I was assigned to design an Ethernet and WiFi enabled device for hospitality industry. I was looking for TCP/IP client functionality in my hardware so that I could talk to a remote server to fetch a key to write into an RFID tag. At that time I was used to Microchip and MikroC tools. This was somewhere in 2008. At that time only baseline of PIC32 was offered and no PIC32 with Ethernet was there. The only offering was En28J60 standalone chip and PIC18F97J60 families. I chose PIC18F97J60 because it had everything built-in. To my surprise, there was no TCP client library available in mikroC compiler (in mikroC world, everything including IDE, compiler and libraries used to come together in a single installation). When I looked at MIcrochip TCP/IP stack, plenty of libraries were available. At that point, I thought I should had put my “time and effort investment” in MCC18 rather than mikroC (BTW mikroC is a great start for newbies).
- Getting started early.
- Sometimes you get same or better functionality in lesser price.
- Always behind the features offered by official tools
- Usually incompatible with official tools debugger/programmers
Make sure that..
The hardware tools offered by third-party compatible with those of original vendor. Like the official IDE can debug the third-party development board as well.
However, I think that if the official tools are free, then first party tools should be used. Like MPLAB for PIC, Keil for ARM etc.