PIC microcontrollers have been around for a long time — longer than the AVR cores that power most Arduino boards. Despite their immense popularity, PIC dev boards are often completely unique, making them incompatible with add-ons designed for other dev boards. This fusion of the PIC18F footprint and the Arduino layout leads to a great platform for developing USB-based PIC applications!
The layout follows the ubiquitous UNO layout but has an extra optional header that can be added to access all the pins on the bigger 40-pin DIP package. Sockets allow for either the smaller 20 and 28-pin or larger 40-pin DIP versions of the PIC18F series. There are a lot of different chips in the 18F series, but they generally maintain pinout compatibility with each other, allowing you to move up and down in terms of Flash size, RAM, clock speed, and peripherals as needed.
We love that the board uses USB-C — we can’t wait to get rid of all of our Micro-B cables! — and the standard 6-pin PIC ICSP header is also broken out. The ICSP header can plug directly into the PICKIT 2, 3, 4, ICD 3/4, or the new, affordable MPLAB Snap. Throw in the typical things on an Arduino-style board (on-board LED, crystal oscillator, reset button) and a few nice touches like the labelled pin headers, and you’ve got a great PIC development package ready to go!