Thursday, March 21, 2013

Microchip's Graphics Display Designer X supports PIC MCU-based GUI creation on Windows, Linux or Mac computers

USA: Microchip Technology Inc. announced the release of Graphics Display Designer X (GDD X), Microchip's enhanced visual design tool that provides a quick and easy way of creating Graphical User Interface (GUI) screens for applications using Microchip's 16-or 32-bit PIC MCUs.

With GDD X, developers have the freedom to work in the environment of their choice, including Windows, Linux or Mac OS operating systems.

Graphical user interfaces are found in a wide range of products today from coffeemakers to automotive dashboards.  While the requirement is becoming commonplace, there is a lack of cost-effective tools available to the developer.  Placing dialog boxes, guidance text, buttons, sliders, dials and other elements of your GUI while determining colours and calculating x/y coordinates can be very time consuming.

GDD X enables the development of GUIs in a "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) environment, and saves valuable design time by automatically generating the C code needed for the user interface. With GDD X, a highly effective GUI can be created to improve the customer experience for applications in the automotive, (e.g., numeric, gauge or infotainment displays), industrial (e.g., operator touch-screen interfaces), home-appliance (e.g., coffeemakers, refrigerators, cook tops, microwave ovens); consumer-electronics (e.g., home automation, alarms and learning toys) and medical markets (e.g., bedside monitoring or medical lab analysis equipment).

GDD X enables development using Microchip's Graphics Library, and can be used as a stand-alone tool or as a plug-in to Microchip's free MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment (IDE).  It allows the creation of a project with configurable display resolution, and imports all the required driver/board support files into MPLAB X.  Generated code can be compiled and tested on hardware.

Key improvements to the original GDD include: thumbnail view of screens and snap-to-grid feature, cut/copy/paste, auto object align, and event handling, as well as palette support for 1-, 4-, and 8-bits-per-pixel (bpp) color modes.

"With GDD X, Microchip is bringing together key components of the graphical user interface on 16-and 32-bit hardware platforms in an easy-to-use-graphics development tool," said Sumit Mitra, VP of Microchip's MCU32 Division.  "Developers can drag and drop GUI elements into place, and GDD X creates the C code for their project.  This saves a significant amount of development time."

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