I want to start using ARM processors, migrating from PICs which I've been using for too long. 8 bit models were available for under $1, programmers for under $10, and I have been spoilt by the ease and low cost of getting started. But seeing that their power is dwarfed by some ARM chips at the same price, and being fed up with closed-source software, I want to make the switch.
I would rather avoid getting any development boards, and instead get straight into it with a cheap generic break-out pcb ($1), and on a breadboard using whatever external components are essential to get it going.
What are my options for programming ARM chips in this way? Are there programmers such as the PICKit2 which use USB to connect to a PC, programming via a simple serial connection (like ICSP) with the chip? How much of a difference in setups is required for different ARM manufacturs, ARM versions and individual chips? (ST, Atmel...) E.g. does each manufacturer need their own compilers, programmers, IDE etc? Or are there common tools for all?
EDIT: Alright so after more research I believe I have come up with a relatively cheap solution, an stm32 dev board can be flashed with DAPLINK firmware, but I dont believe that the official github firmware will work natively(all of this is speculation until I get my stm32 dev board in the mail). But I found that the daplink_usb board included with the readbear mk20 is running an stm32 chip, they have released the firmware, which needs to have a line changed to make it compatible with the 8mhz crystal(Detailed in forum post linked below). Otherwise change out the crystal with a 16 mhz one. Ill update once I've confirmed this when my dev kit arrives.