How SysConfig Boosts Embedded System Development

One of the major challenges facing embedded system developers is how to configure the system efficiently and accurately. Today’s advanced microcontrollers (MCUs) include various types of processor cores, hardware accelerators, advanced radios, sophisticated peripheral devices and interfaces, and packages with complex pin multiplexing schemes.

One of the major challenges facing embedded system developers is how to configure the system efficiently and accurately. Today’s advanced microcontrollers (MCUs) include various types of processor cores, hardware accelerators, advanced radios, sophisticated peripheral devices and interfaces, and packages with complex pin multiplexing schemes.

Many semiconductor suppliers provide software examples that can provide a starting point for embedded designs, but developers usually have to modify various parameters, events, and variables to optimize the software for specific applications. These modifications usually require consulting many technical documents to identify and update specific registers or source code lines. Considering the complexity of the code sequence and various naming conventions, such manual modification is more prone to errors. The number of updates may also grow exponentially, depending on the number of options supported by a given software component and the number of options used by the desired application. Manual updates may also introduce resource conflicts that are not discovered until a later stage of the build process, resulting in blocked operations and potentially multiple useless instructions.

To help simplify configuration and accelerate software development, Texas Instruments created SysConfig (a unified software configuration tool). The tool has an intuitive and comprehensive collection of graphical applications that can be used to configure pins, peripherals, radios, subsystems, and other components. SysConfig helps you visually manage, discover and resolve conflicts so that you have more time to create differentiated applications.

SysConfig displays all configurable parameters in the graphical user interface and displays configuration options in a drop-down list. When interacting with SysConfig, mouse hovering, tool tips and visual cues can guide you in effective configuration. Contextual documents are directly embedded in the interface, and related documents and definitions are exposed and linked in the tool, so as to provide you with the correct information and help you configure the software when needed. You no longer need to search through numerous documents and lines of source code to find a way to update parameters. Instead, you can use the TI LaunchPad™ development kit or your own custom hardware to quickly create your initial configuration and spend more time innovating in the application.

SysConfig is smart. The motherboard view of the LaunchPad development kit shows the pins used on the motherboard and the expansion connectors shown in Figure 1. SysConfig understands which pins and resources the application is already using, and can help automatically resolve potential conflicts when enabling and configuring other components. For example, if you want to add an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) instance to the project, SysConfig will automatically find and assign the next available ADC peripherals and pins. Use the plus sign to easily add resources, and drop-down menus to help organize the available options. Color coding helps indicate conflicts, shared resources, and successful allocations.

How SysConfig Boosts Embedded System Development

Figure 1: Example of a circuit board view of the LaunchPad development kit

The device view of SysConfig is useful for custom hardware development with similar information levels. The software view (the Z-Stack configuration view shown in Figure 2) provides an overview of the configurable parameters and displays a list of options for each parameter (in this example, the Zigbee device type). Just click the mouse to change the default setting from Zigbee connector to Zigbee terminal device. Hovering over the “?” icon with the mouse will Display more detailed information about these parameters, and the updated software will be displayed in the preview pane. In this initial version, SysConfig supports most SimpleLink™ MCU pin and driver configurations, including radio frequency (RF) parameters and wired and wireless communications for Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Thread, 15.4 and EasyLink The configuration of the technology stack. It also supports multi-protocol configuration. You can easily update the default settings to quickly find the best combination of RF and stack settings for your use case. You can also export the parameters to other TI tools, including TI’s Smart RF™Studio, for further testing and adjustment.

How SysConfig Boosts Embedded System Development

Figure 2: Example stack configuration view

SysConfig is now available for desktop and cloud in TI’s Code Composer Studio™ integrated development environment (IDE). It can also be used as a standalone tool with other IDEs, including IAR Embedded Workbench for Arm processors.

The functionality of SysConfig will continue to expand over time. The tool will follow the quarterly release rhythm of the SimpleLink software development kit and introduce new features to continue to improve the efficiency of developers.

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