Design Con 2015

Bug-killing standards for firmware coding

March 24, 2009

Michael.Barr-March 24, 2009

I look back fondly on the five years I spent helping to produce compelling issues of this great magazine, especially the three and a half years I served as its editor-in-chief. However, I was an engineer first, continued to write embedded software while I edited the magazine, and never doubted I would return to full-time firmware development afterward, as I did in early 2005.

The practice of embedded software development was my first professional passion and remains my most important. But I also enjoy writing books and articles about the subject and am thankful to current Editorial Director Rich Nass for granting me space in this column. It is with genuine pleasure that I sit down to write to you again, my peers, about important ideas.

I have experienced a lot in the field of embedded systems design in the four years I have been away from writing. Much of my focus during this time, across projects ranging from Zigbee-powered security badges to FDA-regulated medical devices, has been on the development of a system of practical techniques to keep bugs out of firmware.

I plan to use this column to expound on what I've learned about keeping bugs out, in the hopes that what has worked at my company will work at yours.

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