I am currently using the STM8S103F3P6 which I have mounted on a DIP adapter so that I can plug it into my breadboard. For final testing I use the STM8S003F3 which again I have in a DIP adapter. I use two different chips because the STM8S103F3P6 can be programmed 10,000 times whilst the STM8S003F3 can only be programmed 100 times.
I start out developing with the STM8S Discovery and then move to 103 when I need to move to breadboard. I have not had any problems with that Discovery board - it just plugs in and works.
I also have the ST-LINK/V2 for programming the chips when they are on breadboard. I found that no additional adapter is required if working on breadboard.
I have tried a couple of development environments, namely ST's own IDE and IAR. I am much preferring IAR and work with this all the time at the moment. You are restricted to 32 KBytes of program but I will be shocked if I get to a program that is that large. The IAR environment keeps surprising me - I found out today you can display the register values when at a breakpoint - useful.
I have also been using the STD Peripheral Library released by ST as the method of accessing the functions on the chip. I am doing this as I find they make the programs I am writing a little less opaque. There is a price for that though, the programs are larger and slower. Larger because you have to compile and link in ST's libraries and slower because of the overhead of parameter checking and function calls. I deviate from this when working on an Interrupt Service Routine as I need these to be fast and so here I access the chips registers more directly - it's a compromise.
I have produced a couple of posts on the exploits so far - there's nothing ground breaking but hoping it will help:
Connecting to the STM8S003
Some first step to module development
if nothing else they will act as memory aids for myself.
I also have the STM32F4 Discovery board and that works well too. For that board I have the Atollic development environment. I have not used this much.
Hope this helps,
Well, Mark, don't be afraid (although in the past I was too). The number of cycles of programming is an "expectancy", and does not have any relation on the actual number of uploads. Moreover, it's rated at a relatively high temperature (on the specs is 85'C), and that's pessimistic. I'd bet you may reach even 1000 times and more!
We're using 100-cycles rated chips, and they're running, re-programmed, many many times...we haven't any failure of flash or eeprom for over 10 years.
I wonder why you have 32k of size limit with IAR. I'm using it too, but it's clearly limited to 8k. I'm pretty sure about it, because the demo app of the discovery is 8233 bytes, and the compiler spit me back a message like "size limit is 8192 bytes". I had to increase the compiler optimization, and the app fitted.
I'm using the IAR Kickstart, which is free.
The major problem for me is watching at the PC screen the C sources. Then, with a "Shakespearean doubt", I ask myself: "to believe, or not to believe, that we're in 2012 and such a language looks like a '70?"
I'll let you know...