History of Flowcode

mnfisher
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History of Flowcode

Post by mnfisher »

An idea. (After a 'retro' evening playing with an Amiga simulator)

I, for one, would be interested in the history of Flowcode. What was Flowcode 1 like - where did the idea come from, which MCUs did it support etc

Some old adverts etc would add 'colour' to the story as well - and any other artefacts from the Flowcode 'museum''?

I don't know if it would still exist - but it would be 'fun' to release it for folk to have a play - possibly even open-source it?

I would imagine it to be a little 'clunky' compared to today's polished product - and it might be tricky to get it to run on a modern Windows PC too (I'm guessing - but it must be ~20 years old - so Windows XP based rather than MS-DOS?) - but it would be interesting to see!

Martin

chipfryer27
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Re: History of Flowcode

Post by chipfryer27 »

Hi

I've had Flowcode since v3 but didn't really start using it until v5 came along. I used v3 and v4 mainly to play with and learn a bit about microcontrollers, coupling it with the development board of the time. Those "BT" style plugs made interfacing so easy....... NOT.....:)

I've attached the datasheet for it.

Regards

Edit.....

The Dev board came in a "Video Cassette" style case, and proudly announce their world leading technology :)
I'll dig it out and send you some photo's. This is circa 2001-ish
Attachments
v2board.pdf
(702.38 KiB) Downloaded 28 times

mnfisher
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Re: History of Flowcode

Post by mnfisher »

Thanks - our first exhibit!

Steve-Matrix
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Re: History of Flowcode

Post by Steve-Matrix »

I might be able to add to this thread, seen as I've been part of Matrix since before Flowcode was 'born' and one of my first programming roles was taking Flowcode v2 and producing Flowcode v3. I will add to this thread over the next week or two when I find a break as things are pretty busy with v10 development at the moment.

In the meantime it would be interesting to hear other users' experiences.

chipfryer27
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Re: History of Flowcode

Post by chipfryer27 »

Hi

Attached are some pictures of the v2 Development Board. Also attached is the cover insert for the video cassette style case it came in.

Whilst it cannot compare to the latest board it did do it's job well, which in my mind was as a learning tool. It made it very easy to see the results of your work.

Regards
Attachments
V2_Dev_Board Insert.pdf
(1.96 MiB) Downloaded 8 times
Dev_Board_v2 case (2).JPG
Dev_Board_v2 case (2).JPG (197.64 KiB) Viewed 472 times
Dev_Board_v2 case (1).JPG
Dev_Board_v2 case (1).JPG (125.54 KiB) Viewed 472 times
Dev_Board_v2 (5).JPG
Dev_Board_v2 (5).JPG (175 KiB) Viewed 472 times
Dev_Board_v2 (4).JPG
Dev_Board_v2 (4).JPG (167.7 KiB) Viewed 472 times
Dev_Board_v2 (3).JPG
Dev_Board_v2 (3).JPG (174.26 KiB) Viewed 472 times
Dev_Board_v2 (2).JPG
Dev_Board_v2 (2).JPG (166.17 KiB) Viewed 472 times
Dev_Board_v2 (1).JPG
Dev_Board_v2 (1).JPG (241.08 KiB) Viewed 472 times

steve001
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Re: History of Flowcode

Post by steve001 »

Steve-Matrix wrote:
Mon May 30, 2022 8:29 am
In the meantime it would be interesting to hear other users' experiences.
My first experience of Flowcode was with a INEXGLOBAL NX-877 plus II with a OEM pic kit 2 i purchased as a development kit, this had Flowcode V3 bundled with it.

I never realised till after i purchased this development kit that Flowcode was a UK biased company so i switched to the EBlocks Boards
and have built lots over the years and have quite a collection.

I found it a very easy platform to use and learn the basics, and prototype your idea's easily and would definitely recommend it to anybody.

Several years ago, i was tasked with re vamping a battery monitoring product for work, i definitely could not have done this without Flowcode.

I am currently experimenting with automated testing and app developer.

Steve

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Re: History of Flowcode

Post by BenR »

My first experience of Flowcode was as a student on my undergrad course. I managed to find a copy of v2 online and used it to generate C code drivers for an LCD I used in my final year project. To be honest I didn't like it much :lol: but it did generate the working C code I needed. This was of course way back before open source Arduino libraries were a thing so in the end it helped a lot.

For my post grad course I took the v2 dev board we used in the lab and wrote a Proteus file that would allow you to simulate the full board allowing labs to be completed outside of the lab. I distributed this with my fellow students on the course and this ended up with my course tutor introducing me to John the owner and at the time MD of Matrix. I also looked again at the LCD driver for an efficiency assignment and managed to hack it apart and optimise it to the point where it was half the ROM/RAM usage. This optimisation then ended up being poured back into the very source I had taken the code from.

Funny how thinsg play out :P
Regards Ben Rowland - MatrixTSL
Flowcode Product Page - Flowcode Help Wiki - My YouTube Channel

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Re: History of Flowcode

Post by Steve-Matrix »

I've managed to find some images that may be of interest. The earliest is one from Flowcode v2, which was very similar to the first version. I believe the only addition was array variables. At this point, I think Flowcode was limited to a few 8-bit PICmicros (like the 16F84A).
Flowcode v2
Flowcode v2
fcv2.png (94.71 KiB) Viewed 407 times
Next came v3, which was one of my first ever C++ coding jobs. We added support for a many other target chips (8-bit PICmicros, AVR and ARM I believe) and added more components.
Flowcode v3
Flowcode v3
fcv3.png (248.51 KiB) Viewed 407 times
And here's one for v4. Components were now all on one panel. I think we introduced support for 16bit PICmicros in this one.
Flowcode v4
Flowcode v4
fcv4.png (627.84 KiB) Viewed 407 times

Steve-Matrix
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Re: History of Flowcode

Post by Steve-Matrix »

Here is another piece of history:
flowcodev2.pdf
Flowcode v2
(299.79 KiB) Downloaded 13 times

mnfisher
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Re: History of Flowcode

Post by mnfisher »

Interesting stuff - thankyou.

I'm slightly intrigued as to why the rs232 component was a 'Push to make or latching switch' - would have thought it would be a forerunner of the UART and serial comms?

Martin

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