Embedded Software Programming


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In the world that we live in, everything is becoming smart. We can find intelligent devices everywhere embedded with a processor and a microcontroller that enables them to execute specific instructions or carry out certain tasks. These tiny machines or chips could be anything from your bathroom scales to your cell phone and MP3 players to electronic vehicles and from home appliances to full-fledged robots.

Assembly language  

Pros: It's one of the fastest ways to develop your application, its execution speed is faster than other high-level languages, it has no dependency on the operating system so that you can run it in any environment like bare metal (without OS), there are very few restrictions on which the microcontroller should use peripherals. Cons: Debugging is practically not possible. You need to know all hardware details that help develop software because the compiler won't do that for you. Also, complex projects could lead to spaghetti code because of its memory limitations.

Pros: C/C++ compilers are very mature, and the code written in C/C++ is portable and can be easily ported to other platforms. You can debug your application quickly if you use a good IDE like Visual Studio without knowing hardware details. Cons: The lack of memory management features makes embedded development difficult because allocating and freeing memory for different tasks could lead to conflicts. Pointers are used extensively, which makes it challenging to ensure memory safety.

Java Pros: Java is a high-level programming language with automatic memory management through garbage collection, making it easier to develop applications that require dynamic allocation of memory, its easy to port your software from one platform to another by using an automated bytecode compiler. Cons: Garbage collection pause time could affect the real-time performance of your application. There's no way to get low-level access from an embedded device. You have to write code that is compatible with the CPU architecture of a particular device.

Python Pros: Python is a high-level language and an elementary programming language to learn and understand even for new developers, making it easier to debug your software if required. It contains many libraries that support features like IO ports, GPIOs, I2C, SPI, etc. Apart from this, it has robust garbage collection functionality, which means that memory management will be done automatically without any help from you, resulting in fewer errors and faster development. Cons: Memory management could still become problematic when dealing with large data sets that require proper optimization of resources, word size (32 or 64 bits) of the CPU architecture matters, and embedded Python projects are slower than C/C++ projects.

Pros: As it's a very high-level language, developing software is more accessible than other languages because of automatic memory management functionality through garbage collection, which frees you from getting into memory allocation problems. It executes easy-to-understand instructions and has less code written for them. Cons: Built-in libraries are not always well supported by microcontroller manufacturers, so it could be challenging to use some features like PWM or I2C communication. Using third-party libraries can result in security issues if proper precautions aren't taken during installation. Execution speed is much lesser than other languages due to Java's automatic memory management functionality.

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Automotive embedded software differences

An automotive embedded system is different from regular ones because of factors like physical environment, safety concerns, high memory constraints, and high real-time requirements.

Physical Environment: Automotive embedded systems operate in a harsh environment where temperatures ranging between -40 to 120 degrees Celsius are expected depending on the device's location inside the car. This could affect the performance of the software running on these devices resulting in malfunctions. Safety Concerns: If something goes wrong with your application, it can result in death or severe injury for vehicle occupants, which means that every developer using this technology needs to follow stringent development guidelines. Limited Memory Resources: The limited size of memories available for an embedded system often forces developers to use smaller data structures; however, this could result in significant slowdowns when accessing these data structures since they require more instructions to be executed.  High Real-Time Requirements: The time allotted for the execution of an instruction in automotive embedded systems is significant because delays could cause safety issues which means you have to use algorithms with low complexity and high-performance levels.

Linux serves automotive embedded software.

Linux is known for its scalability, reliability, openness, rich set of features that make it easy to develop applications containing real-time requirements, the availability of a large number of device drivers, network stacks, etc., has made it a popular choice among manufacturers who are looking for cost-effective yet robust solutions.

Prerequisites for developing an embedded Linux system

You will need the following hardware components to start developing an embedded Linux system:

Raspberry Pi 2 or any compatible single-board computer with a 1GHz or better ARM-based CPU, 512MB to 2GB RAM. In addition to this, you will need an SD card of 4GB storage capacity and a 5V micro USB power supply for operating your Raspberry Pi device. You can use any Linux distribution along with the Android development tools available from Google if you want to develop mobile applications which will also run on Android mobile devices.

For testing purposes, it is recommended that all developers start using Raspberry Pi 2 boards because they support many GPIOs. In addition, they have an Ethernet port, making them easy to configure without requiring additional hardware components.

Linux kernel serves automotive embedded software.

