The judging criteria

This is just a big old checklist to make sure that I apply at least half-way objective criteria for comparing the platforms. There's nothing scientific about it, but I think it covers most of the bases you'd want to cover with something like this. I wasn't too fastidious about following this to the letter. If something wasn't really relevant for a platform (or if I finding out the information would be too onerous), I just skipped it.


  • How easy is it to install the platform?
  • Is the download ridiculously large? How much disk space do you need?
  • Does it work on Linux? Windows? MacOS? Any weird restrictions?
  • Is it free?

Quick start

  • How long is "Zero To Blinky"?
  • Are there enough examples?
  • Does stuff just work?


  • Is there any?
  • Is there enough?
  • Is it any good? (i.e. not just Doxygen...)
  • Are there tutorials?

Basic workflow

The stuff you do every day:

  • Edit: is there editor syntax support? do you have to use a specific IDE or can you use tools you're already familiar with? if you have to use a specific IDE, is it any good?
  • Compile: how easy is setting up paths to headers and libraries? what are compiler error messages like? any extras (like warnings of potential power problems or things like that)?
  • Flash: basically, does it work?
  • Debug: what's the source level debugging like? what are register and peripheral data views like? do breakpoints, watchpoints, etc. work? (I don't use these things a lot, but when you need them, you need them, so it's nice to know that they're there.)

Fancy workflows

Stuff you might not do every day, but that you might want to (testing and CI you can set up yourself as long as you can do command line builds without too much trouble, but extra support for them is sure nice to have):

  • Command line builds: how easy are they to set up? are they possible at all?
  • Testing: any special support?
  • Continuous integration: any special support?


  • Coverage of device functionality: what device peripherals have driver libraries? are those libraries easy to use? are there any options missing? if so, how easy is it to work around?
  • Configuration: how easy is it to use different libraries or drivers in your code? are there any configuration or code generation tools to help with the setup?
  • Libraries: are there higher-level libraries available for common functionality (e.g. communications, crypto, etc.)? how easy is it to incorporate third-party code into your projects?


Basically: Did implementing the example programs make Ian angry?