There are two assignments that every technical editor always gets atthe end of the year: (1) coming up with a list of the most popular orsignificant stories of the previous year, and (2) projecting ahead andproviding a glimpse into the near future about possible directions atechnology or market will go.
The second is usually much tougher than the first. But doing thefirst often helps provide a window into what is, or could be, comingnext.
Top Technical Insights for 2006
Overall, for the year, five Web destinations garnered the most visitortraffic, including: 1) October's “BlockDiagrams as a system design language” series of articles, 2) March's series of articleson B#, June's multiparttutorial on real time Java, 3) November's tutorials ontransient immunity and 4) December's new EmbeddedTear Down feature.
Coming in close to the top each month were articles onmultiprocessing, multicore, and multithreading issues. Interest inthese topics also made the Moreabout Multicores and Multithreading page the #5 top destination for theyear overall as well.
On a month-by-month basis,following are the top Technical Insight stories for 2006:
January: Puttingmulticore processing in context
February: Usingobject-oriented methods to achieve C++'s promise
March: B#- A programming language for small footprint embedded systems
April: Linuxdevice driver design
May: Howto statically ensure software reliability
June: Tutorial:Developing real-time and safety-critical embedded Java
July: Howto use UML in your SoC hardware/software design
August: Buildinga real-time distributed publish-subscribe framework
September: Avoidingthe most common software development goofs
October: Usingblock diagrams as a system design “language”
November: Improvingtransient immunity in your MCU-based design
December: TearDown – High-end mouse goes where no mouse has gone
What's next for 2007?
A simple extrapolation based on what you have “voted' for in terms oftraffic on the Web site tells me that the stories that should be covered include 1) more abouttransient immunity issues; 2) more sophisticated tools for software debug and error checking; 3) frameworks for linking real timedeterministic embedded applications to enterprise level computersystems; 4) doing developmentusing Linux or dual Linux/RTOS; and 5) more effective ways to do program development in C, C++ and Java.
But conversations with you and a lot of reading tell me is that the hot stories for 2007 will alsoinclude the following topics:
1) Using small footprint real time Java orJava alternatives for use not only in mobile systems butin the flood of sensor-based designs in industrial and buildingenvironments allowing monitoring, debugging and upgrading of fieldedsystems and devices.
2) Effective programming,software development and debugging tools and frameworks for Symmetric andAsymmetric Multiprocessing in both homogeneous and heterogeneousprocessor environments.
3) High level developmenttools for (i) integrating hardware and software design; (ii)integrating high level systems design environments such as UML withtraditional embedded development environments so that there is a moreseamless connection between programming at the bit level and at thesystem definition at level.
4) The emergence of a common industry wide API for software development onmulticore and multiprocessor based systems. Right now most developersare sticking with familiar symmetric multiprocessing homogeneousdesigns in which the tools are well understood versions used in currentuniprocessor designs. The next wave of multicores and multiprocessorswill be asymmetric and heterogeneous. How do we do development in suchenvironments?
5) Replacements orextensions to current hardware debuginterfaces such as JTAG that more adequately deal with the needsof multicore SoCs designs.
6) Fundamental rethinking ofthe role of realtime operating systems in multicore designs, incorporation ofnew features or extensions of old ones.
7) Data flow orientedprogramming environments and methodologies to reflect the shiftto more network-like interconnect topologies on new system on chipdesigns.
8) Development of protocolsand methodologies for real time web services interactions between servers and devices and direct peer-to-peer linksamong controllers in confederations of devices in distributed wired andwireless networks.
What do you think?
Which articles were at the top of your list of favorites for the pastyear and why? And what do you think are the technology trends that areemerging that need fuller exposition on this site?