched to ARM. We have experience with the (X)C166 > architecture using the Tasking Toolchain and Atmel AVR with WinAVR (GCC) > > So far I tried out the the following ARM toolchains > > IAR: > Had no problems with this one. I've come to the understandung, that this > is THE toolchain for ARM Development? So certainly this fits 1 and 2 of > the wishlist, but not exactly 3 ... > > WinARM (free GCC) > I tried this and it worked somehow but feels a bit "hacky". AVRGCC > distributions in contrast are way more polished. So for the time being I > ruled this one out > > ImageCraft > This worked pretty good, but as far as I could see there's no debugger > included, which is a minus. Worse, the website, well, is very > unprofessional and looks and reads as if it was created by a bunch of > immature teenagers. I think I'll stay away from this. (I looked at > http://www.imagecraft.com/. First I thought it is a fake or something > but I couldn't find another page) > > > Rowley Crossworks > No Problems. Quite like IAR. Looks nice. I was quite impressed, and > prices are very reasonable. From what I've seen this is a GCC variant > for which Rowley provides the standard libs, device headers, IDE, etc? > > > Tasking > We already use this product for (X)C166. For ARM we want something else. > > Keil > Haven't tried this one so far. Also quite welll known, at least for 8051 > I think. > > So basically we're asking ourselves whether IAR or Rowley (and perhaps > Keil?) is the "better" solution for us. "Everyone" seems to know IAR or > Keil, while I haven't found that much about Rowley. > > Any personal opinions regarding Rowley/IAR/Keil or pointers to > Reviews/Benchmarks are greatly appreciated. > > Thanks for reading this far :) > > Sebastian Schildt
In article <45463c5c$0$27623$9b4e6d93@newsspool2.arcor-online.net>, 
Sebastian Schildt <jisinews@arcor.de> writes
>Hello group, > >I'd like to hear some opinions regarding the Rowley CrossWorks for ARM >toolchain. I know, this is a somewhat broad request, so I'll try to >clarify things a bit more: > >I am in the process of evaluating ARM toolchains which are to be used >in university classes/projects. > >Wishlist > 1. stable, proven toolchain > 2. preferably something "industry standard", so students use the >tools which they might encounter in their future jobs > 3. Cheap :)
There is some one around there who has a sig that says "pick any two from three... " :-) Whilst Rowley is cheap you should also ask the other commercial compiler vendors as most will do special deals for education that are way below their normal prices. eg IAR, Keil, etc Industry standard, stable, proven tool-chain would be IAR, Keil GHS (or even ADS) There are also a lot of versions of Gcc and various libraries out there. Some better than others. -- \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ \/\/\/\/\ Chris Hills Staffs England /\/\/\/\/ /\/\/ chris@phaedsys.org www.phaedsys.org \/\/\ \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/
On 2006-10-30, Chris Hills <chris@phaedsys.org> wrote:

> There are also a lot of versions of Gcc and various libraries > out there. Some better than others.
CrossWorks for ARM, for example, uses the Gnu toolchain. The Gnu toolchain for ARM is definitely production quality. I've been shipping product using the Gnu toolchain for ARM (and other platforms) for many years, and I've got no complaints. Crossworks seems fairly popular among the MSP430 crowd, and everybody has nice things to say about them. I'm not really a GUI type myself, but in my book, Crossworks gets a lot of points for 1) Supporting Linux as the development host. That's huge in my book. Forcing your customers to install Windows is just plain evil. 2) Not using node-locked license servers or dongles or stuff like that that always falls over on a weekend evening two hours before a deadline. Been there, done that, got the scars -- I'm not doing it again. 3) Good customer support. On the MSP430 mailing list there's usually somebody from Crossworks answering questions. If I was going to buy development tools, Crossworks is probably whom I'd call first. -- Grant Edwards grante Yow! My haircut is totally at traditional! visi.com
On Mon, 30 Oct 2006 18:54:33 +0100, Sebastian Schildt
<jisinews@arcor.de> wrote:

>Hello group, > >I'd like to hear some opinions regarding the Rowley CrossWorks for ARM >toolchain. I know, this is a somewhat broad request, so I'll try to >clarify things a bit more: > >I am in the process of evaluating ARM toolchains which are to be used in >university classes/projects. > >Wishlist > 1. stable, proven toolchain > 2. preferably something "industry standard", so students use the >tools which they might encounter in their future jobs > 3. Cheap :) > >We just recently switched to ARM. We have experience with the (X)C166 >architecture using the Tasking Toolchain and Atmel AVR with WinAVR (GCC) > >So far I tried out the the following ARM toolchains >
