Category Archives: Design Issues

Can existing embedded applications benefit from Multicore Technology?

Director at Feabhas Limited
Co-Founder and Director of Feabhas since 1995.
Niall has been designing and programming embedded systems for over 30 years. He has worked in different sectors, including aerospace, telecomms, government and banking.
His current interest lie in IoT Security and Agile for Embedded Systems.

It feels that not a day goes by without a new announcement regarding a major development in multicore technology. With so much press surrounding multicore, you have to ask the question “Is it for me?” i.e. can I utilise multicore technology in my embedded application?

However, from a software developer’s perspective, all the code examples seem to demonstrate the (same) massive performance improvements to “rendering fractals” or “ray tracing programs”. The examples always refer to Amdahl’s Law, showing […]

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The Five Orders of Ignorance

Technical Consultant at Feabhas Ltd
Glennan is an embedded systems and software engineer with over 20 years experience, mostly in high-integrity systems for the defence and aerospace industry.

He specialises in C++, UML, software modelling, Systems Engineering and process development.
Glennan Carnie

It’s not often you read a paper that has something unique and fresh to say about a topic, and expresses it in a clear and concise way.

Somehow, Phillip Armour’s The Five Orders of Ignorance had eluded me, until I found it referenced in another paper.

It really is an interesting point of view on software development.  You can read the paper here.

Armour’s central tenet is software is a mechanism for capturing knowledge. That is, (correct) software is the result of having […]

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More appalling user interface design

Technical Consultant at Feabhas Ltd
Glennan is an embedded systems and software engineer with over 20 years experience, mostly in high-integrity systems for the defence and aerospace industry.

He specialises in C++, UML, software modelling, Systems Engineering and process development.
Glennan Carnie

I came across a wonderfully counter-intuitive piece of user interface design this week.

The room I was in had a sliding shutter (that, for reasons best known to the architects, opened into the main building and not outside).  The two halves of the shutter are controlled independently – that is, you can close one side or the other, or both.  Each shutter is controlled with independent switch panels.

Common sense would suggest a single rocker switch: pushing one side would close the […]

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Releasing Code

Technical Consultant at Feabhas Ltd
Glennan is an embedded systems and software engineer with over 20 years experience, mostly in high-integrity systems for the defence and aerospace industry.

He specialises in C++, UML, software modelling, Systems Engineering and process development.
Glennan Carnie

The Release process

The Release process defines the actions required to deliver a software product to an external customer. The external customer is any entity outside the development department. This may be a true (paying) customer, or may be another engineering department, for example Testing or Production.

The Release process is a triggered activity. The trigger events are scheduled as part of project planning. Defining a release is a project milestone which must define

What will be released
When it will be released […]

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Change Management

Technical Consultant at Feabhas Ltd
Glennan is an embedded systems and software engineer with over 20 years experience, mostly in high-integrity systems for the defence and aerospace industry.

He specialises in C++, UML, software modelling, Systems Engineering and process development.
Glennan Carnie

Change Management is concerned with the proposal, selection and scheduling of changes during the lifecycle of a project.

Change Management is interlinked with, but separate to, Revision Control.

Change Management is the core to controlling your development processes. Without effective Change Management the management of your project is subject to slavish adherence to a (fixed, and pre-determined) project plan, with no mechanism for dealing with inevitable changes in requirements, design, implementation or testing.

It is no surprise that Change Management is at the […]

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Baselines and Branching

Technical Consultant at Feabhas Ltd
Glennan is an embedded systems and software engineer with over 20 years experience, mostly in high-integrity systems for the defence and aerospace industry.

He specialises in C++, UML, software modelling, Systems Engineering and process development.
Glennan Carnie

A baseline is an identified set of files and directories in which there is one and only one version of each file and directory.

A baseline identifies one particular configuration of the software (or a subset thereof)

The baseline represents a fixed point in the development; that may be recreated as required.

Specifying a Baseline

A baseline defines a set of files, each at a particular version. These need not be the latest (most recent) version. A baseline label uniquely identifies the configuration. Files […]

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Configuration Items

Technical Consultant at Feabhas Ltd
Glennan is an embedded systems and software engineer with over 20 years experience, mostly in high-integrity systems for the defence and aerospace industry.

He specialises in C++, UML, software modelling, Systems Engineering and process development.
Glennan Carnie

A Configuration Item (sometimes referred to as a Computer System Configuration Item, or CSCI) is an artefact (hardware and/or software) that has an end-user purpose – that is, it contributes, in some way, towards the attributes of a system or product, or the development processes followed to produce the system or product. A Configuration Item (CI) is an artefact that is treated as a self-contained unit for the purposes of identification and change control. For example:

Specifications
Design models
Source code […]

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Revision Control

Technical Consultant at Feabhas Ltd
Glennan is an embedded systems and software engineer with over 20 years experience, mostly in high-integrity systems for the defence and aerospace industry.

He specialises in C++, UML, software modelling, Systems Engineering and process development.
Glennan Carnie

What is Revision Control?

Revision control is the management of multiple revisions of the same unit of information. The focus is on controlling access to the artefact; and recording the history of changes.

Revision Control is variously known as version control, source control, source code management and several other titles.

Revision control has its roots in the management of engineering blueprints and paper documents. Today, any practical application of Revision Control requires the use of specialist software tools.

Artefact Identification

The core to revision control […]

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Fundamentals of Configuration Management

Technical Consultant at Feabhas Ltd
Glennan is an embedded systems and software engineer with over 20 years experience, mostly in high-integrity systems for the defence and aerospace industry.

He specialises in C++, UML, software modelling, Systems Engineering and process development.
Glennan Carnie

Configuration Management (CM) is a core process in any development activity. Software engineers realise this more than any other discipline, but for many software teams using Subversion as a source code repository is as far as they get. Configuration Management is a lot more than this.

These articles introduce the fundamental concepts of Configuration Management and what they mean to the development team. Revision control is the most well known and understood CM activity but few extend this to develop artefact […]

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The Baker’s Dozen of Use Cases

Technical Consultant at Feabhas Ltd
Glennan is an embedded systems and software engineer with over 20 years experience, mostly in high-integrity systems for the defence and aerospace industry.

He specialises in C++, UML, software modelling, Systems Engineering and process development.
Glennan Carnie

Use cases have become a core part of the requirements analyst’s arsenal.  Used well they can bring dramatic increases in customer satisfaction and a whole host of other subtle benefits to software development.

The use case itself is very simple in concept: describe the functionality of the system in terms of interactions between the system and its external interactors.  The focus of the use case is system usage,  from an external perspective.

Despite this apparent simplicity, requirements analysts frequently struggle to write […]

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