I'm looking to purchase a development board for PIC MCU's. I would prefer one which would program any of the 8 bit MCU's and also have a breadboard for other components or one that could easily be connected with a breadboard.
That's pretty neat, but it won't program the chips. You still have to have another programmer. The proto area is pretty small too, but probably ok for starting out since it has support circuitry already installed external to the proto board.
I use an melabs USB programmer. It's not real cheap, but it programs allot of different PIC chips. It does HVP and is powered by the USB port. They also sell a dev board kit called the Lab-X. It's more expensive than the one at hobbyengineering, but it will connect straight to the programmer so you don't have to plug/unplug the chip over and over. A bootloader is another option for programming it, but you have to get one loaded in initially.
That all said, I use my melabs programmer and seperate solderless breadboards for most of my tinkering. You'd be amazed at how fast you can use up the space on a breadboard when you start making your own projects. I think you'd quickly appreciate a much larger work area.
That would be good 20 years ago, when everything was in DIPs. Nowaday, you can hardly find any chip that can plug into it.
That would be tough for most micros without NDA. I am having a hard time even with existing specs (supposedly open). There are always some minor details not disclosed without NDA. It takes lot of resources to do it for all micros, and the results would not be cheap. Hardware for a general purpose programmer is cheap, but the software is not.
Actually many versions of the latest MSP430 family (F2xxx) are now available in DIP. I guess TI realized that this is the only way to serve the rock-bottom cost designs on phenolic board. There are tons of new products brought out on single oder double-sided phenolic. Even complete TV sets. I guess I am also guilty of a few...