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  1. #1
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    Default Decline of PicBasic ?

    Just wondering what peoples opinions are as to whether PicBasic has run its course or been impacted with the recent flood of other embedded systems that have now come onto the market such as Arduino, and now the microbit.

    The PBP 2.6 and 3 sections used to be heaving, with lots of regular contributors, and plenty of topics, but these days you can return to the forum after a break of a couple of days and there has only been a single reply, and usually from one of three regular contributors.... does this mean less and less people are using PBP ?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    I can only speak for myself, I do not make as many projects from scratch as I used to, but when I do I find PicBasic the fastest to get something put together. I am using other pre-made platforms such as arduino, Raspberry Pie and generic cheap 32 bit ARM boards for experimenting. I have also noticed a decline in activity in this forum. A few years ago I used Microchip devices exclusively. Now not so much.

    Dave

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    This has been discussed several times, here and on the MeLabs forum.
    I suspect hobbyists on a budget go to Arduino or something else that doesn't cost anything.
    8bit uC with a couple of hundreds byte of RAM isn't "cool" when you can have a 32bit 1GHz multicore CPU with a Gig of RAM to read your DS1812 and turn on a LED.
    The hobbyists who do use PBP generally know what they're doing so they don't need much help. Those who do need help come here, ask their question or request for working code and then their gone - until the next project surfaces.
    Professionals tend to use C - just face it, C is THE language for embedded stuff and mentioning BASIC usually makes professionals cringe because they think of some old interpreted BASIC they played with in the 70's.
    Those professionals that do use PBP don't visit the forum because they don't need the help it provides - with the odd exception. Why? Because they generally can't post their code since it's not theirs (but their employers) to post.

    So it really is up to all of the forums users, (you, me and everybody else) to pitch in if we want to see "traffic".
    Ask questions, provide answers, post well written and documented code examples etc. Don't expect everybody else to do it.

    /Henrik.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    Maybe people like me are part of that decline.
    Started into electronics and PICS about 2 years ago and found the only way I could get going was with MicroCode Studio Plus vers 5 with PBPX3 compiler which doesn't seem like PicBasic to me.
    All I have done is flash some Leds, but then this is a hobby with me.
    I enjoy looking into the forum, even though most of it is way above my head.
    I'm no spring chicken and still remember the old BBC basic days.
    Anyway I hope it doesn't decline to much.
    Regards
    Jim

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    PicBasic is still my goto for any microcontroller project.

    Lately I have been wondering and concerned what might eventually happen to the VAST amount of knowledge that is contained within this forum.
    I cringe at the thought that someday this forum might be unavailable.

    Before that might ever happen I myself would love to be able to get a copy of all the posts contained here in some fashion. If we could somehow get a copy of what is here for offline searching that would be great.

    There is a wealth of knowledge here and it would be a shame for it to go away.

    I am ~57 and do not see myself ever going to any other platform for my projects that require a microcontroller.

    I have often wondered why MElabs doesn't take a more active interest in this forum (possibly they do and I just don't realize it)
    I know Darrell (RIP) was here often.
    I have been over to the MElabs forum a few times but always find that the support and knowledge base here dwarfs what they have over there.

    Hopefully this discussion is VERY premature and this forum will be around for many years to come.

    others thoughts??
    Dwight
    These PIC's are like intricate puzzles just waiting for one to discover their secrets and MASTER their capabilities.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    Jim,
    Started into electronics and PICS about 2 years ago and found the only way I could get going was with MicroCode Studio Plus vers 5 with PBPX3 compiler which doesn't seem like PicBasic to me.
    Can you elaborate on that last bit? What are you referring to with the term PicBasic?

    The "problem" (no, its' not actually a problem) is that there are several BASIC compilers targeting the PIC microcontroller families. Most of the have the words BASIC and PIC in them and although they're all more or less based on the original BASIC language they are not the same.


    Dwight,
    I have often wondered why MElabs doesn't take a more active interest in this forum (possibly they do and I just don't realize it)
    I know Darrell (RIP) was here often.
    I have been over to the MElabs forum a few times but always find that the support and knowledge base here dwarfs what they have over there.
    As far as I know there's no one from MeLabs here, Charles (from MeLabs) is on their official forum but if you think this forum is quiet you should look at that one, not a single post for weeks now.

