Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) for Kinetis MCUs

NXP® has partnered with leading providers to offer best-in-class featured commercial IDEs for ARM® Cortex®-based microcontrollers, with detailed support for Kinetis® microcontrollers.

Each of the featured IDE offerings include:

  • Build tool chain, single/multi-core debug, IDE, Kinetis development hardware connections
  • Hardware probes and advanced trace capabilities
  • Bare metal and RTOS support with kernel awareness and task debug
  • Full support from board bring up, to firmware development, to application development, to code analysis, test and deployment
  • Full range of demos and startup code
  • Global technical support

NXP also offers a complimentary IDE for Kinetis MCUs that enables editing, compiling and debugging with no code-size restrictions. Our MCUXpresso IDE is based on free, open-source software including Eclipse, GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), GNU Debugger (GDB), and others.

Featured IDEs for Kinetis MCUs

Green Hills MULTI
Green Hills Software® Multi® Integrated Development Environment
  • Complete & integrated software and hardware environment with advanced multicore debugger
  • Industry first TimeMachine trace debugging & profiler
  • EEMBC certified top performing C/C++ compilers
Somnium® DRT
Somnium® DRT
  • Supports Kinetis and LPC (with fully automatic import from CodeWarrior, KDS, LPCXpresso and KSDK v2)
  • Patented GNU compatible code generation - significantly smaller, faster and more energy efficient
  • Enhanced Eclipse IDE with state of the art debug (including live memory viewing, MTB trace and fault analysis)
IAR Embedded Workbench
IAR Embedded Workbench®
  • A powerful and reliable IDE designed for ease of use with outstanding compiler optimizations for size and speed
  • A broad ARM Cortex® MCU offering with dedicated versions available with functional safety certification
  • Support for multi-core, low power debugging, trace, and more
Keil Microcontroller Development Kit
ARM® Keil® Microcontroller Development Kit
  • Specifically designed for microcontroller applications, easy to learn and use, yet powerful enough for the most demanding embedded applications
  • ARM® C/C++ build toolchain and Execution Profiler and Performance Analyzer enable highly optimized programs and is safety certified by TUV for IEC 61508 and ISO 26262 and other safety applications
  • Complete Code Coverage information about your program's execution
MikroElektronika mikroC, mikroBasic, mikroPascal for ARM
  • Over 500 function libraries included free of charge, plus community website (
  • Powerful IDE with user friendly interface and built-in additional software tools.
  • Compatible with MikroElektronika's hardware toolchain for Kinetis MCUs.
  • 1-time payment (no maintenance fee), frequent updates add support for new chip families.

Complimentary IDEs

MCUXpresso IDE
MCUXpresso IDE
  • A free-of-charge, code size unlimited IDE for Kinetis and LPC MCUs
  • Industry-standard GNU toolchain with a choice of libraries
  • Can be extended with many Eclipse plug-ins
mbed Development Platforms
mbed Development Platforms
  • The fastest way to get started with Kinetis MCUs
  • Online project management and build tools – no installation required
  • Includes comprehensive set of drivers, stacks and middleware with a large community of developers
Kinetis Design Studio IDE
Kinetis Design Studio IDE
  • Complimentary basic capability integrated development environment (IDE) for Kinetis MCUs
  • Eclipse and GCCbased IDE for C/C++ editing, compiling and debugging

Additional IDEs

Emprog  ThunderBench
Emprog ThunderBench™
  • Highly optimized and integrated embedded C/C++ development tools for ARM Cortex with a large cloud based repository of BSPs and sample code
  • Designed from the ground up for embedded C/C++ developers with best price to quality Ratio coupled with Emprog best in class technical support
  • Plugins for Processor Expert® and others supporting a wide range of middleware, JTAG probes and a large ecosystem
  • Complete SW Development and Test Platform which is easy to learn and use
  • Only fully scalable solution providing a free entry with unlimited code size ranging to a high end advanced analysis and test solution
  • Unique test solution without code instrumentation
Lauterbach TRACE32
Lauterbach TRACE32® Microprocessor Development Tools
  • Full featured debug and trace environment for embedded designs
  • Powerful code coverage and run-time analysis of functions and tasks
  • Energy profiling time correlated to the program flow
Rowley Crossworks for ARM
Rowley Crossworks for ARM
  • CrossStudio embedded IDE natively built for Windows/Linux/Macos which takes care of edit, build, download, and debugging.
  • C/C++ support from either GCC or CLANG/LLVM
  • Debug and trace support for MCU and MPU