Linux OS is scalable, stable, robust, and secure, making it a perfect choice for any embedded OS in the automotive industry; however, its usage is limited to just low-level embedded systems that handle basic functionality in automobiles.

 The pros of using Linux OS

 Unlimited access to source code means you can debug your applications precisely without having to worry about anything because you know what's happening inside the system.  Rich set of libraries, network stacks, device drivers available for easy programming. The entire package development environment provided by most Linux distributions makes it very easy to create custom packages with specific functionalities required by an application or optimize performance depending on requirements. The availability of real-time patches provides users with better control over scheduling priorities and time constraints.  Advanced customization options since Linux is open-source, you can easily customize boot loaders, plus there are no licensing restrictions.

The cons of using Linux OS

Linux is not the best option for implementing high-performance applications because it inherently lacks real-time features, which makes it challenging to implement time-bounded services. Hard disk access may also affect performance because I/O operations are executed asynchronously. In addition, low network throughput could become a problem if you want to transfer large amounts of data over a network connection since the kernel uses buffers for all incoming and outgoing data transfers, which means that if memory bandwidth is low, then your system will be slow. Finally, the availability of device drivers only for standard hardware components across various manufacturers, providing support for more hardware components will require additional work.

The latest version of Linux

The latest version of Linux available at this time is 3.18, which contains updates related to the ARM64 architecture, plus there are some changes in core subsystems making it suitable for running on large servers and modern smartphones plus ARM SoCs based on AArch64 now including 64-bit MIPS processors.

The benefits of using the Yocto Project

Provides a consistent build system that can be used across various target platforms consisting of machines with different hardware architectures. The entire software stack required by an application exists as a single package, allowing developers to manage dependencies between applications developed using Yocto Project easily. In addition, Cross-distro support is made possible thanks to the availability of a meta-layer that developers can use as a reference when creating custom layers.

The embedded Linux distributions supported by Yocto Project

Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) plus Wind River Linux and Mentor Embedded Linux (MEL).

BeagleBoard-XM relations to Raspberry Pi

They both use ARM processors and provide access to GPIO pins; however, they consist of different hardware components. For instance, Beagleboard has an 8-core CPU while Raspberry Pi has a single core. The former also comes with 1 GB RAM, while the latter provides only 512MB of RAM. There are also some other differences, including $125 for Beagleboard-XM while Raspberry Pi costs $35.

Yocto Project elements

The Yocto Project is an open-source collaboration project which provides a full-stack solution and various tools for embedded Linux based on Linux kernel plus cross-compilation environment and debugs tools to make it easier to create custom software packages that embedded devices can load with minimal effort.

Tizen's security architecture

Tizen's security architecture supports multiple levels of trust such as application sandboxing, uses signed software packages, employs certificate management, and applies memory isolation between processes which means there are no risks when running untrusted applications on your device.

Difference between firmware and embedded software

Firmware is low-level software that loads the operating system on your device after it has been booted. It takes care of low-level hardware initialization, configures devices, and supports different hardware components, including CPU cores, DMA controllers, RAM modules, etc. Embedded software is more focused on higher-level application layers rather than working closely with lower-level hardware components, which means you can implement new features, manage memory allocations, plus many other things without having any prior knowledge about how your device works.

Reasons to use Yocto Project with Eclipse IDE

Eclipse is an open-source platform used by developers around the world since 2001 providing them with access to various integrated tools including Git client, C/C++ compiler, Python debugger, etc. which are very useful for embedded Linux development providing them with tools that can be used to quickly develop custom software packages that can be used on various devices without having any prior knowledge about how they work plus allowing developers to easily implement new features in the future.

Hardware platforms supported by AGL

TI Connected Launchpad plus Freescale i.MX6 Sabre SD and Minnowboard Max single-board computers using ARM Cortex-A9 CPUs.

Linux distribution

A collection of software packages including operating system components such as drivers, daemons, libraries, utilities, applications, and bootloader configuration files resulting in a package that can be loaded by an embedded device running Linux to provide functionalities required by applications that can be run on top of the base Linux system.

Build an image using Yocto Project

You need to create a Linux image, set up the list of packages that should be included in your custom image plus customization options including machine configuration, kernel tuning, disk partitions configuration, etc., then use the Bitbake tool to produce your custom output package(s).

