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Embedded Systems December 2000 Vol13_13

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DAVID B. STEWART Software Components for Real Time Create your own framework for component-based real-time software without a huge cost, effort, or run-time overhead. omponent-based software helps you get a system working quickly, keep costs down, and reuse the most robust software from prior applications. This article presents methods for creating your own framework for component-based real-time software without the huge cost, effort, or software overhead associated with using commercial tools that are dedicated to this task. Any C programming environment can be used to create compo- nents with minimal increase in CPU or memory usage. The discussion will focus on techniques for modular decomposition, detailed design, commu- nication, synchronization, scheduling, I/O drivers, and real-time analysis. The solutions can be implemented as a layer above your favorite RTOS, or stand-alone for performance- and memory-constrained applications that do not use an RTOS. The techniques have been demonstrated on a variety of microcontrollers and general-purpose processors. They've been used in applications including robotics, locomotive control, amusement devices, consumer electroni cs, and satelli te modems. A component-based software paradigm can be used effectively in the design of embedded real-time sys tems to provide advantages such as soft- ware reuse, improved maintainabili ty, reconfiguring software on the fly, and ability to easily fin e-tune a real-time application's timing properties. A more detailed discussion ofth e advantages to using component- based soft- ware is given in .lI 5] In this paper, we present techniques for developing the solid frame- work needed to support component-based software, using the port-based 100 DECEMBER 2000 Embedded Systems Programming

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