Which Software do you recommend?

Our school system is just starting with VEX.

Does anyone have a recommendation on which software to use?

What are the differences?

Robot C
EasyC Pro
MPLAB - (Probably don’t want this due to new processor …)

Is there a comparison somewhere?


Scroll down a little bit on this page:
They have a comparison chart part of the way down. If you are just starting to program, easyC is the easiest to get started in and easyC pro has several more features. I haven’t used MPLAB or RobotC so I won’t comment on them.

Note that not all of them run under Vista.

Thanks to rhe chart - but we are looking more for personal opinion/experience.

Also, we hear talk of the new VEX-Net where we will have all kinds of new debugging features. Does that apply to both RobotC and EasyC equally, or will one be more appropriate to take advantage of the new features?

RobotC or EasyC is definitely a better way to learn programming than MPLAB.

**RobotC :
**1. More similar to C programming for microcontrollers
2. Easy to read C files with simple function support
3. Works with the majority of the VEX sensors and VEXnet system
4. Public tutorials and reading guides -
5. 30 day evaluation -
6. Robot C Forums -

**EasyC : **

  1. Graphical Programming with auto-generated Text files (ecp fiiles instead of c files)
  2. More interface and program control for first time programmers
  3. More software suites, EasyC Pro, EasyC
  4. Longer learning curve to understand the program for programmers
  5. 7 Day evaluation of EasyC Pro -
  6. Works with all vex sensors and VEXnet

Personal View: I use and teach RobotC because of the environment simplicity. I also feel that RobotC parallels nicely to many of the other microcontroller programming setups that students will see later on in their career.

Look at user posted code for the two programs, https://vexforum.com/local_links.php?catid=26

if you are complete beginners and nobody in your team has any experience in programming, easyc would be the best
because all you do it drag and drop
and it takes 30 mins to learn all the functions
whereas the other programs you need to type out the commands making it confusing for beginners and hard to trouble shoot

I would throw my vote in for RobotC.

I used EasyC a little bit (the one it came with, ages ago), but in the last year or so purchased RobotC.

While there is something to be said for drag and drop, make it easy programming (as featured in EasyC), it could also be argued that real programming experience is more useful. That said, I believe EasyC Pro will allow you to write programs w/o using the graphical editor.

Is there any reason you couldn’t get 2 programming kits, 1 with EasyC Pro and 1 with RobotC? Or get the bare kit and then use the 30 day / 7 day evaluation to make a final decision.

Thanks Guys, This has been a BIG help!

I would get the trials for all of them and see which on that you like best. Easy C is “easy” for people without much programming experience, but a lot of people on my team find it very frustrating and unlike actual programming. I don’t know much ab out RobotC and MPlab, but supposedly you can get MPlab for free (but you will still need the programming cable).

A lot depends on how much time your students will have with the system over the course of a season, as well as whether they have prior programming experience.

The 2 ways I use Vex:

  1. I teach a 12-hour summer enrichment course to students who have never touched robotics. It generally takes 3 hours to build a basic robot, 1 hour to learn to program. Because of the limited time, EasyC works well for this purpose.

  2. I mentor an after school club that meets once/week for 2-3 hours. Because the builders take such a long time to get a functioning robot, the programmers generally get about 4 sessions with the robot, total of 12 hours. Most of our programmers had never touched any programming prior to the club, so again EasyC is most suitable. I do have one advanced programmer who takes the robot home occasionally and works overtime on her own. She would be capable of and benefit from ROBOTC, but I believe that none of the other programmers could effectively learn to program with ROBOTC in our limited time frame.

We use EasyCv2, and at times have wished that we had EasyCPro, but the team has never wanted it badly enough to justify the $50 cost differential. For only $30, we could add ROBOTC and have the potential of using both languages.

If you are teaching a school class that meets daily throughout the year (100+ hours), a more advanced language like ROBOTC or MPLAB would probably be quite doable. Also, if your programmers have studied programming concepts under other formats, they could pick it up quickly enough to master it in the time available.

I recommend Easy C 2.0 for new users to Vex since it allows you to get your Vex animatronic and robotic projects working relatively quickly. I also recommend MPLAB and PIC18 C for intermediate and advanced users, since it provides complete C functionality.

Another language that I am investigating for some of of my advanced Vex projects is Ada GPS, since it has multitasking and multiprocessing capabilities and software safety features that are necessary for large robots. The GPS environment is available as a free download (GNAT) and also includes access to the GNU C and C++ compilers. The GPS system runs under Windows XP and Linux. In fact some new Lego processors include support for Ada.

I have easyc pro but often wanted to move to robotc I like the environment.

BUT I didn’t because it didn’t seem to have two things I needed; maybe I am wrong so help me here.

  1. CMUCAM support, which is surprising because CMUCAM comes from the same people who make robotc. I think the main problem is serial port issues. The forums had a discussion on this.

  2. related issue. Easyc pro allows me to control both serial ports. That is the TX/RX ports and also the programming cable port. It seems robotc does not. We are hooking a router to the serial port to control the robot via IP using the programming port.

Again these issues are not your normal issues, but it was a problem for me to move to robotc.

I am new to RobotC, I just installed it a week ago and purchased the License a few days ago.

RobotC for IFI v1.40 has no Code Examples for the CMUCAM, but the v152 Beta does. I am looking for the latest Beta of RobotC for IFI.

According to this thread Vex Serial Port usage. (SerialTransmitting function), The Serial Ports are dedicated to the CMUCAM (TX/RX) and Downloading/Debugger (RJ25C) ( See post #1389)

Getting the powers that be to make the CMUCAM and Debugger optional in RobotC might take some Convincing, I don’t know if The Programming Part can be worked around. Obviously EasyC and MCC18 don’t have an issue with that, it might just come down to not enough Flash Memory to make it work in the current Vex v0.5 controller. But I am not going to give up… :wink:

I would highly recommend easyC. Simply to the fact that is it a simple introduction to C programming. If you use the c code at the side of the graphical programming of easyC you will eventually catch on and be able to write the c code. If you have experienced programmers you may opt for Robot C.

Basically, in my opinion, it comes down to experience. If they are new to programming, use easyC, but if they know what they are doing use RobotC.

can i program my bots with c++?

I have not seen any C++ Compilers for the 8-bit PIC Processors. You might do a Google Search for “PIC18F8520 C++”.

muchos gracias

I have thinking about other Programming languages for the Vex…

I found a Web page at Wikipedia about the PIC Microcontroller. Specifically the Open Source Tools for PIC. The Vex uses the 18F family, so there is potential for programming in SDCC, Ktechlab (C, Assembly, Microbe (a BASIC-like language) and using FlowChart Method), PMP (Pic Micro Pascal), Great Cow Basic, as well as the Microchip Assembler and ‘C’.

Mr. Folea, I’ve always found that EasyC is a little bit too restricting while MPLAB can get complex.

So naturally I find RobotC as the easiest solution. It involves actual writing so that’s always interesting. On top of that, the coding is simple. Basic codes can be written within seconds, and if has room for expansion to great things. I would recommend you start at RobotC and if you feel your students/you need a bigger challenge/more freedom, then move up to MPLAB, or if you feel that you/your students need less of a challenge, then I would suggest RobotC.

Personally I’ve found RobotC to be amazing and it has never failed me…yet. :D.

Thanks to everyone for all of the inputs.

We went with EasyC2 - the kids have picked it up quickly and it is working great.

We’re avoiding MPLAB because it won’t be compatible with the new processor.