Micrium's uCProbe v3.2 visualizes embeddded code at run time - Embedded.com

Micrium’s uCProbe v3.2 visualizes embeddded code at run time

Micrum /has added a new application to its Windows-based software for its newest uCProbe v3.2 that allows embedded engineers to visualize what is happening in an application and change the behavior of embedded systems based on what they see.

According to Jean Labrosse, Micrium founder, president and CEO, via the new LiveWatch tool (Figure 1, below) , µC/Probe v3.2 can read from and write to the memory (or I/O) of just about any embedded processor during run-time, and represent those values as a graphical objects: gauges, meters, numeric indicators, LEDs, sliders, graphs, and many others.

Figure 1. uC/Probe Graphical Live Watch
In this newest version the company has added a Microsoft Excel interface allowing additional computation to be performed on live data and to further display the data graphically using Excel’s built-in charting tool,.It allows developers to write scripts to configure the target, and via a terminal window use a wide range of communication interfaces including the recent addition of USB.

.Labrosse said µC/Probe's visualization featuresy can be used to extend the capabilities of debugging software by running both it and debugger at the same time. This combination, he said, allows developers to have instant control over global variables in a real-time and non-intrusive way.

There are several ways in which the visualizeing probe can be used. One is to provide µC/Probe with an ELF file with DWARF-2, -3 or -4 debugging information (Figure 2 below ).

Figure 2.. µC/Probe Data Flow Diagram

The ELF file is generated by the developer's tool chain linker after which µC/Probe parses it and reads the addresses of each of the embedded target’s symbols (i.e. global variables). It then creates a catalog known as symbol browser, which can be used select the symbols the developer wants to use on the visualizer dashboard.

Alternatively, the developer can provide a chip definition file that contains the chip’s peripheral register addresses or provide a custom XML based symbol file for those cases when a specific code toolchain cannot generate one of the supported ELF formats.

After the ucProbe has been configured to use one of the four communication interfaces – JTAG, USB, RS232 or TCP/IP – at run time it starts making requests to read the value of all the memory locations associated with each virtual control and indicator that has been set up individually by the developer. It then sends commands to write the memory locations,associated with each virtual control, parses the responses from the embedded target and updates the virtual controls and indicators.

µC/Probe works with a wide variety of embedded processors, and suppose communication via J-Link, TCP/IP, USB, RS-232 or Proxies such as the IAR Systems Embedded Workbench Plugin for µC/Probe or the Eclipse Plugin for µC/Probe.

The LiveWatch tool is available in several versions: Educational/Evaluation (free), Basic, or Professional. The paid versions are available in several convenient licensing levels allowing customers to pay monthly, yearly or, move all the way up to a perpetual license.

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