XMOS has unveiled the latest version of the xTIMEcomposer Studio development suite for its xCORE multicore microcontrollers. The new integrated development environment (IDE) includes everything that is required for embedded design in a single Eclipse-based environment including an editor, LLVM compiler, debugger, XTA static timing analyzer, simulator, xSCOPE real-time code instrumentation tool and flash burning tools. Available as a free-of-charge beta version for download from the XMOS website, the new tools give every engineer familiar with C programming access to the power and flexibility of multicore technology in developing embedded systems.
“In the past writing ANSI standard C for multicore systems was challenging,” said Nigel Toon, XMOS CEO. “But now, thanks to xTIMEcomposer, it has never been easier for users of conventional MCUs to move to multicore technology. Unlike traditional MCU makers, XMOS is able to offer a complete professional development toolset free-of-charge. You can simply recompile your existing C code for use on xCORE.”
The new xTIMEcomposer Studio tools support simple extensions to standard C that allow developers to easily describe separate tasks and then to run these in parallel on separate logical cores within the xCORE device. Alternatively tasks can be combined on single cores for efficient use of processing resources. Advanced compiler capabilities ensure that pointers are handled safely across these separate tasks.
Customers can take existing C/C++ code and easily recompile for the multicore xCORE devices. This allows engineers to benefit from the much higher performance that is available from the xCORE multicore microcontroller products but makes it easy to develop and ensures that the design is completely safe in operation.
xTIMEcomposer Studio also allows customers to define very accurate timings for their tasks and for I/Os. The xCORE multicore microcontroller platform delivers completely deterministic performance, giving developers the capabilities of a hardware-RTOS (real time operating system) that supports nano-second timings.
As part of this new release, the capabilities of the xSCOPE real-time code instrumentation tool have been significantly improved. Users can observe the behaviour of their code and I/Os in real-time while the system is running on the xCORE device and in their system.
According to the company xTIMEcomposer is the industry’s only fully featured development environment that supports all three common operating system platforms (Windows, Linux and MacOS) and is available free-of-charge.
The xTIMEcomposer includes xSOFTip, a comprehensive library of soft peripheral IP and processing blocks that can be used to configure xCORE multicore microcontrollers. A GUI-based tool called xSOFTip Explorer allows developers to easily browse blocks and configure xCORE devices with any combination of interfaces and peripherals they need.
xTIMEcomposer and xSOFTip allow developers to build real-time embedded applications within a unified design flow. The designer configures the xCORE device using xSOFTip IP blocks to add the specific set of interfaces and creates application code in C or C++, with real-time extensions, via the same flow. The result is a custom chip and associated application code that exactly meets the needs of the target system.