Atmel START, Software Content, and IDEs

This section gives an overview of the various pieces in the AVR® and SAM Tools ecosystem and how they relate to each other.

Getting Started Topics

Video: AVR and SAM Tools ecosystem overview


Atmel START is a web-based software configuration tool for various software frameworks, which helps you get started with MCU development. Starting from either a new project or an example project, Atmel START allows you to select and configure software components (from ASF4 and AVR Code), such as drivers and middleware to tailor your embedded application in a usable and optimized manner. Once an optimized software configuration is done, you can download the generated code project and open it in the IDE of your choice, including Studio 7, IAR Embedded Workbench®, Keil® μVision®, or simply generate a makefile.

Atmel START enables you to:

Figure 1. Relation Between START, Software Content, and IDEs

Software Content (Drivers and Middlewares)

Advanced Software Framework (ASF)

ASF, the Advanced Software Framework, provides a rich set of proven drivers and code modules developed by experts to reduce customer design-time. It simplifies the usage of microcontrollers by providing an abstraction to the hardware through drivers and high-value middlewares. ASF is a free and open-source code library designed to be used for evaluation, prototyping, design, and production phases.

ASF4, supporting the SAM product line, is the fourth major generation of ASF. It represents a complete re-design and -implementation of the whole framework, to improve the memory footprint, code performance, and the integration with the Atmel START web user interface. ASF4 must be used in conjunction with Atmel START, which replaces the ASF Wizard of ASF2 and 3. ASF Product Page

AVR® Code

AVR Code, supporting the AVR product line, is a simple firmware framework for AVR 8-bit MCUs, equivalent to Foundation Services, which supports 8- and 16-bit PIC® MCUs. AVR Code is optimized for code-size and -speed, as well as simplicity and readability of code. AVR Code is configured by Atmel START.

Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

An IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is used to develop an application (or further develop an example application) based on the software components, such as drivers and middlewares, configured in and exported from Atmel START. Atmel START supports a range of IDEs, including Studio 7, IAR Embedded Workbench®, Keil® μVision®.

Atmel Studio 7 is the integrated development platform (IDP) for developing and debugging all AVR and SAM microcontroller applications. The Atmel Studio 7 IDP gives you a seamless and easy-to-use environment to write, build, and debug your applications written in C/C++ or assembly code. It also connects seamlessly to the debuggers, programmers, and development kits that support AVR and SAM devices. The development experience between Atmel START and Studio 7 has been optimized. Iterative development of START-based projects in Studio 7 is supported through re-configure and merge functionality.

This Getting Started training for Atmel Studio 7 will guide you through all the major features of the IDE. It is designed as a video series with accompanying hands-on. Each section starts with a video, which covers that section.