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It is basically a raw MCU without any peripherals. I think the main purpose is so you can implement just about any basic peripheral and novel ideas in code, so it is essentially a bit bang but like most MCUs you can read/set an entire IO bank in one go. Since it is separate and basically deterministic except for some ram latency jitter whatever you implement that works should be as solid as any purpose built peripheral. It takes some assembly though. It is absolutely great for basic IO stuff that an arduino class MCU could do where the bandwidth is too high for dealing with the GPIOs with standard linux scheduler latency.

I played with it a couple years ago and the community appeared small, but it is straight forward enough that the examples and docs are likely all you need. I bet the community is stronger but it isn't going to be on stack exchange.

Yeah, they are excellent for bit-banging protocols, which is really handy if you come across some weird digital interface. I've used it for interfacing with a scanner head, which is a fairly quirky parallel interface.

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