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A few questions before I dive in

Question asked by massion.gene on Sep 22, 2014
Latest reply on Sep 23, 2014 by massion.gene
I'm considering moving my current project to the STM32 family (and future projects if it works out well) and have a few questions before I make the leap.

Q1) Assuming I start with the 32F429IDiscovery, can I setup 8 interrupt handlers, one for each of the 8 USART/UARTs and have 8 devices all talking at roughly the same time?  Most of the devices are 9600 baud although one of them is 115 kbaud.  All 8 devices won't be talking simultaneously but at least 4 will.  The framework I currently use is a state machine with a producer/consumer queue that the device interrupt handlers can write into asynchronously whenever data shows up.  No polling and no blocking.

Q2) Is there a example program that shows how to set up an interrupt handler for a UART?  More importantly, how easy to use are the peripheral drivers for basic, not fancy IO?  Eventually, I'll need to add SPI and I2C devices and it's been my experience that I can sink an unreasonable amount of time into getting device drivers working. Will I be able to use the example code ST provide with a reasonable amount of effort on my part or will I have to ready every word of the data sheet and reference manual?

Q3) How effective is the free ST IDE?  Are the non-free IDEs (Keil, IAR, etc) worth the cost relative the to ST IDE?