Comparison of Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) for Kinetis MCUs

  MCUXpresso IDE Kinetis Design Studio Green Hills Software Multi IDE IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM (EWARM) Keil PRO Edition Microcontroller Development Kit (MDK) Somnium ® DRT MikroElektronika mikroC, mikroBasic, mikroPascal for ARM Emprog ThunderBench™ iSYSTEM winIDEA/testIDEA Lauterbach TRACE32® Microprocessor Development Tools Rowley Crossworks for ARM
  MCUXpresso IDE KDS Green Hills MULTI IAR Embedded Workbench Keil Microcontroller Development Kit Somnium® DRT MikroElektronica Emprog  tdunderBench iSYSTEM winIDEA/testIDEA Lauterbach TRACE32 Rowley Crossworks for ARM
Free version / Limitations Yes, code size unlimited, Pro with extended trace features Unlimited Evaluation: 30 days Evaluation: 30-day
KickStart Edition: 32KB
MDK Lite: 32KB Full Evaluation 30-days Free version/Limitations - 8Kbytes of output code Full Evaluation 30-days Evaluation: 30 days winIDEAOpen: Unlimited with GCC, 32K with other compilers Evaluation: Limited by time or code size Evaluation:30 days
IDE Framework Full featured Eclipse with ease-of-use extensions, managed linker scripts, SDK package manager and wizards Eclipse Proprietary Proprietary Proprietary Enhanced Eclipse, fully KDS compatible with automatic import/converstion from CodeWarrior for Kinetis ®, and Kinetis Design Studio Proprietary Emprog Embedded Eclipse Proprietary / Eclipse plugin available Proprietary Proprietary
Debugger GDB with LinkServer GDB Multi IAR C-SPY ® uVison ® SOMNIUM GDB Proprietary Emprog GDB with supporting plugins winIDEA TRACE32® In-Circuit-Debugger Proprietary
Compiler GNU Tools for ARM Embedded Processors v5 GNU gcc 4.8
GNU Tools for ARM Embedded (launchpad) 4.8 - Q3 2014
Multi IAR icc armcc SOMNIUM GNU compatible with Kinetis specific energy/ROM/RAM/performance enhancements Proprietary C, Basic, and Pascal Emprog compatible GCC compiler GNU gcc 4.8 included, interoperable with all other compilers e.g. IAR icc, ARM armcc etc. Support for all common compilers GCC or CLANG/LLVM
Standard Libraries newlib, newlib-nano, Redlib newlib 2.1.0
newlib-nano 2.1
Multi IAR DLIB ARM MicroLib
ARM Standard
SOMNIUM Newlib compatible with reduced ROM/RAM footprint Proprietary newlib, newlib-nano, libstc++, soft/hard FP support, short/long calls newlib, newlib-nano, libstc++ Support for all common libraries Proprietary C/C++ and STLPort
Run Control Interfaces P&E, SEGGER, LinkServer with CMSIS-DAP, OpenSDA, LPC-Link and LPC-Link2 P&E, SEGGER, OpenOCD/CMSIS-DAP GHS Probe, GHS SuperTrace™ Probe, OpenOCD, CMSIS-DAP (coming soon) i-jet™, P&E, SEGGER, OpenOCD, CMSIS-DAP ULINK™, ULINKpro™, CMSIS-DAP, P&E, SEGGER P&E, SEGGER, OpenOCD/CMSIS-DAP mikroProg Segger Jlink, CMSIS-DAP, P&Emicro, OpenOCD and any gdbserver compatible interface iTag50, iTag2K, iC5000, SEGGER, CMSIS-DAP µTrace ® CMSIS-DAP, CrossConnect, FTDI2232, P&E, SEGGER
Trace/Profiling Support Yes, Live variables, data watch, interrupt tracing, SWO, ETM/ETB trace and power analysis (LinkServer) No Yes Yes Yes Live memory viewing, MTB trace No Yes Yes Yes Yes
MCUXpresso SDK Support Yes     Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes
FreeRTOS Support Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes  
Other RTOS Support Includes   Micrium® µC/OS u-velOSity™ Micrium®µC/OS Keil RTX Micrium ® µC/OS, ThreadX N/A Segger emBOS, ExpressLogic ThreadX, Micrium ® µC/OS Keil RTX, µC/OS