- System Requirements
- List of Files
- Technical Support
- Licence Agreement
- Ordering Information
Astrobe for Cortex-M3 is a fast and responsive integrated development environment for Windows. It is designed to be used to write software to run on the powerful ARM Cortex-M3 family of microcontrollers. The programming language supported by Astrobe is Oberon.
The Oberon Language
Oberon is a general-purpose, procedural programming language. Its type-safety, module consistency-checking and predictable code-generation features facilitate the development of secure and reliable software. Oberon is a refinement of Modula-2 which, in turn, was an improved version of Pascal. Programmers with experience of either of these languages should adapt to Oberon with minimal effort. In additional to the usual range of data types and programming language facilities Oberon features include:
- Type-extension capabilities
- Assertions for validating input / output parameters
- Automatic array index checking
- Type-checking / consistency validation across modules
- Read-only access to external global variables
- Support for 32-bit REAL data type
- Optional read-only access to parameters
- Direct assignment of structured types (arrays and records)
- Nested procedures
- Nested comments
The implementation of Oberon which targets the Cortex-M3 microcontrollers includes additional features particularly designed for efficient code-generation, low-level programming, debugging and access to advanced capabilities of the devices without the need for assembly language or C.
- Generation of regular 32-bit Thumb2 native code
- Leaf procedures store parameters and local variables in registers when execution speed is a priority
- Explicit read / write access to memory-mapped peripheral device registers
- Interrupt procedures
- Runtime error trapping pinpoints faults by module name and line number
- Debug trace statements output to UART0
- Byte-level access to complex data-structures
- Direct access to the program counter, frame pointer, link register and other special ARM registers
The standard library modules and linker included with Astrobe support these Cortex-M3 microcontrollers and development boards.
Astrobe has the following features:
- Standard Windows, programmer-oriented, text-editing features
- Fast and responsive interactive operation
- Tabbed multi-document interface for editing multiple source files
- Split-screen editing
- Regular expression support in Find / Replace
- Line modification indicators
- Optional line numbers, printing features etc. etc.
Language Syntax-oriented Editing
- Automatic syntax colouring of Oberon language elements as you type
- Auto-indexing of procedures and imports of each source file for code navigation
- Auto-capitalisation of Oberon keywords when typing source code
- Control Editing, Compiling, Linking / Building generation cycle from the menu
- Capture compilation errors in a separate window
- Click on an error line to take you to the actual line in the source
- The automated Build feature ensures outdated modules are recompiled before linking without the need for complicated make files, command line parameters etc. etc.
- The USB Drive Upload feature programs the flash memory of the target ARM microcontroller on an mbed-enabled development board
- Built-in serial communication terminal window to reset the board, display text output, receive user input and display assertions and runtime error messages
- Generates HEX files and BIN files for optional use with 3rd-party tools
- User-customisable Tools menu to launch Windows applications, batch files or command-line utilities of your choice from the Astrobe menu
- Module disassembler to help fine-tune the size or performance of a module
- Application disassembler to help with debugging
- Command-line compiler and linker for use with batch files and 'make' tools
2. System Requirements
Astrobe is supported on 32-bit or 64-bit Intel versions of Microsoft Windows 10.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader (or other software that can read PDF files). For proper display of tables uncheck the Acrobat's Preferences > Page Display > Enhance thin lines option.
- Although not a requirement, the Microsoft Consolas font is recommended for use in the IDE. It is designed for programming environments and other circumstances where a monospaced font is useful. It is the font used in the Astrobe screenshots, syntax diagrams and Oberon Quick Reference.
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3. List of Files
After running the Astrobe setup installation setup program the following files are created in the program folder that you are asked to specify:
|Syntax.chm||Oberon Quick Reference|
|OberonReport.pdf||Oberon Language Report|
|OberonGuide.pdf||Oberon Programming Guide|
|OberonCortex-M3.pdf||Oberon for Cortex-M3 Microcontrollers|
|UnistallAstrobeM3.log||Uninstall support file|
|Professional Edition only:|
The subfolders Configs, Examples and Libs which contain the configuration files, library and example modules are created in the data folder that you are asked to specify. This defaults to DriveLetter:AstrobeM3-v7.2 where DriveLetter: is the name of the drive from which the installation executable is being run.
The examples are described in the AstrobeM3-v7.2\Examples\ReadMe.htm file.
The library modules are described in the Library Modules chapter in the Oberon for Cortex-M3 Microcontrollers document on the Windows Start > Astrobe menu and the Astrobe Help menu.
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Astrobe for Cortex-M3 is distributed as a self-installing file:
- AstrobeM3StarterSetup.exe (Starter Edition)
- AstrobeM3PersonalSetup.exe (Personal Edition)
- AstrobeM3ProfSetup.exe (Professional Edition)
Install Astrobe as follows:
- Login to your system using an account with Administrator privileges that you will
use when running Astrobe.
- Exit all Windows programs.
- Run the Astrobe setup file e.g. AstrobeM3ProfSetup.exe
- Press the Next button, and follow the prompts.
- When the installation program has completed, run Astrobe by selecting it from the
Windows Start menu.
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5. Technical Support
If you have any technical questions related to Astrobe for Cortex-M3, the Oberon language, or programming Cortex-M3 microcontrollers using Astrobe go to the Astrobe Technical Support webpage for details of how to get support.Back to Contents
6. License Agreement
You should carefully read the following terms and conditions before using this software. Your use of this software indicates your acceptance of this license agreement and disclaimer.
Starter and Personal Editions
A Starter or Personal Edition of Astrobe for Cortex-M3 may be installed on one or more computers but may only be used by the single person in whose name it is registered. It is licensed for non-commercial / non-profit use only.
A Professional Edition of Astrobe for Cortex-M3 may be installed on one or more computers but may only be used by the single person in whose name it is registered. It is licensed for commercial use.
Astrobe for Cortex-M3 is used entirely at the risk of the user. Although great care has been taken to eliminate defects during the development of Astrobe for Cortex-M3, it is not claimed to be fault-free. No claims are made regarding its correctness, reliability or fitness for any particular purpose. The Author shall not be liable for errors contained herein or for incidental or consequential damages, loss of data or personal injury in connection with furnishing, performance, or use of this material.
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7. Ordering Information
There are three different editions of Astrobe - Starter, Personal and Professional with different features and benefits to suit different types of users. See the Astrobe for Cortex-M3 Feature Matrix on the Astrobe website.
For details of prices and payment options and to place an order click on Order Astrobe on-line or go to the Astrobe website at:
and then select Order from the menu. Follow the instructions there.
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I would like to thank Niklaus Wirth for providing the original Oberon source code of the ARM compiler, linker, MAU and FPU libraries that formed the basis of the corresponding components of Astrobe; for his permission to include the Oberon Language Report with distributions of Astrobe and for his valuable support and encouragement during its development.
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