IFF you are on Linux, the best, cheapest solution I have used so far is "buildroot" (use google). Everything is free, it stays current until you freeze a version (which in school is never). It uses the gnu toolchain. It is best if you are using a supported BSP from linux. IFF you are not on Linux, shame on continuing the mis-education of students. Throwing cygwin on Winxp is doing the worst of both worlds, but I have heard that that works too. Regards, Steve
Sebastian Schildt wrote:
> Hello group, > > I'd like to hear some opinions regarding the Rowley CrossWorks for ARM > toolchain. I know, this is a somewhat broad request, so I'll try to > clarify things a bit more: > > I am in the process of evaluating ARM toolchains which are to be used in > university classes/projects. > > Wishlist > 1. stable, proven toolchain > 2. preferably something "industry standard", so students use the tools > which they might encounter in their future jobs > 3. Cheap :) > > We just recently switched to ARM. We have experience with the (X)C166 > architecture using the Tasking Toolchain and Atmel AVR with WinAVR (GCC) > > So far I tried out the the following ARM toolchains > > IAR: > Had no problems with this one. I've come to the understandung, that this > is THE toolchain for ARM Development? So certainly this fits 1 and 2 of > the wishlist, but not exactly 3 ... > > WinARM (free GCC) > I tried this and it worked somehow but feels a bit "hacky". AVRGCC > distributions in contrast are way more polished. So for the time being I > ruled this one out > > ImageCraft > This worked pretty good, but as far as I could see there's no debugger > included, which is a minus. Worse, the website, well, is very > unprofessional and looks and reads as if it was created by a bunch of > immature teenagers. I think I'll stay away from this. (I looked at > http://www.imagecraft.com/. First I thought it is a fake or something > but I couldn't find another page) >
I haven't used ARMs at all, but I've used ImageCraft compilers for the avr, and have colleagues that use it for the msp430. Judging from that experience, I think you'd be foolish not to include them in your testing and evaluation. The strong points of ImageCraft compilers are ease of use, excellent support (both by the guys that wrote the compiler, and a strong community - try getting through to one of IAR's software developers!), and value for money (including being very flexible and helpful regarding licensing). I assume that the same points apply to their ARM compiler.
> > Rowley Crossworks > No Problems. Quite like IAR. Looks nice. I was quite impressed, and > prices are very reasonable. From what I've seen this is a GCC variant > for which Rowley provides the standard libs, device headers, IDE, etc? > > > Tasking > We already use this product for (X)C166. For ARM we want something else. > > Keil > Haven't tried this one so far. Also quite welll known, at least for 8051 > I think. > > So basically we're asking ourselves whether IAR or Rowley (and perhaps > Keil?) is the "better" solution for us. "Everyone" seems to know IAR or > Keil, while I haven't found that much about Rowley. > > Any personal opinions regarding Rowley/IAR/Keil or pointers to > Reviews/Benchmarks are greatly appreciated. > > Thanks for reading this far :) > > Sebastian Schildt > >
"Sebastian Schildt" <jisinews@arcor.de> wrote in message 
news:45463c5c$0$27623$9b4e6d93@newsspool2.arcor-online.net...
> Hello group, > > I'd like to hear some opinions regarding the Rowley CrossWorks for ARM > toolchain. I know, this is a somewhat broad request, so I'll try to > clarify things a bit more: > > I am in the process of evaluating ARM toolchains which are to be used > in university classes/projects. > > Wishlist > 1. stable, proven toolchain > 2. preferably something "industry standard", so students use the > tools which they might encounter in their future jobs > 3. Cheap :)
> IAR: > Had no problems with this one. I've come to the understandung, that > this is THE toolchain for ARM Development? So certainly this fits 1 > and 2 of the wishlist, but not exactly 3 ...
> Rowley Crossworks > No Problems. Quite like IAR. Looks nice. I was quite impressed, and > prices are very reasonable. From what I've seen this is a GCC variant > for which Rowley provides the standard libs, device headers, IDE, etc?
