There are various high level language compilers for 8051 or enhanced versions of 8051 from various vendors. The most popular is the C language compiler. As the modern C compilers are efficient, assembly language is seldom used nowadays. It is common to have a complete program written solely in C including interrupt service routines.
With the knowledge of the 8051 architecture, a beginner can quickly write useful programs for 8051 in C, totally bypassing the need to know the 8051's assembly language instructions. This is a proven approach for learning 8051 programming.
- SDCC is a completely free (GPL), but lacks an integrated development environment. Although, it is very easy to incorporate it to most Open-Source IDE.
A free example of integration is the MCU 8051 IDE.
- IAR Systems
- mikroC, by Mikroelektronika
- Dunfield, only through BiPOM Electronics
- SPJ Embedded Technologies, India