Version 3.2 of the NXP FreeMASTER tool has just been published online.
This is the first version of the new 3.2.x release line. It is backward compatible with previous 3.x and 2.x versions (see previous release announcements). The latest version brings new features and bugfixes described in this article.
The updated installer is available along with documentation and other resources at http://www.nxp.com/freemaster.
FreeMASTER is a powerful data visualization 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 Arm ® Cortex®-M microcontrollers from both Edge Processing and Automotive business lines as well as with DSC and legacy Power Architecture, ColdFire and HCS12/Z platforms. Note that the license terms and conditions does not allow using FreeMASTER with non-authorized systems from other vendors.
Version 3.2.0 is the first version of the new 3.2.x release line. The installer does not replace the older installations in the system, version 3.2 it may co-exist simultaneously with the older versions.
Version 3.2 is fully backward compatible with all previous versions and it adds new features described here. Traditionally, it supports runtime monitoring of embedded applications, displaying variable values, oscilloscope real time graphs, fast transient recorder graphs and enables connectivity to 3rd party applications. The major new feature introduced by this version is a support of Microsoft Edge WebView2 browser component which can be used to render dashboard and other control applications running embedded in the FreeMASTER main application window.
In total, there are now three options of hosting the active HTML content inside the FreeMASTER: the legacy Microsoft Internet Explorer component introduced in versions 1.x and 2.x; Chromium CEF component introduced in version 3.0 and the new Microsoft Edge WebView2 component.
The new Edge WebView2 is also based on a Chromium engine so it is fully compatible with the FreeMASTER's JSON-RPC client interface. Additionally the Edge also partially supports the COM+ host object embedding which enables to access the "legacy" FreeMASTER ActiveX interface. Such versatility enables a smooth migration path for old dashboards and control pages created originally for Internet Explorer into the modern browser framework. Note that the Internet Explorer browser and related technology is being phased out by Microsoft and the IE-based applications may no longer operate properly in near future.
Please read more in the IE migration whitepaper accessible at the FreeMASTER Welcome page.
FreeMASTER Lite service which is a part of the FreeMASTER installation package provides the communication core for Windows and Linux systems. It is accessible similarly as the FreeMASTER desktop application over the JSON-RPC interface. FreeMASTER Lite also embeds the popular Node-RED framework for graphical programming and provides many examples of use with the FreeMASTER tool. Find more information related to Node-RED in the dedicated training video.
Note: Installing FreeMASTER Lite will require you to enter an activation code. Get your free code on the License Keys tab at the license information page.
FreeMASTER Node.js Installable Modules enable convenient use of the FreeMASTER JSON-RPC components in a Node.js applications managed by the ‘npm’ package manager.
The key new feature is a support of Microsoft Edge WebView2 browser component which can be used to migrate old dashboards and other HTML applications running in FreeMASTER from Internet Explorer to the modern browser with minimal changes in the HTML and JScript code.
Additionally, the ActiveX and JSON-RPC interface has been extended by new methods enabling to access project content and project options programmatically from a script environment.
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 interactive demos and user interfaces helping to use the embedded applications by yet wider target audience.
FreeMASTER tools run on the host computer and communicate with the target microcontroller application using Serial, CAN, Ethernet/WiFi network, 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.
License terms and conditions permit use of FreeMASTER solely with systems based on NXP microprocessor or microcontroller systems.
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.