Timer Calculator is a huge success. Over 12 thousand downloads and counting. It’s obvious that you guys need such a handy tool. We’ve decided to put the faith and the future of Timer Calculator in your own hands.
Timer Calculator, like many other projects here in MikroElektronika, started as a personal enthusiasm of one of our colleagues. In this case, Marko from Software Department. Every time he needed to write timer interrupts he had to run through datasheets, which was annoying. Information was usually scattered across several sections and putting all the pieces together required time. Internal test procedure also required the use of oscilloscope to check the timings. Imagine just how painful was porting such code between architectures. Using some existing timer code generator tools did not help much since they all required quite a number of input parameters and a relatively good knowledge of specific timer modules. Soon enough, Marko came with an idea: why don’t we make some simple tool for generating timer interrupt code? The idea was widely accepted and since no good idea goes unpunished, Marko got his reward. He was assigned to design and implement such a tool for internal use, but as a low priority side project. The tool was supposed to generate timer interrupt code with a single click using a very few input parameters: 1. target controller, 2. operating frequency and 3. desired timer interrupt period. The rest would be done automatically within the software. Here’s how the software initially looked like:
When we finally saw the results we were thrilled. This new tool had a huge impact on coding speed for timer related projects. Naturally, a new idea arises: This is a fairly great app, why don’t we share it with the community? Several of us gathered around Marko and started brainstorming how to improve the software and make a bit more user friendly interface. Aleksandar from Marketing drew a simple but effective application redesign with a clear list of steps to follow. Presets were added and better syntax highlighter implemented in editor field. Resulting redesign looked like this:
It was released on July 25th, 2012 at Libstock website. The initial release supported only 8-bit PIC microcontroller families. Soon afterwards, developers from all over the world began asking for support of other microcontroller families and architectures. Of course, Marko had a lot of other work and since this application wasn’t on the menu as an official project, Marko slowly began adding support for dsPIC33/PIC24, PIC32, ARM and AVR MCUs. It took him a course of nearly year and a half.
You will decide what happens next
Today we realize that this project overgrew just one man’s enthusiasm and that something needs to be done about it. We’re coming in front of the entire community with a new concept, enabling you to take power in your hands and decide the faith and the future course of development for this tool and possible many others yet to come. If you want it to be upgraded with new features, new presets, and support for new microcontroller families – you can give us a heads up by contributing a small piece of the price. Pay a dollar, three or ten, all depending on how much you think this software is valuable to you. Or pay nothing if you don’t feel like it. Anyway, we’ll listen to your proposals. Your wish lists and suggestions are welcome at the Comments section of the Timer Calculator’s Libstock page.
A critical mass of your contributions is needed in order for this project to get it’s rightful place. Depending on your interests, it can become a top priority or shift up or down on Marko’s task list. His current duties may be reassigned to other developers, thus making Marko all yours – if that’s what you decide 🙂
So, think about it for a second and rush to the newly created Timer Calculator webpage to support what matters to you.