Platform FPGAs with embedded processors offer you unprecedented levels of flexibility, integration, and performance. It is now possible to develop extremely sophisticated and highly customized embedded systems inside a single programmable logic device.

With silicon capabilities advancing, the challenge centers on keeping design methods efficient and productive. In embedded systems development, one of the key activities is the development of the board support package (BSP). The BSP allows an embedded software application to successfully initialize and communicate with the hardware resources connected to the processor. Typical BSP components include boot code, device driver code, and initialization code.

Creating a BSP can be a lengthy and tedious process that must be incurred every time the microprocessor complex (processor plus associated peripherals) changes. With FPGAs, fast design iterations combined with the inherent flexibility of the platform can make the task of managing the BSP even more challenging. This situation clearly underscores the need for and importance of providing an efficient process for managing BSPs.

In this article, we’ll describe an innovative solution from Xilinx that simplifies the creation and management of RTOS BSPs. We chose the WindRiver VxWorks flow to illustrate the concept; however, the underlying technology is generic and equally applicable to all other OS solutions that support Xilinx® processors.

Reprinted with permission from Xcell Journal / First Quarter 2006. Article © Xcell Journal.