We are always on the lookout for a new IDE (integrated development environment). They are a core tool for developing and debugging software for the embedded control systems we design. As such, new tools can often offer significant time and cost savings, and can help improve the quality of our work.

We were therefore rather pleased to come across the CooCox CoIDE

CoIDE is a new, free and highly-integrated software development environment for ARM Cortex MCU based microcontrollers, which includes all the tools necessary to develop high-quality software solutions in a timly and cost effective manner. It integrates CoBuilder and CoDebugger for simplicity and ease of use.

For once, it really is as good as they say. We have been using it for a while now to develop applications for ARM Cortex M0 devices, and it really does do what it says on the tin!

First-off, unlike Atollic (the IDE we previously used), it uses the proper ARM GNU GCC toolchain. This is the official open-source toolchain, maintained by ARM themselves, and is remarkeably bug-free. See https://launchpad.net/gcc-arm-embedded/

CoIDE supports a comprehensive and well-maintained library of devices, and works with most debug interfaces (we use the ST-Link). It also has a great support community, with plenty of followers ready to offer help and advice should you hit a snag.

And a real plus for us – it is amazingly configurable. With a bit of tinkering it can be made to do pretty much whatever you want, for example integrating with your favourite editor or version control system.

Oh, and did I mention it is free?!