With time to market an ever-increasing pressure, companies are continually striving to compress the design cycle as much as possible.

To save time, they often seek to get a leg up developing the software by adopting various ways to make it look as if the code being developed is running on the target hardware. Until it is actually running on the real hardware, though, no one knows what the nuances will be. Consequently, there is a huge rush to get a board from the board designer’s hands into the hands of the application engineer. To do that, it must pass through the firmware engineers.

It used to take one to two months to write a board support package, or BSP, for an embedded operating system. Now, with complex peripherals and new technologies, it can take as much as four months. Consequently, BSP development has become the neck of an hourglass, constricting the flow from hardware design to application development. That makes it a logical place to increase productivity and thus speed development.

Because the time needed to bring a new board up and develop the BSP depends almost entirely on the strategy and tools chosen, the right choice can accelerate BSP development significantly. That shortens the overall development cycle and enables all of the developers to spend more time putting value into a product, that is really the application and the company’s intellectual property.