Book Image

Embedded Programming with Modern C++ Cookbook

By : Igor Viarheichyk
Book Image

Embedded Programming with Modern C++ Cookbook

By: Igor Viarheichyk

Overview of this book

Developing applications for embedded systems may seem like a daunting task as developers face challenges related to limited memory, high power consumption, and maintaining real-time responses. This book is a collection of practical examples to explain how to develop applications for embedded boards and overcome the challenges that you may encounter while developing. The book will start with an introduction to embedded systems and how to set up the development environment. By teaching you to build your first embedded application, the book will help you progress from the basics to more complex concepts, such as debugging, logging, and profiling. Moving ahead, you will learn how to use specialized memory and custom allocators. From here, you will delve into recipes that will teach you how to work with the C++ memory model, atomic variables, and synchronization. The book will then take you through recipes on inter-process communication, data serialization, and timers. Finally, you will cover topics such as error handling and guidelines for real-time systems and safety-critical systems. By the end of this book, you will have become proficient in building robust and secure embedded applications with C++.
Table of Contents (17 chapters)

Logging and diagnostics

Logging and diagnostics are an important aspect of any embedded project.

In many cases, using an interactive debugger is not possible or practical. Hardware state can change in a few milliseconds. After a program stops on a breakpoint, a developer does not have enough time to analyze it. Collecting detailed log data and using tools for their analysis and visualization is a better approach for high-performance, multithreaded, time-sensitive embedded systems.

Since in most cases resources are limited, developers often have to make tradeoffs. On the one hand, they need to collect as much data as possible to identify the root cause of failure—whether it is the software or hardware, the status of the hardware components at the time of the failure, and the accurate timing of the hardware and software events handled by the system. On the other hand, the space available for the log is limited, and each time writing the log affects the overall performance.

The solution is buffering log data locally on a device and sending it to a remote system for detailed analysis.

This approach works fine for the development of embedded software. However, the diagnostics of the deployed systems require more sophisticated techniques.

Many embedded systems work offline and do not provide convenient access to internal logs. Developers need to design and implement other ways of diagnostics and reporting carefully. If a system does not have a display, LED indicators or beeps are often used to encode various error conditions. They are sufficient for giving information about the failure category but in most cases cannot provide the necessary details to nail it down to the root cause.

Embedded devices have dedicated diagnostics modes that are used to test the hardware components. After powering up, virtually any device or appliance performs a Power-On Self-Test (POST), which runs quick tests of the hardware. These tests are supposed to be fast and do not cover all testing scenarios. That is why many devices have hidden service modes that can be activated by developers or field engineers to perform more thorough tests.