Not all microcontroller projects have to be large. In many cases you need to do very specific tasks where you only need couple I/Os and small routine. For such things you can find tiny microcontrollers that come with small footprint. A good example is ATTiny13 microcontroller that are cheap but effective in many tasks. ATTiny13 comes with 1KB of flash and 64B of RAM. If you are used to work with larger micros (eg. Arduino), in some cases it might be a bit challenging to write effective code. Xplo1t shares his experience on this small micro. He points out few benefits of choosing ATTiny microcontrollers over Arduino. First of all it’s price, then versatility and small size. With small size there comes energy efficiency.
He has build a small demo board which comes with single LED along with current limiting resistor and reset button with resistor pull-up. In order to program microcontroller you will need ISP programmer. If you have spare Arduino it can serve this purpose. With such small memory amounts Xplo1t goes with assembler code. Atmel Studio comes with AVRASM2 binaries. Programming assembly language is quite time consuming but in other hand you get to know how microcontrollers work and thus write more efficient code in C keeping inner structure in mind. There are other things that you will have to deal including fuse settings and flashing with Avrdude – command line tool. If you learning micros, this is worth trying.