Embedded Basics – Setting up Tracealyzer to Debug FreeRTOS Applications

Peering into a microcontroller and seeing how the embedded software is executing has always been important to embedded software developers. In the good old days, developers used to have to instrument their hardware with extra outputs and use all kinds of tricks in order to take a stab at understanding what was happening with their … Continue reading Embedded Basics – Setting up Tracealyzer to Debug FreeRTOS Applications

Tips and Tricks – 7 Cardinal Sins of Embedded Software Development

Every industry has their best practices and their sinful practices.  The cardinal sins are the practices that many are aware of but that are just too tempting or too easy to fall into. The embedded software industry has a number of these cardinal sins but there are seven in particular that seem to have pervaded … Continue reading Tips and Tricks – 7 Cardinal Sins of Embedded Software Development

Tips and Tricks – 7 Tips for Meeting Real-time Deadlines

Embedded systems must meet their real-time deadlines in order to function efficiently and as expected. No one likes to press a button and wait thirty seconds before the system finally responds. More importantly, safety critical systems need to meet their deadlines or else very bad things could happen, such as injury or death. There are … Continue reading Tips and Tricks – 7 Tips for Meeting Real-time Deadlines

Tools – The Device Firmware Update (DFU) Utility

Nearly every product requires a software update at some point or another. Whether it’s our cellphones, TV’s or even our refrigerators (yea I went there). Microcontroller based systems typically aren’t running a high-level operating system that allows files to be replaced. Instead, developers need a bootloader. Microcontroller vendors have been including firmware update capabilities inside … Continue reading Tools – The Device Firmware Update (DFU) Utility

Slowing Down to Go Faster

Speed is imperative in the business world. Getting to market before competitors, leading the way in innovation, the development cycle can be relentless. For embedded systems engineers, deadlines are always yesterday. There is always a push to get things done faster. How quickly can we get this done? So and so needs this as fast … Continue reading Slowing Down to Go Faster

Ternary Operator versus the if/else statement …

When I’m teaching “C Programming for Embedded Systems”, I’m often asked whether the ternary operator should be used or an if/else statement. Hidden behind the question is really the need to know whether the ternary operator is more efficient than if/else. One might think that compilers today would generate identical code. Let’s take a quick … Continue reading Ternary Operator versus the if/else statement …