Electronic Design

Software Integration Makes Life Easier

A number of companies now offer integrated software solutions, giving designers various options to meet time-to-market goals.

Bundling integrated software packages is becoming more prevalent as developers try to cut corners to reduce time-to-market. The trend is apparent in microcontrollers with the combination of Cygnal Integrated Products' (www.cygnal.com) C8051F124DK 8051-based development kit and CMX Systems' (www.cmx.com) CMX-MicroNet.

These combinations are old hat for outfits like Z-World (www.zworld.com) and Ubicom (www.ubicom.com). Z-World's RabbitCore development kits include all of the development tools, including a C compiler. Ubicom's IP2022 Advanced Wireless Kit adds software, such as a user interface generator and a firmware configuration tool, which gets developers up and running almost immediately.

Board and chip vendors aren't the only ones getting into the act. Major real-time operating-system (RTOS) vendors like Wind River (www.windriver.com) and Green Hills Software (www.ghs.com) have made major efforts to deliver integrated and tested solutions for large embedded projects. For example, Green Hills Software's TotalDeveloper targets groups of developers. This one-stop-shopping approach will benefit organizations that don't mix and match tools.

Wind River's Platforms line provides complete RTOS and tool suites for various environments, such as portable devices. The company's Board Support Package (BSP) resource center Web site lets developers quickly locate tools and a BSP using criteria like processor architecture, board vendor, or target market.

Hopefully, increased integration will lead to more, not fewer, choices.

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