FreeMASTER 3.0 Release Announcement

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FreeMASTER 3.0 Release Announcement

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FreeMASTER 3.0 Release Announcement

Release Description

FreeMASTER is a powerful data visualizer tool developed and provided by NXP to help users monitor and control embedded applications running on NXP’s targets. It works with almost all NXP CortexM microcontrollers from both Edge Processing and Automotive BLs as well as with legacy Power Architecture, ColdFire, DSC and HCS12/Z platforms.
FreeMASTER 3.0 release brings a suite of new updates for the host application, extending the variable monitoring capabilities, oscilloscope real time graphs, fast transient recorder graphs and connectivity to 3rd party applications. A new engine based on Chromium with full support for JSON-RPC, HTML5 and JavaScript is now available to define custom user interface running embedded in the FreeMASTER desktop window or standalone in local or remote web browser. The latest FreeMASTER also remains backward compatible with ActiveX interface and protocols defined for versions 2.x and even the 1.0 introduced more than 18 years ago.

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A new feature – called FreeMASTER Lite – composed of a the FreeMASTER communication core library and the web-server running on the host is now available for Windows and Linux operating systems facilitating connection to the target microcontroller application from any web browser. JavaScript or Python scripting to control the target is now also available via FreeMASTER Lite.

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Target Audience

Both FreeMASTER and FreeMASTER Lite are primarily targeted to our customers, engineers and developers of NXP embedded applications from Industrial, IoT and Automotive areas who want to monitor and control their applications at runtime. FreeMASTER is also a strong framework which can be used to create powerful demonstrations and user interface helping to use the embedded applications by yet wider target audience.

Prerequisites

FreeMASTER tools run on the host computer and communicate with the target microcontroller application using Serial, CAN, JTAG, BDM or other physical interface. The microcontroller communication drivers are available as part of MCUXpresso SDK, S32 Design Studio or as a standalone installation package. Get familiar with the communication protocol and the microcontroller driver API before using the FreeMASTER tool.


Packages

A single self-extracting installation package which contains both FreeMASTER desktop application and the new FreeMASTER Lite service is available for Windows platforms. A package with the FreeMASTER Lite service is also available for Linux.
Access the installation and documentation at the FreeMASTER home page at https://www.nxp.com/freemaster.


What’s New


Chromium browser and JSON-RPC API

While Internet Explorer and ActiveX scripting interface is still supported, the new Chromium rendering engine is now available thanks to the CEF project. All ActiveX methods are now also accessible using fully asynchronous JSON-RPC API. Control pages and JavaScript can now be debugged in a standalone Chrome browser.


Support for Communication Protocol v4

FreeMASTER Communication protocol has been completely redesigned to enable new features like password protection, more robust error detection or multiple parallel instances of Recorder and Oscilloscope. 


New MCU Serial Communication Driver

Serial Communication Driver is now available as a middleware component of MCUXpresso SDK driver suite. See more information in an online version of the SDK Builder. Add the FreeMASTER middleware to your SDK package and start with one of the FreeMASTER example applications. When using MCUXpresso IDE, the FreeMASTER driver may be easily inserted to existing projects.


Multiple Recorder, Oscilloscope and Pipe Views

Graph and Pipe views may now be open as floating windows or docked to a side of the main application window. Simply right-click an Oscilloscope, Recorder or Pipe item in the project tree and select "New Window...".

Enhanced Data Capture

Multiple graph and pipe views can now be configured to capture data to files simultaneously. Oscilloscopes may also be configured to capture only unique values, skipping redundant consecutive samples.

Open ZIP-compressed Project Files

ZIP-compressed project files may be open in FreeMASTER for read-only use. Minimizing the project file size may be useful when embedding it to target microcontroller Flash memory and accessing it by TSA Active Content feature.

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FreeMASTER "Lite" Service

Brand new FreeMASTER "Lite" Service may be started on a host computer to provide a JSON-RPC API to remote clients. Such clients are typically control pages running on remote devices (tablets, phones) or test scripts written in node.js, Python and others. Using the "Lite" service, you can exploit FreeMASTER functionality on Windows or Linux platform without running the "full-weight" FreeMASTER UI application.


The JSON-RPC interface implemented by the service is almost identical to that provided by the standard FreeMASTER desktop tool and to its ActiveX interface. Unlike the full FreeMASTER application though, the Lite service does not have a user interface. It is configured by a local configuration file and runs silently on the user computer. The control pages and other clients (like script applications written in node.js or Python) may connect to the service from local or remote computers and access the target microcontroller application. The major difference from the desktop FreeMASTER application is that the Lite service also acts as a standard web server and may provide control pages and their resources to remote clients like tablets or mobile phones.

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Comments

Hello Michal,

Thank you very much for the new Freemaster - as you may have recognized we are using the tool quit often...

Maybe you can explain a little more the idea behind Freemaster lite. We have often the request to present an new application with an android or apple table. I got the idea for a JSON-RPC API, but the license, the system requirements and the weight/size for Freemaster lite (even the linux version) seems to be very high to run it on a small embedded device. Are there any plans to provide a piece of hardware running Freemaster lite having a RS232 (or even better CAN) interface?

Best regards

Sebastian

Dear Sebastian, 

let's use your other post to discuss this topic.

Thanks,

Michal

I’ve been using FreeMaster since it was called PCMaster with the DSP56800 series. Now I’m using the Kinetis Family. I tried to switch from Kinetis Design Studio to MCUXpresso but I didn’t found any support for FreeMaster in MCUXpresso for Kinetis. I search of the community but didn’t found a clear answer. Is there an app-note on this somewhere?

Regards,

Bruno

Dear Bruno,

thanks for being such a loyal user. Please hold on few days and you should be able to get the latest FreeMASTER driver as part of MCUXpresso SDK 2.7.0 (=Release11) packages. Most of the Kinetis and LPC processors are going to be supported including the FreeMASTER "middleware" component and example applications. The current version 2.6.0 only has the FreeMASTER support for the following boards: evkmimxrt1060, frdmk64f, frdmke15z, frdmkl28z, lpcxpresso54628 lpcxpresso55s69, lpcxpresso845max and twrk64f120m.

When you install an SDK package to MCUXpresso IDE, you will be able to:

  • import existing FreeMASTER examples 
  • add FreeMASTER middleware component into existing project

Some details are available in this article. In case you face any issue, please start a new question-thread on this community forum.

Thanks,

Michal

Version history
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Last update:
‎12-03-2019 01:32 AM
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