AVR ISP programming via Arduino

This http://hackaday.com/2009/07/15/avr-isp-programming-via-arduino/ item on hack-a-day has me confused. I’d like to be able to program littler AVRs and maybe this is what I need but what is it actually? from the picture below it looks like it connects some arduino pins to some leds and connectors.

from this pic it looks like you connect the shield’s connectors to the attiny mounted on a breadboard.

What’s bugging me though is why do I need all this stuff if I’m just connecting 3 or 4 arduino pins to the attiny?

I know I’m missing something.

It’s because there are STANDARDS. In the case of AVR, there are two major standards for ISP programming interfaces.

The Arduino shield emulates the STK500 standard ISP programming header. It looks like ist supports 6 and 10 pin cables. The Second board in the path of the ISP cable is sort of similar of the Sparkfun AVR ISP programmer break out board. The Spakfun device converts the 10-PIN STK200 and the 6-PIN STK500 connectors to Single inline pins fro insertion into a solder-less breadboard.

It all makes sense when you know some history of AVR programmers.

Pete

ok but in the end are we connecting 3 or 4 pins on the arduino to the attiny along with power and ground?

Yup.