Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (11-07-11): Get Agile about embedded software - Embedded.com

Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (11-07-11): Get Agile about embedded software


Embedded Newsletter for 11-07-2011

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November 7, 2011


Tech Focus: Get Agile about embedded software


Agile embedded?

Using Agile's Scrum in embedded software development

Making late-night debugging an exception rather than the norm

The “Big Thaw” – An Agile Process for Software Certification

Firmware forensics: best practices in embedded software source-code discovery

Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor

The topic of writing and developing high quality, high reliability bug-free software code has been an on-going focus on Embedded.com and in Embedded Systems Design Magazine for two decades. For example, design articles in the November issue are focused on Agile software development, including:

Using Agile's Scrum in embedded software development
Making late-night debugging an exception rather than the norm

We are further emphasizing its importance with the addition of a new columnist to our lineup of regulars – Mike Hogg – who will be writing for the “Agile adventures in an Embedded world ” blog. He will complement the commentary from our other columnists on this topic.

Now more than ever the issue of software quality must be the focus of our attention, by whatever means – Agile Development, Test-Driven Development, Requirements planning and testing, or Extreme Programming.

To fully understand why, read columnist Michael Barr's “Software forensics , ” in which he digs into what should have been done in the recent Toyota software investigation and points out: “Software has become ubiquitous, embedded as it is into the fabric of our lives in literally billions of new (non-computer) products per year, from microwave ovens to electronic throttle controls. ” With so much of our lives permeated by embedded products, he writes, it's imperative to analyze the embedded software properly and thoroughly.

In addition to columns by Jack Ganssle on Agile and a number of other related techniques, here are links to recent blogs, design articles, white papers, and online seminars and classes on Agile. My Editor's Top Picks are:

The “Big Thaw” – an Agile process for software certification
Agile embedded software development
Introducing the Agile desktop

As Jack Ganssle hammers home in one of my favorite columns (A million lines of code), with current code sizes and software complexity, we really do not have a choice.

Design How-Tos

Hardware/software design requirements analysis: Part 1 – Laying the ground work

In this series of articles, Jeffrey O. Grady, author of “System Verification,” delineates the basics of requirements planning and analysis, an important tool for using Agile programming techniques to achieve better code quality and reliability in complex embedded systems software and hardware projects.

Using Agile's Scrum in embedded software development

Keeping the team focused and organized is what Scrum can do for your embedded systems project.

Making late-night debugging an exception rather than the norm

Static analysis finds the bugs, even if you're working under an Agile development process. Here's when and where to use static analysis.

The “Big Thaw” – An Agile Process for Software Certification

To deal with a problem in software certification known as the “Big Freeze” (where all components and tools are frozen in place once a workable design has been achieved) the authors use the “Big Thaw”: continuous monitoring of all activities affected by a change, to keep all artifacts up to date and to preserve the complete system's certifiability.

Agile embedded software development

Developers flee engineering for marketing and management. Why? Big processes are not delivering, and neither is coding chaos. This author says Agile helps address the problems of late projects, high defect levels, and stressed teams.

The basics of being Agile in a real-time embedded systems environment: Part 1

In a three part tutorial, Bruce Powel Douglass, author of “Real-Time Agility,” presents a convincing argument as to why agile approaches are now necessary in embedded software development and how the techniques can be used in the context of real-time embedded applications. Part 1: What is agile development and why use it.

Using model-driven development for agile embedded apps:Part 1 – Why model and why MDA?

In a four part series of tutorials, Bruce Powel Douglass, author of “Real-Time Agility,” presents a convincing argument as to why agile approaches are now necessary in embedded software development and the role of model-driven architectures and development can aid in this process.

Using CMMI for software requirements testing in system design & development

Use the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) standard to improve software project processes, particularly requirements management and traceability.

Using static code analysis for Agile software development

Since the goal of Agile development is to have working software early, source code analysis enables developers to analyze the quality and security of code from day one of coding ” one of the earliest points in the software development process

Requirements Management Reduces Software Defects and Improves Code Quality

Investment in software requirements management, equal to that made for design and coding, is necessary to secure a firm foundation on which to construct a successful project.

Using requirements planning in embedded systems design: Part 1 – Dissecting the requirements document

In this six part tutorial, Keith Curtis takes you step by step through development of an embedded systems design requirements document for a seven digit electronic alarm clock. Part 1: Dissecting the requirements document.

Software for dependable systems

How can we know if a system, and in particular the software, is dependable? An interesting, well-written book tackles this question.

Software processes for embedded systems

In order to assist the software developer, great minds of the 20th Century collaborated to discuss and implement the Waterfall model, and it's mutated cousin, the V-Model. These models are still widely used in industry today, especially in the defence industry.

Embedded Systems Bookshelf


Embedded Books Reading Room
Bernard Cole's favorite links to book excerpts.


Engineer's Bookshelf
Airport fiction blows. A look at books other engineers are reading and why you should read them, too. Recommend and write a review yourself. E-mail Brian Fuller.

Jack Ganssle's Bookshelf
A list of book reviews by Jack Ganssle, contributing technical editor of Embedded Systems Design and Embedded.com.

Max's Cool Beans
Clive “Max” Maxfield, the editor on Programmable Logic DesignLine, often writes about interesting books.


LDRA tool suite integrates MISRA AC for verification of auto-generated code

LDRA's MISRA AC provides independent verification of the auto-generated code, a critical factor in stringent certification requirements.

IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM touts major enhancements for ARM Cortex Users

A new version of IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM (IAR Systems) adds significant speed optimizations and several new features.

Coverity unveils industry's first development testing platform

Coverity, Inc. has announced what it claims to be the industry's first developer-friendly and enterprise ready development testing platform, Coverity 5.5.

Micro Focus releases requirements tool

Micro Focus has launched CaliberRDM, a new tool which will help engineering and project team managers reduce failures in their software development projects.

Microchip Introduces Smallest, Lowest-Cost PIC32 Microcontrollers
The feature-packed 32-bit PIC32 “MX1” and “MX2” MCUs include I²S interface for audio playback applications; plus capacitive touch, USB 2.0 and digital pin remapping and provide 61 DMIPS of performance in packages as small as 5 mm x 5 mm.
Request free samples today!


Agile Adventures in an Embedded World

Mike Hogg leads an embedded development team within Zuhlke, an engineering consultancy. He and his colleagues have been using agile techniques and their precursors for over a decade. http://www.zuhlke.com

Firmware forensics: best practices in embedded software source-code discovery

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