    As of what will happen with PBP that was "discussed" on their forum a little while back. Basically they (Charles) said that IF they were to do a new compiler for 16bit PICs it would come at a cost ($600-$1000) that no one participating in THAT discussion seemed willing to pay.

    And if I were to read between the lines the current PBP for 8-bit PICs is what it is. There will be bug fixes (there was a new version issued a couple of weeks back) and new devices added but apart from that nothing will happen - but that's MY interpretation. So we'll just have to wait and see, there was just an update issued so it's not dead yet and I'd REALLY hate to see it go because it's the only programming language for PIC that I know how to use, sadly enough.

    /Henrik.

    EDIT: Here's the thread on MeLabs forum, if you want read it.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    Some good points above.

    I follow a lot different interest and hobbies and have noticed in general, forum activity seems way down across the board. With well over ten years of solid internet access, most of the information and ideas are published. With google you can find most any info in minutes. So why ask questions on a forum and chance seeming stupid or lazy.

    I don't think PBP is finished, but not going to advance at this point. It will be maintained as long as Microchip produces the 8 bit family and the ME founders don't retire. It would be a monumental task to catch up - pic24, dspic30, dspic33, and pic32 etc. Plus the new generation of techies want everything for free so it's not a good business plan. I use Mikroe complilers also and it seems they are stalled. Slow updates, unfixed bugs, they push hardware products now for the most part. Proton Basic came out with 16bit compiler a few years back, you don't hear much about that? Arduino/open source and chip makers with free dev tools are killing the old names. Once you learn C you can buy any 8 to 32bit platform for cheap, use the free compiler, free libraries, no programmer or power supply nessesary, just a usb cable. Hard to compete!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    Henrik
    I think you elaborated on my last bit very well "although they're all based more or less on the original basic language they are not the same".
    Some picbasic I understand but not all but then I'm pretty new to this.
    I hope it doesn't decline to much.
    Regards
    Jim

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    Or maybe Me Labs is going to bring out PBP4 with anl upgrade price tag???
    Regards
    Jim

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    Interesting comments guys. I think Mark has hit the nail on the head, in that there is so much free stuff out there anyone starting in the hobby will tend to opt for this route rather than purchase PBP or Mikroe compilers, and with Henrik's comments about modern 32bit micro's there is so much more power than there used to be a few years back when nearly everything was 8-bit as the cost of anything else was prohibitive and un-supported at the time.

    Being a hobbyist I might work on a project once a year, but even with the vast power of Goggle prefer to post questions here amongst friends. I've had some excellent support from members off the board, and even help contributed to a "library" file which was great fun to do, and it's this relationship you build up with people here that would be missed if the forum simply becomes a look up reference site rather than an active forum. Maybe it's just a sign of the times. Several other forums I frequent are experiencing the same decline on posts, often a facebook group is set up and that for some works better.

    For the record I hate C - I struggle with the Arduino code structure as it seems so alien. I too got into programming through the introduction of home computers back in the 1980's, spending nearly every hour of the day programming a ZX81 using its quirky BASIC, and then using MBASIC on an CP/M based Amstrad 8256 ! - so PBP seems quite "normal" to me. It's interesting to hear comments about the Mikroe side of things. A few years back I considered moving to MikroeBasic mainly as they had so many library's for their add on boards such as Ethernet, pressure and other sensors, which were lacking in PBP, but it seems that the enthusiasm of the developers to support the compiler is also now behind, from what's been posted in this thread. - Shame really.

    Mind you I guess this is only really an issue when you need to do more than the basics such as read some sensors over I2c, turn on some pins as a result of whatever condition is met, and display the result on a serial or 4 bit LCD. If you want to interface with a TFT touch screen and hook up to wi-fi then you're knackered as most of the 8 bit processors will be pushed to their limit to get the results you need. Fortunately for me, most of my projects do not require the latter

  11. #11

    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    In my case, i prefer picbasic rather than arduino or other.
    I also think that picbasic is much easier that C (arduino) to learn and use (also dont like much the arduino software platform to upload hex files comparing to microchip).

