I am a senior in college and am designing a board based around the MSP430G2744IDA38. I have used an MSP430 launchpad but that was an easy USB connection to program. I notice that a JTAG can be used to program/debug chips so my question is really if all I have to do to program a chip is put a 4 pin pinheader on my board and connect VCC, GND, TEST, and RST pins? Or is it more involved than that and im just not seeing it?
JTAG consists of four signals (TDI/TDO/TCK/TMS) in addition to VCC/GND.
Most MSP430s also support Spy-Bi Wire, which multiplexes these four signals over two pins (SBWTDIO/SBWTCK); many of the smaller chips have only SBW.
The MSP430G2744 supports both JTAG and SBW. The programmer on the LaunchPad supports only SBW, so you should use this. (JTAG would require the expensive MSP-FET programmer, and TI's JTAG variant is not compatible with other vendors.)