Element14 has just launched a Design Center, currently in beta version, which let’s you do parametric searches for development kits, debuggers, software tools, by tools vendor, silicon manufacturers, board features, and processor architecture / type. So for example if you want to work on a low power Linux based gateway with Ethernet and Zigbee, you may search for a board with Ethernet and Zigbee, and comes with an ARM Cortex A5 processor.
In this example, the website returned four SAMA5D3x evaluation kits from Atmel which support Ethernet, as well as Zigbee via an external module. Then if you want to find which tools are available from Atmel, you can select “Emulation and Debugging”, “IDE & Compiler”, and “Operating Systems & Stacks”, as well as “Atmel” and “ARM” core architecture which will return Atmel Studio 6, and a JTAG emulator. It’s not quite perfect, as the only features you can search for right now are: 802.15.4, Bluetooth, Ethernet, HDMI, LCD, RJ-45, RS232, USB and Zigbee. It won’t let you search for things like memory and storage capacity, the presence and minimum number of interfaces such as GPIO, SPI, I2C, CAN, etc…, as is often seen for parametric searches for MCUs. I’m not quite sure the parametric search has to be that fine for development boards though, but more options would certainly be welcomed. Nevertheless, Element14 Design Center may be a starting point to find the development board you need for a given application.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.