    The only thing i notice is that the arduino platform is so popular because of the libraries. If picbasic makers (and i mean the developers/creators of picbasic) would create more code blocks and libraries, it would be much more popular. Darrel Taylor (programming magician), for example, shared lots of ideas and code blocks for everyone to use. Since the time we lost that kind man the forum started to speed down. There are many users here in the forum that share and help but i think that the developers should contribute and release blocks of code for sensors, displays, usb, etc,etc.

    I dont think that arduino is a low budget platform unless you want to build only a couple of projects. Sure picbasic licence is expensive but if you like to build many projects ( hobby or not ) arduino it self gets more expensive that costumized projects.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    There are many users here in the forum that share and help but i think that the developers should contribute and release blocks of code for sensors, displays, usb, etc,etc.
    One issue with writing PBP code for sharing and reusing, which I mentioned in the thread on the other forum, is that it can't be "self contained" due the lack of functions and local variables. That makes it hard to write complex stuff for reuse since it's SO easy to get it "tangled up" in the "main program". Examples of HOW to do things is easier than writing universal "libraries" for PBP.

    I dont think that arduino is a low budget platform unless you want to build only a couple of projects. Sure picbasic licence is expensive but if you like to build many projects ( hobby or not ) arduino it self gets more expensive that costumized projects.
    Well, the software (compiler, IDE, bootloader, libraries etc) are all free to download - and that's really what we're talking about, right - the software. The Arduino hardware is just a bog standard Atmel microcontroller (which is now Microchip by the way....) with the previously mentioned bootloader programmed into it. Sure, if you buy genuine Arduino boards it'll cost money but buying development boards to put into finished product costs money no matter which uC you're using. You don't need to do that, you can just buy a blank microcontroller, design a board for your product and use the code that comes out of the Arduino development tool/compiler.

    And no, I'm not jumping ship. I'll stick with PBP for as long as it's around, or until I get to a point where I "have to" use something else.

    /Henrik.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    I’d only ever use it for mid range controllers now.
    I’m not sure what the beefiest pic is that PBP even supports, but do know that’s the first limitation one will run into.
    The next one for me is native floating point variable types.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?


    Lately I have been wondering and concerned what might eventually happen to the VAST amount of knowledge that is contained within this forum.
    I cringe at the thought that someday this forum might be unavailable.

    Before that might ever happen I myself would love to be able to get a copy of all the posts contained here in some fashion. If we could somehow get a copy of what is here for offline searching that would be great.

    There is a wealth of knowledge here and it would be a shame for it to go away.

    I am ~57 and do not see myself ever going to any other platform for my projects that require a microcontroller.

    I have often wondered why MElabs doesn't take a more active interest in this forum (possibly they do and I just don't realize it)
    I know Darrell (RIP) was here often.
    I have been over to the MElabs forum a few times but always find that the support and knowledge base here dwarfs what they have over there.

    Hopefully this discussion is VERY premature and this forum will be around for many years to come.

    others thoughts??
    I have no intention of closing this forum or the ProtonBasic forum. Both will run for as long as i am able to keep them running.

    If at any stage it looks as though I may not be able to support the forums, I will offer the community the opportunity to take total control and arrange alternate hosting.

    Of course situations change, I cannot guarantee anything, but that is my current thinking and has been the commitment that I have made several times in the past.

