First impression
of MCUXpresso IDE

In March 2017, Kinetis Design Studio and LPCXPRESSO IDE were finally integrated, and MCUXpresso IDE was released. (NXP web site: MCUXpresso IDE)
This time, I deliver you the first impression of that IDE.

MCUXpresso IDE

Development environment for Kinetis MCU and LPC MCU

MCUXpresso IDE seems to be basically based on LPCXpresso. Therefore, LPCOpen has already been built in MCUXpresso IDE.

Kinetic MCU is supported by taking in the Kinetis SDK v2.2 which is generated by MCUXpresso SDK.
This is the similar way as the approach of Kinetis Design Studio, and I think that it is flexible to apply many devices especially for 900 kinds of Kinetis and the SDK that may have a change in the future.

Even for LPC microcontroller, the new LPC like LPC5460x is similarly taking this approach.

The MCUXpresso Config tool makes it easy to set up the pin configuration and the clock configuration with the GUI environment, and you can automatically generate your own SDK with the MCUXpresso SDK, I think NXP will emphasis on flexibility in the future for new devices.

Host OS supports Microsoft Windows 7/8/10, and Linux(64bits) and MacOS 10.10 or later. I am using MacOS version. It is quite nice working on Mac!


The MCUXpresso IDE can be used with free license and open source. MCUXpresso IDE has no size limit of compile. (NXP Development environment)

For this reason, it can be used widely from hobby user to enterprise development purpose, and it is easy to try using Kinetis and LPC microcontroller by trial.

The Kinetis micro controller has been provided with a free environment and no code size limit in Kinetis Design Studio since the former Freescale era. Now that MCUXpresso IDE finally provides a free licensed environment even for LPC microcontroller as well as Kinetic MCU.


In terms of debugging, MCUXpresso IDE support the trace function and we should not miss the part that supports SWO trace. In Pro version, furthermore, it is said that it provides higher level debugging function.

LPCXpresso supported these trace functions, but it was not supported by Kinetis Design Studio. The trace function is now supported by both MCUs.

The debug probe supports J-Link from SEGGER, an on-board debugger compatible with OpenSDA from P&E Microcomputer System, which was supported by Kinetis Design Studio. In addition, it supports LPC-LINK 2 or CMSIS-DAP debugger.

In particular, the SWO trace is a debugging function which is only available by LPC-Link 2 debugger. LPC-LINK 2 is available in two different forms, the onboard ICE which is a CMSIS-DAP based firmware compatible with MCUXpresso and the LPC-LINK2 board . I’d like to post such articles about SWO traces in the future.

Impression of MCUXpresso IDE

I think it works faster a bit than Kinetis Design Studio. Well, I think there is still a bug, but it is quite good impressive that it is high degree of the completion.

However, it is not good that there is a feature that currently only available and supported with certain debug probes or CMSIS-DAP, such as live watch. It should support with all the probes.

Automatic recognition of debug probes makes me feel easy to use that you do not need to select that probe setting at all.

Although LPCXpresso has supported it, supporting SWO (Single Wire Output) in LPC-LINK 2 is very much positive in free license environment. The SWO trace is a function to output debug information without any penalty to core processing.

Although it was, CMSIS-DAP has a bit slow and it is also a bit disappointing. I think that it is a problem of CMSIS-DAP side software or on-board ICE device performance, but I would like to improve it in the future.

Anyways, because it can be used under license-free, for holy users like me, I am very happy with this MCUXpresso IDE. I think that there is a community in NXP web site and it can be solved there.

My impression is very positive and it seems be high degree of completion.

In future, I would like to write articles including MCIPXpresso IDE’s tips and usage.

Thanks you so much for your reading to the end.

If you think it was good! It would be greatly appreciated if you could share it.