Common Yocto Development tools

Most tools are available as freestanding Python scripts allowing developers to take advantage of them without any issues. Developer documentation includes links providing access to all available tools plus examples.

The most popular embedded Linux distributions used for IoT development

The most commonly used embedded Linux distributions for IoT development include Tizen, OpenWrt, Android, and Contiki.

Get started with Yocto Project

It is recommended to install the Eclipse IDE before installing Yocto-related tools to get the best out of your embedded Linux development experience plus have access to a package manager such as RPM or DEB which will allow you to easily install new software packages on your machine along with tutorials and documentation aimed at developers who want to start their work using Yocto Project.

Characteristics and features of embedded systems

Embedded systems are computers embedded into machines to control their operations plus they can be found in electronic devices such as mobile phone handsets, tablets, etc. The features of an embedded system depend on the specific application field it was designed for - a machine tool used in a factory will have different requirements from a home appliance which means you should be able to connect your device to the internet, use unique identifiers that allow applications running on top of your operating system to access resources without any issues, support third-party hardware components and software packages allowing developers to easily add new functionalities using predefined APIs not forgetting security aspects required by most modern devices.

Linux kernel

Linux is a Unix-like open-source operating system created in 1991 that can be used by many embedded devices to run various software packages allowing them to take advantage of an extensive list of functionalities designed for a specific device type.

The most common Linux distributions

The most popular Linux distributions include Debian, Ubuntu, Arch Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, Suse Enterprise Server plus additional distributions such as Slackware and Gentoo which have their pros and cons when it comes to using them in embedded projects.

C/C++ programming is needed in embedded development

Embedded devices use microprocessors that rely on high-level languages that were specifically designed for programming microprocessor instructions including PASCAL, FORTRAN, COBOL plus low-level languages such as C/C++ to make it easier for developers to provide low-level instructions needed by hardware components to communicate with them.

Tthe most commonly used C library in embedded development

The Standard C Library is a UNIX-specific implementation of the ISO C standard library that allows developers to have access to basic functions used in embedded software development allowing them to easily develop, build, debug, and test their applications which makes it one of the most popular C libraries in embedded systems.

Linux system services

System services are daemons starting at boot time plus they can be stopped or restarted using init scripts stored in /etc/init.d/. They can be written in various languages including shell script, Perl, or C using various APIs allowing developers to create system services that can run on top of any Linux kernel.

The most common software packages used in embedded systems

The most popular software packages commonly found in embedded devices include BusyBox, Dropbear SSH plus tools such as QEMU, and Buildroot which provide a complete development toolchain allowing you to build your rootfs from scratch with just a few commands.

Ethernet protocol stack

Ethernet protocol stack refers to a set of different layers needed to communicate over an Ethernet network including physical transport layer providing data link service for communicating at a lower level, MAC sublayer known as Logical Link Control defining how hardware components will communicate with each other plus data link protocols such as PPP, HDLC, and others.

The difference between a static library and a dynamic library

Static libraries are collections of object files that can be inserted together into another program for faster startup plus they need to be linked with every project that needs them whereas dynamic libraries load at runtime without any additional device code required before linking them to an application making them popular in embedded systems.

The difference between a bootloader, a kernel, and a root filesystem

A bootloader acts as a program loading first during system start-up usually providing basic user interfaces allowing you to select an operating system from several options stored on your storage media plus it can provide other features including flashing new firmware. The kernel provides low-level services that allow the creation of a complete operating system which can be a monolithic kernel or a microkernel. A root filesystem provides a place from where all user applications when executed will have their files stored including executable code making it mandatory in most cases when using an embedded Linux distribution.

The difference between 2D and 3D graphics

2D graphics are directly rendered on your screen pixel by pixel while 3D adds depth to them allowing you to show data with different perspectives like if you were viewing objects from above, below, or at eye level. They can also draw two-dimensional images more efficiently than 2D which makes them more popular for embedded Linux devices.

Memory management work in an operating system

Memory management is a very important topic with operating systems and it has evolved quite a bit since its first versions. In the beginning, the architecture and limitations of hardware components were known which allowed developers to carefully design memory areas for different purposes such as stacks, heaps, executable code, global variables plus later those limitations changed making those designs ineffective leading to MMU (memory management units) becoming popular with embedded devices allowing them to map virtual addresses to physical addresses using memory tables.

