Developing Reusable Device Drivers for MCU’s

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The rate at which society expects products to be released and refreshed has been steadily decreasing over the last two decades.  The result has left development teams scrambling to implement the most basic product features before the product launch date.  Designing a new product from scratch takes time, effort and money that is often unavailable.

Embedded software developers often look to chip manufacturers to provide example code and drivers for their processors to help accelerate the design cycle.  Unfortunately the provided code often lacks a layered architecture that would allow the code to be easily reused.  In addition, the code is often sparingly documented which makes fully understanding what is being done difficult.  The result is poorly crafted code that is difficult to read and comprehend that offers no possibility of reuse with the next product.  Time and effort is forced to focus on developing low level drivers rather than on implementing the product features at hand.

This paper will explore methods and techniques that can be used to develop reusable abstracted device drivers that will result in a sped up development cycle.  A method for driver abstraction is examined in addition to a brief look at key C language features.  A layered approach to software design will be explored with common driver design patterns for Timers, I/O, and SPI which can then be expanded upon to develop drivers for additional peripherals across a wide range of processor platforms.

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