8051 Software development tool chains


selecting a software tool chain for 8051 microcontroller tutorial

Choosing the correct 8051 derivative is only half the battle,the other half is choosing the correct software toolchain to develop firmware for your controller.8051 being one of the popular microcontroller families in existence,has a range of software tool chains to choose from.

Here i am going to list only the popular one's.


Keil uVision (c51)

Keil is one of the popular toolchain for developing firmware for the 8051 architecture.They provide a compiler,debugger and a full IDE called C51 for 8051 programming.

The toochain is a properietary licensed software which you have to purchase from Keil Inc.A Code limited evaluation version can be freely downloaded from their website.

The IDE supports software development using Embedded C and 8051 assembly language.

If you are new to Keil,You can check this tutorial on how to download and setup Keil uVision tools for 8051.


Small Device C Compiler (SDCC)

Small Device C Compiler (SDCC) is a free opensource (GPL) C compiler for 8051 based microcontrollers .It consists of linker, assembler, simulator and debugger for developing software for the 8051 architecture.

SDCC is completely free and there is no restriction on code size.

Toolchain supports firmware development using Embedded C 

SDCC consists of only command line tools which you can then integrate with open IDE's like Eclipse or Code::Blocks.

If you are new to SDCC,You can check this tutorial on how to download and setup SDCC for 8051.


IAR Embedded Workbench for 8051

IAR embedded workbench is another popular development IDE for 8051.They provide either a full featured 30day trial version or a code limited evaluation version for 8051.You can download the IDE from here.


MikroElectronika Compiler Collection

MikroElectronika is a company that provides development boards,debuggers and software development IDE's for 8051 .

They have a range of compilers for

  • Basic
  • Pascal
  • and C language

targetting the 8051 architecture.You can check them out from here 


Please note that all the code files in our 8051 tutorial are compiled using either Keil or SDCC in embedded C.


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