MCUXpresso IDE combines the best features of the LPCXpresso IDE and Kinetis Design Studio. For users more familiar with KDS, here’s a high level overview of some of the things that are different in basic interactions with this new tool.
One of the biggest and most useful changes is the Quickstart panel in the lower left hand corner of the IDE. This is where users import MCUXpresso SDK projects, build projects, debug projects, and modify some project settings.
Importing SDK Example Projects
This is now done via the Quickstart Panel, and by default will create a unique copy of the project inside the workspace directory with all the necessary source files for the board, drivers, and source so it can be easily shared.
Debugging SDK Projects
This is also now done via the Quickstart Panel, and is straightforward. One important thing to note though is that if you want to change the debugger protocol (ie move from CMSIS-DAP to Segger JLink) you need to delete both the .launch files in the project so that the debugger settings will reset.
If default options are kept when importing in SDK projects, semihosting is used for printf commands. See this Community post for details on how to use the UART for printf instead (which is connected to the OpenSDA circuit on development boards), as well as how to switch between the two options.
New device support is added to MCUXpresso IDE by importing SDK packages. There’s an XML file inside the SDK packages that tell it all the information the IDE needs to know. Reference this Community post for some of the options you have in how to import an SDK into the IDE, and also refer to Section 4 of the MCUXpresso User Guide or this in-depth training video.
This is just a re-branding of Kinetis SDK 2.x now that it supports more than just Kinetis devices, so there are no significant differences with this new name change.
Porting a KDS project to MCUXpresso
There is no automatic tool to take a KDS project and convert it to a MCUXpresso project, so there is some manual work involved in porting a KDS project to MCUXpresso IDE. The recommended path would be to import/create the closest MCUXpresso SDK project, and then copy in the custom source code and other modifications. Minimal code re-write should be required since the drivers are the same. They are also both Eclipse/GCC based IDEs so predefines should be straight forward to port over.