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Embedded Software Blog

Posts tagged with 'Development Tools'

8 Jul, 2013

Three degrees of freedom

Posted by Colin Walls

Colin Walls Developing embedded software used to be easy. Actually, that is not true. It has never been easy, but certain matters were simpler. Embedded developers have always needed more control of code generation because, as I am often heard to chant, every embedded system is different and the priorities and requirements change from one to another. It used to be broadly a choice between speed and size of code, … Read More

Low Power, Development Tools, Sourcery Analyzer

7 May, 2013

Colin Walls It has always seemed obvious to me that a particular characteristic that makes embedded software different from desktop programming is the close relationship with hardware. As most embedded devices are custom designs, the hardware platform is something of an unknown. So, it is clear that the development of the hardware and software should be done in a cooperative fashion. Mentor Graphics is unique among … Read More

Development Tools, Debugging

24 Sep, 2012

Colin Walls Although I have a broad interest in embedded software, I started out in tools – compilers, debuggers etc. – and, in some ways, my loyalty still lies there. My eye was caught, therefore, by a recent report by VDC which looked at the state of the embedded software development tools market. They looked at how the market has developed and where it is going. I thought that it was interesting … Read More

Development Tools, RTOS, Nucleus

5 Dec, 2011

On the road again

Posted by Colin Walls

Colin Walls I recently mentioned that this time of year is very busy for me, with numerous conferences and similar events to attend – normally to deliver presentations. The most hectic period is past and, as the Christmas and New Year holiday approaches, things are settling down. Except for this week, when I am attending two conferences: On Tuesday, I am going to ESE Kongress in Stuttgart, Germany. I have … Read More

IP-SoC, USB, ESE Kongress, Development Tools

7 Nov, 2011

Who needs a debugger anyway?

Posted by Colin Walls

Colin Walls If you met someone in a bar, say, and you got talking, they are likely to ask what you do. You will probably reply that you are an embedded software developer. [Actually, in my experience, this can be a bit of a conversation killer. You might be better saying you are an airline pilot or a brain surgeon.] If they carry on talking with you, they might ask you what that job entails and you would probably … Read More

Development Tools, Debugging, JTAG

17 Oct, 2011

The value of software

Posted by Colin Walls

Colin Walls It is interesting how different parts of my life intersect with one another. I am thinking of my working life in embedded software and an aspect of my personal life: my lifelong interest in photography. Years ago, they were very separate activities, but the move from film to digital has brought them closer together. A particular incident occurred last week that raised interesting questions about the … Read More

Development Tools

10 Oct, 2011

Efficient code - quiz answers

Posted by Colin Walls

Colin Walls Two weeks ago, I set a quiz. I listed four ways to write some code, which was supposed to divide an unsigned integer by 8. I commented that the priority was for the code to be as fast as possible and asked which of my lines of C was most efficient. I was pleased with the response and acknowledge contributions from Peter Bushell, Dan S, Ken Simone, Krzysztof Wesołowski, Lee Riemenschneider, and Shaun … Read More

Development Tools

3 Oct, 2011

Conference season

Posted by Colin Walls

Colin Walls It is October, which is always the start of a busy time of year for me. Most people I know are preoccupied with returning to school or the change in weather heralding the approach of Winter, but I am contemplating all the conferences that I need to attend. It is the same every year. The world of embedded software goes quiet during the Summer, then everyone realizes that they have sales targets to make … Read More

Development Tools, RTOS, USB

26 Sep, 2011

Efficient code - a quiz

Posted by Colin Walls

Colin Walls I was recently reading a set of “golden rules” for embedded programming. I am very skeptical about such proscriptive instructions as, for them to be valid, a great many assumptions must be made and clearly stated. These rules were supposed to promote the production of safe, efficient code. I am OK with “safe” – that simply means that the code does what it is supposed to … Read More

Development Tools

19 Sep, 2011

C libraries

Posted by Colin Walls

Colin Walls For a software developer, the idea of a library is quite simple: It is a file containing a [typically large] number of functions/procedures/subroutines in a special format. At link time, the linker looks in the library [or there may well be more than one, in which case it checks each in turn] to resolve any references to functions not satisfied by the supplied object modules. This means that the programmer … Read More

Development Tools, libraries, Linux

12 Sep, 2011

VDC survey

Posted by Colin Walls

Colin Walls

As I have mentioned before, I am always interested in user surveys, as they do offer some kind of glimpse into what is going on the world of embedded software development. The recently published VDC Embedded Engineering Survey [summary available here] shows up some interesting results and trends. However, it does, like with many surveys, raise nearly as many questions as it provides answers … One

Read More

RTOS, VDC, USB, Development Tools

22 Aug, 2011


Posted by Colin Walls

Colin Walls Embedded software development tools are important to all developers and a topic that I frequently discuss [like here]. The way such tools are described by vendors is interesting. For example, there might be a reference to an “optimizing compiler”. That is rather meaningless, as all compilers are optimizing to at least some degree. For an embedded compiler, the important factors are the quality … Read More

RTOS, Development Tools, Debugging, profiling, Nucleus

8 Aug, 2011

Get packing

Posted by Colin Walls

Colin Walls I have frequently made the observation that a key difference between embedded and desktop system programming is variability: every Windows PC is essentially the same, whereas every embedded system is different. There are a number of implications of this variability tools need to be more sophisticated and flexible; programmers need to be ready to accommodate the specific requirements of their system; … Read More

Development Tools

21 Mar, 2011

Share and share alike

Posted by Colin Walls

Colin Walls A constant challenge I have found, when teaching or mentoring people, is to avoid making assumptions about what they know. I have found that it is so easy to assume that, because something is obvious to me, it is clearly apparent to everyone else. On numerous occasions I have discovered that this not to be the case. Of course, the best response to this realization is not to treat everyone else as stupid, … Read More

Development Tools

31 Jan, 2011

Colin Walls Embedded systems have been around for nearly 40 years and, over that time, there has always been the need for embedded software development tools. In the beginning, the source of these tools was almost exclusively the chip manufacturers. Companies like Intel, Motorola and Zilog supplied the development software and all the necessary kit to do debugging - anyone remember the ubiquitous “blue boxes”? … Read More

Development Tools


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