Configure network interfaces in an embedded device

Network interfaces are managed by the Linux kernel either during system start-up or dynamically at runtime allowing you to store settings like IP address information directly on a running interface or for Ethernet network cards onto a configuration file stored on your root filesystem which is loaded from a storage medium at runtime so you can always change them without requiring to reboot your device.

POSIX and if an operating system conforms with it

POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface) defines standards with operating systems allowing programmers to write different applications that will run on many different devices with the same behaviours no matter what hardware they're using or what kind of kernel they run, most embedded Linux distributions conform with this standard offering support for popular programming languages like C and libraries such as libstdc++, making them suitable even with high-level development requirements.

Embedded software vs embedded systems

Embedded software refers to a computer program or set of programs that are designed to control the hardware for use in embedded systems, this kind of software is a cross between a finished application and a programming language containing everything needed for it to work properly on its intended target hardware.

Advantages to using static linking

Static linking allows programmers to store executable code directly into one file without requiring support from libraries during system start-up making them suitable with memory-constrained devices as they fit better taking up less space resulting in smaller binaries but can result in larger RAM requirements as all libraries used must be loaded together with the main binary at system startup otherwise your applications won't run.

An algorithm

An algorithm is a sequence of finite instructions used to achieve a specific goal usually within a smaller time frame, they work like recipes with step-by-step processes describing how you need to accomplish something such as solving a math problem or sorting an array of numbers.

Memory mapping and its pros

Memory mapping allows developers to define areas between RAM and ROM that will be used as if the system didn't know where each component started and ended making them suitable for things like storing files on disk or even portions of memory allocated dynamically at runtime using any programming language available.

Difference between MVC and MVP frameworks

Model-View-Controller (MVC) defines the flow between different parts of your applications allowing you to separate different purposes mapping views to a controller while models hold the data and have its control flow which is independent of the view, Model-View-Presenter (MVP) is a variation of MVC where you'd put a presenter between your model and your view for fetching data presenting it or processing form submissions.

Design an application that will be easy to maintain

Easy maintainability can be achieved through well-defined programming standards allowing programmers to get familiar with code quickly without having to spend too much time learning where things are defined how they work, any good operating system should define standards such as naming conventions for functions or classes which could include things like keeping acronyms short yet still readable.

OOP and applying it to embedded programming

OOP stands for Object-Oriented Programming and is a strong programming paradigm that can be applied to embedded software development allowing developers to create abstract classes with well-defined methods, attributes, and even data structures that will be inherited by child classes inheriting functionality from their parents.

The benefits of using a Hardware Abstraction Layer

A hardware abstraction layer allows programmers to work with different hardware components without knowing much about them except what API they should use preventing them from having to hardcode low-level hardware dependencies in their code giving more architectural flexibility when designing an application.

Language to use for implementing a web server

C is a general-purpose language suitable for pretty much anything and could be used for implementing a web server by creating and listening on a socket to accept client connections and handling their requests through parsing HTML then generating the required response.

CPU throttling

CPU throttling allows software developers to give power-saving modes that will scale down the CPU clock speed either temporarily or at certain intervals reducing its power consumption.

Comparing two files

Developers can implement file comparison through Binary Templates, similar to regular expressions but only work with binary content such as images or compiled binaries.

Fuzz Testing and improving your code

Fuzz testing detects when unexpected data has been received from untrusted sources like user input run over potentially malicious functions which should crash the application in question to keep it from executing anything unexpected.

Development framework for embedded programming

The Linux Standard Base (LSB) is a specification for how binaries should be configured which can change depending on the environment allowing different software components to work together minimizing their dependencies and making them more portable.

Operating System VS RTOS

An operating system is a monolithic block of code that is designed to provide general functionality giving programmers access to things like multitasking, communication stacks, file systems, or even device drivers while real-time operating systems are designed primarily with determinism in mind providing guarantees regarding timing restrictions surprising stability under heavy loads or mission-critical applications needing high reliability.

The difference between an RTOS and a microkernel

An RTOS is designed with determinism in mind providing real-time guarantees regarding timing restrictions while a microkernel provides even less functionality than an operating system, only providing basic memory management and communication between hardware devices.

The difference between hard real-time and soft real-time

Hard real-time implies that tasks will be executed exactly as required at all times or else applications fail, requiring especially robust design and greater testing to ensure everything works correctly whereas soft real-time allows for some slack reducing pressure on programmers who can relax requirements slightly giving them more breathing room when implementing their code.

