MPLAB Software Development Framework Extends Support to 32-bit MCUs

March 19, 2019 by Scott McMahan

From basic device configuration to Real-Time Operating System (RTOS)-based designs, 32-bit microcontroller (MCU) applications vary vastly in complexity and development models. To help developers simplify and scale designs, Microchip Technology Inc. released a unified software framework, MPLAB® Harmony version 3.0 (v3).

MPLAB® Harmony version 3.0 (v3) extends support for SAM MCUs for the first time. The development environment is progressively adding support across Microchip's entire portfolio of 32-bit PIC and SAM MCUs, giving developers more alternatives to meet different end application requirements.

The new version adds enhancements to streamline designs such as royalty-free security software through a partnership with wolfSSL, as well as modular software downloads that let designers only download select portions of software based on the needs of an application.

For example, Microchip says that developers can now simply download device drivers or a TCP/IP stack as their application demands, saving time and hard disk space. To further streamline development, the software features simplified drivers and optimized peripheral libraries. These enhancements relieve developers from spending time and effort on lower level drivers, allowing them to focus on differentiating applications.

According to Microchip, MPLAB Harmony v3 offers flexible choices spanning architectures, performance, and application focus, enabling developers to learn and maintain a single environment on their computer.

"Microchip continues to add enhancements that make MPLAB Harmony more flexible, integrated and easy-to-use," said Rod Drake, vice president of Microchip's 32-bit microcontroller business unit. "With the addition of SAM MCUs to the Harmony ecosystem, designers can speed development with the platform's code interoperability, optimized peripheral libraries and extensive middleware support."

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To reduce embedded security design cycles for customers, Microchip has partnered with wolfSSL to implement elements of the company's security suite software in MPLAB Harmony v3. The multi-year agreement with wolfSSL gives developers ready-to-use, royalty-free software-based security solutions that emphasize speed, size, portability, and standards compliance. Customers can go into production with a free commercial license anytime during the agreement and will have access to the following elements of wolfSSL's suite: wolfSSL TLS Library, wolfMQTT Client Library and wolfSSH SSH Library.

Development Tools

The new software now supports the Xplained Pro and Ultra evaluation platforms for SAM MCUs. MPLAB Harmony works closely with the MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to grant customers a unified software development across the company's MCU product portfolios.

Microchip points out that under MPLAB X and Harmony development platform, the PIC32 family of MCUs and associated development platforms, such as curiosity boards, will continue to be supported. Harmony development platforms. MPLAB Harmony also seamlessly integrates third-party solutions (such as RTOS, middleware, drivers) into the embedded development framework.

Pricing and Availability

MPLAB Harmony version 3.0 is available free to download on Microchip's website. The following families are fully supported today in MPLAB Harmony v3:

  • SAM E/S/V7x
  • SAM C21/C20
  • SAM D21/D20

The following families are beta supported today in MPLAB Harmony v3:

  • SAM D/E5x
  • PIC32MZ EF
  • PIC32MZ DA
  • PIC32MK


  • Support for 32-bit SAM microcontroller devices
    • Enhanced MPLAB Harmony Configurator (MHC)
    • Board Support Package (BSP) updates for SAM Xplained boards
    • Support for SAM device startup, interrupt and exception code
    • Support for SAM device peripherals
  • Project portability
    • Generate code for MPLAB X IDE or standalone projects
    • Enables importing of MPLAB Harmony libraries into other development environments
  • Device drivers and system service updates
    • Drivers and system services updated to use MPLAB Harmony Configurator 3-generated PLIBs
    • Improved efficiency, simplicity, code readability, and debug ability
  • Board support package updates
  • Supports multiple, compatible design models
    • Simple device configuration and initialization using MHC
    • MCC-like peripheral library-based projects
    • Powerful, conflict-free drivers
    • Same great MPLAB Harmony middleware
    • RTOS-based projects for optimum Central Processing Unit (CPU) utilization
  • Improved user experience
    • GitHub-based download manager simplifies installation
    • Intuitive project graph makes it easy to connect library components
    • RTOS enabled by default for a simpler programming model

The company says that it will progressively add support for all other members of the company 32-bit SAM and PIC32 MCU families by the middle of 2019. Support for new families will be added to future MPLAB Harmony versions.