Which is the best programming software?

I am interested in getting the vex programming kit. Which one is the best for me. I know some c++ and have had experience programming a computer and robots. My skills span just short of tic tac toe on the computer or microcontroller. Do all programmers get the same actions out. With easy c will i still be able to do all the same things as in roboc?:confused:

I’ve used EasyC V2 and MPLAB, but have not yet tried ROBOTC. You will be up-and-running more quickly with EasyC, but you’ll have a lot more flexibility with MPLAB.

Personally, I think you’ll be better off with MPLAB or ROBOTC. EasyC is great for folks new to C, or new to programming in general, and/or folks who really need a visual representation of the flow of their program. Since you already have experience with C++, I assume you are comfortable with the notion of a program as a collection of text files that you edit and compile.

Functionally, MPLAB (and I assume ROBOTC) is a super-set of EasyC **]*. For instance, you can take pretty much any code you create in EasyC and port it to MPLAB, but the reverse isn’t true. MPLAB lets you get at the raw resources of the PIC microprocessor (like interrupts, timers, serial, etc). This may not be important to you initially, but it will be eventually.

*] I understand EasyC Pro adds quite a few advanced features, but I’ve only used V2

The initial learning curve for MPLAB is a bit steeper. You start with the Starter Code project from here, and then make changes to insert your own code. At first, all the various files and functions are a bit mysterious and you have to figure out where to insert your code. This is fairly clearly commented, but you will have to look around a bit. After a few projects, you’ll get more comfortable with it and start branching out. Eventually, you’ll probably rework the Starter Code into a project template that fits your programming style.

From what I’ve seen of ROBOTC, I like it. Little things seem well thought-out: like using a signed number for motor speed, so that 0 means stopped, increasing positive numbers mean faster forward, and increasing negative numbers mean faster backwards.

Just my thoughts,

  • Dean

EasyC is just a Drag and Drop IDE, with some support Libraries to make the EasyC Code that you work with “clean”. It still uses the same MCC18 C Compiler for the “back end” to make the Download-able Code for the Vex (or FRC) Controller.

If you have questions with any Programming, EasyC or MPLAB just ask us. :wink:

I don’t think most of us have ROBOTC, so that might be a little harder to get help with, but we can try our best.

Good Luck, and don’t be afraid to ask for help…

This is why we use the MPLab compiler and the WPILibrary for our robots. Same as EasyC from a function standpoint. But, I think that doing it this way makes it clearer what is going on and allows students to leverage future activities. Yes, there are two more manual steps, but it does not add that much time to the overall process.

This is what I tell everyone who asks the question you just asked, regardless of how much experience they have in programming.

You can never go wrong with EasyC. Buy it. It is well worth the $99.99. That is because it is always a safe and easy way to quickly write some code for your robot. If you want to you can switch to MPLAB for free (just go here to my tutorial) It is totally legal by the way.

Also if you seem to be stuck on a project, going back and writing it with EasyC can sometimes make things easier.

As I have made tic-tac-toe and connect four in a terminal window, im putting you in a similar situation to me: use mplab.

HOWEVER, I’d buy the easyc package, as it comes with all the hardware and easy c- mplab software is a free download, and can be linked to easyc’s compiler.

This way, you get a two for one deal, as easyc isn’t free software, and if you dislike mplab you can revert to easyc. If you just bouhgt mplab you’d have all the above w/o easyc.

I would recommend getting the easyC kit for three reasons:

*]It comes with the Intellekt (sp?) loader and the on-line binary files: very useful for testing new drivetrains!

*]You can use the copy of c18 that comes with easyC with mplab (mplab is just the editor/ide and is a free download from www.microchip.com.)

*]You get the easyC headers and object files, which allow you to write quick “easyC” code in mplab, which I found to be easier than use the GUI.

I recently purchased a Vex Robot Kit, which included the RobotC development kit. After I received it I decided I wanted to try EasyC Pro since it allowed both Drag-n-Drop and Coding. (note: I am a Software Architect and use to teach C/C++, etc… at several universities). To make a long story short, I went back to RobotC. Its libraries are smaller, it supports tasks and other standard C features the others do not. The IDE has many of your typical featurse (e.g., format, intellisense (sort-of)). Over all its pretty decent.

If your writing straight fwd code and don’t want to write everything by hand EasyC is nice. However, if you like the low-level capabiliites RobotC is your choice. I write a lot of AI code and thus far RobotC hasn’t got in my way :slight_smile:


mplab definetly lets you go farthest with your work, though may be hard without experience.
I still recommend buying easyc v2 from vex, as you’ll get everything you’ll need for mplab AND easyc, and if you do not like mplab, but like easyc i’d eventually upgrade to easyc pro.

Sup, I have used all 3 softwares and here is what I can tell.

EasyC - Easy. Fast. But limits what you can do.

RobotC - Simplified. Expands opportunities and lets you play around with robot.

MpLab - Recommended for the experienced user. One who’s worked with robots and is willing to spend time with it.

I would prefer RobotC because it’s easy, and it employs the basics of programming without limiting what you can do.