Things to use to build a feature which needs to match results from different sources

A disassembler is a tool that takes compiled binaries back into assembly code allowing developers to manually go through a program's code without having to bother the compiler.

Defence against SQL Injection Attacks

SQL injection attacks allow attackers to make unauthorized changes to applications built on top of databases, usually by passing in specially crafted commands as parameters that will be run as though they were legitimate queries. Developers can make use of parameterized queries or stored procedures for executing database queries which will automatically sanitize user input removing any dangerous elements preventing them from being executed by the database.

Advantages of using Modbus instead of serial communications

Modbus is an open protocol making it easy for people who aren't well-versed in a particular platform or time to make use of it in their software, especially when it comes to working with third-party devices. It's also easy to debug allowing developers immediate access to the data stream coming from other components in an application.

Encrypting a password when sending over the network

Developers can encrypt passwords by hashing them before sending making sure that only the receiving end is capable of decrypting them using a hashing algorithm that they have implemented on their side. For added security, developers could even send confirmation packets every so often requiring users to re-enter their credentials if they're transmitted across any nodes where someone could intercept them without being noticed.

What are some advantages of using HTTP over UDP?

HTTP has lower overhead letting it deal with more data efficiently especially when a lot is happening on the network at once, is connection-oriented so it's easier to manage state without necessarily needing to implement it yourself, and has built-in support for redirection which can be helpful when dealing with lots of servers that need to forward users in different directions.

Advantages of using UDP over TCP

UDP is a connectionless protocol allowing developers greater control over what happens in their code instead of being restricted by features they're unfamiliar with or not having access to them at all making development a little bit easier. It also doesn't have as many performance overheads as its counterpart since packets aren't always passing around overhead meta-information slowing everything down.

If you're using a State Machine to write your code, pattern to use

If you're using a state machine in your application, the recommended pattern is that whenever you receive an event from the outside world, check what state your machine is currently in and take action if it's not correct for whatever intentions the user has. For example, if someone logs into an application at the wrong time of day but they send a request while it's still morning, their login should fail since they haven't provided everything necessary and shouldn't be allowed to proceed until their profile subtly changes.

When writing software tests: priority order: worst to best: unit test -> integration test -> system test

Here we go! Unit testing will provide developers with the easiest feedback loop when developing software, allowing them to tweak their code until everything works seamlessly before moving on to making sure that it all plays well with the rest of the application in an integrated test environment. Lastly, checking your work against how the end-user will use it will allow you to gauge whether or not any bugs need ironing out since developers store assumptions in their heads based on their own experience rather than what people might be doing with your finished product.

Event-driven architecture

An event-driven architecture is a system where events are passed around between different components thoughtfully decoupling them from each other making development easier because the order in which things happen isn't known beforehand and you don't have to orchestrate everything yourself.

Three queues that you can use with the Producer-Consumer design pattern

When writing software tests: priority order: worst to best: unit test -> integration test -> system test

 The three queues that developers can make use of in this type of framework are the producer queue where items are sent, the consumer queue for handling them, and finally, a buffer that holds onto all of these things temporarily giving anyone who needs it access to all of the data. This is useful when there's either too much traffic for one computer to handle or if data needs are sent over an unreliable connection because missing information will just get dropped into this middle space instead of causing crashes due to errors. Embedded software engineers work towards creating high-quality embedded software development tools. Embedded software developers work in embedded software engineering for you to work without an embedded software consultant in embedded software applications. C programming language is a popular option for embedded solutions in medical devices.

People to include in your project for you to be able to use the Adapter design pattern

Anyone who has a lot of knowledge about the surrounding environment will benefit you when using this type of design because they'll be understanding how certain pieces need to interact with each other and won't need any extra clarification. This also includes anyone trying to use your code externally since their requests will go through their version of an adapter before reaching yours.

One way that scalability can be achieved in the Adapter design pattern

One way that we can work towards scalable programs is by deferring responsibility until we need it which means deleting code that isn't necessary and only including what's needed at specific times rather than everything immediately because these systems tend to grow if you let them.

The difference between refactoring and reworking

Refactoring is just changing the structure without making any functional changes to whatever you're working on whereas reworking means that the logic might change as well. This differentiation makes it easier to understand what someone needs to do when asking for help since they'll either need all of the same components but in different places or will be looking for somebody who can manage their system without disruption.

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