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  1. Technology
September 22, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

Alameda, California-based Wind River Systems Inc introduced Tornado, its next-generation development environment for embedded applications, last week. The company said the environment will do away with time-to-market problems for developers by eliminating functional dependencies between the host and target that characterise traditional cross development systems. The problem with embedded systems until now has been that product development has been hampered by poor communication between the host development system and the target system, limited target resources, including memory and input-output and a lack of tools, the company said. To address these issues, it has developed Tornado, claiming the technology is scalable across small, resource-constrained targets, up to large-scale embedded systems. Tornado is a development environment based upon VxWorks 5.3, plus a suite of cross-development tools and utilities for Ethernet, serial line, in-circuit and ROM emulation. Wind River has tackled the host-target problem by shifting development tools – including the shell, loader and symbol table – to the host system. Migrating tools from the target to the host is made possible by the use of a scalable agent on the target.

Run-time independent

The agent, which acts as a representative for the tools, connects the tools to the target run-time system. It is run-time- independent and deals with specific tasks and system-wide requests, switching between the two on demand. Working in much the same way as the target agent, a host-based target server ensures that tools are independent of the target system. It acts as a ‘tools broker’ such that all host tools access the target through a single server, whose function is to satisfy tool requests by breaking each request into the necessary transactions with the target agent. The target server manages details of the target connection, enabling individual tools to ignore host-to-target transport mechanisms. Features include target memory cache, host-based memory management and a streamlined host-target protocol to reduce communication traffic and improve cross development. Tornado interfaces include Tool Command Language and the use of dynamically linked libraries for loading and unloading object files. Wind River has a clutch of independent software vendors signed up for Tornado including Natick, Massachusetts-based Mathworks Inc; Canadian company ObjecTime Ltd; Sunnyvale, California-based Real Time Innovations; and San Diego, California-based XLNT Designs Inc. Wind River claims that it will have other third parties by November when Tornado ships. It has a full simulator back-end, with a hook to Unix file systems. Tornado tools include Launcher, which enables the management and monitoring of target servers; WindConfig for configuration of support packages; CrossWind, its source level debugger; C and C++ compilers; a host-based shell interface for interaction with VxWorks; an incremental loader; and system diagnostics and performance monitoring modules. Tornado is up on Motorola Inc’s 68000, Intel Corp’s iAPX-86 targets plus a selection of Unix and personal computer hosts. Wind River expects to support all embedded architectures by April 1996. Tornado tags go from $23,500.

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