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The compiler of choice for many, Swordfish (also known as SF) offers a truly structured and modular approach toward program development - very similar in some respects to if you were programming with Visual Basic or, but more commonly known as PIC Basic in this form. Not only that, but it produces extremely efficient and stable code. Results are more important then words. Swordfish only supports the 18F range of PIC's, as the older 16F series are very old and have many architectural flaws that inhibit many high end features of a modular compiler. Free version limitations; 200 variables on compile, no program length restrictions. Download


For an all-rounder, Proton Development Suite (PDS) might be expensive but its is one of the best. This is a PIC Basic type compiler which supports the older PIC's such as 12F and 16F range, not to mention the newer 18F range. What's bad about it? Well the programming approach is known as "top down" or "flat" code. That is, you can't pass variables with sub routines or call functions amongst other limitations. Free version limitations; 50 program lines of code, limited PIC range. Download


C is just as popular as Basic, however, it can be a little harder to grasp. Most schools and universities prefer students to use C as it is more of a standardized approach (PIC Basic compiler mnemonics can vary extensively). Free (Student) version limitations; after 60 days of use, optimization will be disabled (the program will still fully function). Download

Posted: 6 years 4 months ago by RogerTango #8718
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PDS may not have the ability to do functions, but it does fully support gosub/return. If you put forth a little extra effort you can set values to variables, and manipulate them in the sub routine, thus "emulating a functiion". PDS also has a very extensive list of string manipulation commands. There is so much to offer, you really need to look at the manual, which is very well documented. I am not saying that PDS is the best option, but for me it is my first option. I do plan on examining SF in the future so I cannot compare the two at this time.
Posted: 6 years 4 months ago by jmessina #8719
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I prefer to have a language where I don't have to do things like "emulating a function" and where I don't have to "put forth a little extra effort" to get common HLL features like subroutines with parameters.

IMHO, Proton PDS is much better than some of the alternatives, but there are better options available. In the end, though, it's just a tool and the best tool is the one YOU like and feel comfortable using.

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