    The PICBASIC forum and the PROTON BASIC forum have been run and supported by Crownhill Associates for many years. Prior to the forum and web discussion formats Crownhill ran and supported the mailing lists. Crownhill have been supporting PICBASIC via an online support platform since 1996......there is no plan to cease.
    Lester - Forum Administrator
    -----------------------------------
    www.crownhillassociates.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    Thank you Lester!!!
    Dave
    Always wear safety glasses while programming.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    I just went through a process of selecting between Arduino, PBP/PIC, and Raspberry Pi. I have hardware for all and have used each one for a project.
    My next project will use i2c which the mentioned hardware all supports. I have a bunch of Arduino boards, but programming is C++. Rasberry Pi has no good editor (like PBP), in fact the "nano" editor is 30 years out of date. I programmed Motorola assembler for years with a better editor 30 years ago!!
    So, after considering all three, I'm doing my project with PIC 16F887 and PBP. Why? Best editor on the market (MicroCode Studio), tons of pin-compatible chips, easiest programming in the world, by FAR. RPI would have meant Python language which is as bad as C++. Too syntax heavy, no easy subroutine methods, hard to use labels and macros.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    Quote Originally Posted by queenidog View Post
    I just went through a process of selecting between Arduino, PBP/PIC, and Raspberry Pi. I have hardware for all and have used each one for a project.
    My next project will use i2c which the mentioned hardware all supports. I have a bunch of Arduino boards, but programming is C++. Rasberry Pi has no good editor (like PBP), in fact the "nano" editor is 30 years out of date. I programmed Motorola assembler for years with a better editor 30 years ago!!
    So, after considering all three, I'm doing my project with PIC 16F887 and PBP. Why? Best editor on the market (MicroCode Studio), tons of pin-compatible chips, easiest programming in the world, by FAR. RPI would have meant Python language which is as bad as C++. Too syntax heavy, no easy subroutine methods, hard to use labels and macros.
    I quite agree with your logic, however outside of these basic protocols such as I2C, etc PBP is seriously lagging behind the competition. Mikrobasic would appear to support all the add-on boards that they make for their development range of board. Arduino has a stack of library files for all manor of things to make projects easy to get started even if you have little understanding of C++. For me, as a casual user, the cost of upgrading to PBP3 when that came out was not an option, but I don't feel that even with this release there is native support for things such as ethernet (fixed and wifi) etc.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    Like Queenidog, I occasionally look at other available options. Just looking at PIC, I compared the PBP package to Microchip's MPLAB X using CX8, and a few other things. I stay with PBP because I am comfortable with the language, first and foremost. Microchip charges $995 for their XC8, but they support it with a plethora of prefab turn-key plug-ins and code generating wizards. If you have issues, they have their forum. I saw posts where folks tried getting ahold of a live human being at Microchip for support and it was almost funny. Charles Leo (MELabs) takes my calls, answers my emails, and supports PBP very well in most areas. He is mostly a one-man show. The fact that we got the K40's in a relatively short period of time is a testament to his tenacity. As I type, he is nose-to-the-grindstone preparing the next PBP3.1.x update to include K42 and a couple other tweaks. Looking at other available options, $269 for PBP3.1 seems to be very well spent money.

    With that said, I stay with PIC because Microchip keeps up-to-date with new features and new products. PIC is extremely competitive in today's MCU market. I engineer entire projects, so putting a 20-pin MCU on my board makes more sense than interfacing a daughter board (Audrino or RPi). A friend of mine that has worked at an engineering level with analog electronics since the early 1970s finally took the plunge and bought something Audrino. He couldn't fully express just how proud he was that he could control a stepper motor; adding I couldn't possibly know how difficult it was, much harder than I'd think. I gave him the verbal pat on the back, thinking how PIC has Enhanced CCP that makes it rather simple.

    Go the direction that makes the most sense to you. I love the PIC/PBP package. I just wanted to share a few thoughts.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    There’s a free version of XC8, which I haven’t tried, but suspect the difference in efficiency between the free and paid version are much greater
    than between the paid and free version of XC16.

    XC16 is GCC which Microchip only charge for the use of optimisation options, which is rude, because Microchip didn’t contribute anything to GCC.
    That said, you can always compile GCC yourself.

    It’s a dream, and I’d never use PBP for a 16 bit pic even if it ever was supported. PBP will never be as developed as GCC.
    The difference between C and BASIC isn’t the same as the difference between RISC assembler and BASIC.. which early on,
    was the general choice you had to make for 8 bit pics (whether the BASIC meant PicBASIC or BASIC stamps).

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Decline of PicBasic ?

    There’s a free version of XC8, which I haven’t tried, but suspect the difference in efficiency between the free and paid version are much greater
    than between the paid and free version of XC16
    .
    quite possible but the free xc8 combined with the mcc is extremely useful , I have nearly converted all my libs to xc8 now and swaping between chips and chip families is just sooo easy.
    debugging is fairly easy you don't even need to set watches just hover over var in ide when debugger paused to see actual value .
    pbp has been left in the dust
    This is more entertaining than Free to Air TV

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