In my experience IARs support is good but Rowley's is absolutely first-class and they really do bend over backwards to help. However, you do get paper manuals with IAR which I always like but that might not be all that useful to a room full of students. I believe I read on the Rowley website that there is an educational discount but Chris also mentioned that IAR can do that so I don't know how the prices will compare once you explore both roads. I do prefer the IAR IDE - their auto indentation is great and it does integrate with tools like Lint better. On my project the code generated by the IAR compiler was slightly smaller but no quicker than that generated by Rowley's gcc.
Sebastian Schildt wrote:
> ImageCraft > This worked pretty good, but as far as I could see there's no debugger > included, which is a minus.
I understand they are almost ready to release one.
> Worse, the website, well, is very > unprofessional and looks and reads as if it was created by a bunch of > immature teenagers.
I agree that it could use some work, but this is NOT a reflection on the quality of their toolset, or their commitment to tech support. They're really a nice and responsive company. You could also look at Code Sourcery, which is another gcc option. And James Lynch has a nice tutorial on using Eclipse with the Arm GNU Toolset. Make sure you factor in the currency conversion rate of any tools not bought in your own country. UK tools cost around twice the pound rate in US currency, depending on whatever exchange rate is in effect at the time. So 500 pounds can equate to almost $1000 (probably a bit less). Eric
"Sebastian Schildt" <jisinews@arcor.de> wrote in message 
news:45463c5c$0$27623$9b4e6d93@newsspool2.arcor-online.net...
> Hello group, > > I'd like to hear some opinions regarding the Rowley CrossWorks for ARM > toolchain. I know, this is a somewhat broad request, so I'll try to > clarify things a bit more: > > I am in the process of evaluating ARM toolchains which are to be used in > university classes/projects. > > Wishlist > 1. stable, proven toolchain > 2. preferably something "industry standard", so students use the tools > which they might encounter in their future jobs > 3. Cheap :) > > We just recently switched to ARM. We have experience with the (X)C166 > architecture using the Tasking Toolchain and Atmel AVR with WinAVR (GCC) > > So far I tried out the the following ARM toolchains > > IAR: > Had no problems with this one. I've come to the understandung, that this > is THE toolchain for ARM Development? So certainly this fits 1 and 2 of > the wishlist, but not exactly 3 ... > > WinARM (free GCC) > I tried this and it worked somehow but feels a bit "hacky". AVRGCC > distributions in contrast are way more polished. So for the time being I > ruled this one out > > ImageCraft > This worked pretty good, but as far as I could see there's no debugger > included, which is a minus. Worse, the website, well, is very > unprofessional and looks and reads as if it was created by a bunch of > immature teenagers. I think I'll stay away from this. (I looked at > http://www.imagecraft.com/. First I thought it is a fake or something but > I couldn't find another page) > > > Rowley Crossworks > No Problems. Quite like IAR. Looks nice. I was quite impressed, and prices > are very reasonable. From what I've seen this is a GCC variant for which > Rowley provides the standard libs, device headers, IDE, etc? > > > Tasking > We already use this product for (X)C166. For ARM we want something else. > > Keil > Haven't tried this one so far. Also quite welll known, at least for 8051 I > think. > > So basically we're asking ourselves whether IAR or Rowley (and perhaps > Keil?) is the "better" solution for us. "Everyone" seems to know IAR or > Keil, while I haven't found that much about Rowley. > > Any personal opinions regarding Rowley/IAR/Keil or pointers to > Reviews/Benchmarks are greatly appreciated. > > Thanks for reading this far :) > > Sebastian Schildt >
We find Microcross Visual X-Tools to work much better than the Rowley tools. It is also based on gnu/gcc. We have used it on a number of ARM and Coldfire projects. We found the Rowley debugger to be just awful. It was buggy and locked up the PC repeatedly. The only recovery was a reboot. I believe it is still the current version. It was only a few months ago that we used it. The Microcross implementation is much more stable. We have used it with both Multi-Ice and Abatron JTAG emulators. Scott DISCLAIMER: In all fairness I must say that we are a Microcross partner. That said, I stand by my above comments.
Sebastian Schildt wrote:
> Hello group, > > I'd like to hear some opinions regarding the Rowley CrossWorks for ARM > toolchain. I know, this is a somewhat broad request, so I'll try to > clarify things a bit more:
Hi We're using the Rowley one in the early stage of a project and, so far, it seems great. Haven't had any troubles with the debugger. The docs on the tasking library are a bit brief in places but the source is provided so its not hard to fill in the gaps. Their support has been excellent, even when we've asked stupid questions. regards Peter