Embedded development – what is it?
Embedded development is the creation of software that is embedded directly into the device. It is used to control the device. In everyday life, we are used to calling such software firmware. It is used wherever there are microcontrollers or microprocessors: smartphones, cameras, televisions, refrigerators, microwave ovens – this list includes most modern electronics. Rely on Lemberg Solutions https://lembergsolutions.com/embedded-engineering for embedded software engineering to deliver reliable, secure, upgradable and scalable software for your RTOS-based embedded system.
Milestones of Embedded Software Development
In accordance with the type, scale and requirements of the project, the concept of creation is formed. Here are the main steps:
- preparatory work;
- project creation;
- development, which includes: design, code, verification (which includes operational tests), documentation;
- support, consisting of support and promotion of the project.
Let’s take a closer look at the embedded software development process.
Design and Prototyping
This is the next most important component of the product, which is determined immediately after the technical parameters. It is the design and subsequent prototyping that has a direct impact on the productivity and efficiency of the interaction between the consumer and the device. Needs and basic design conditions are formed in the terms of reference. As practice shows, the most important of them are elementarity, ease of management, instinctiveness and a minimum of effort to manage. Also, aesthetics and harmonious compliance with the general style of the organization or products play an important role. As soon as the outer and inner shell is developed, it will be possible to start filling it with code.
Coding is the most important step after prototyping. It directly depends on whether the built-in embedded system will work or not. This process is accompanied not only by writing lines of code, but also by testing for errors before compilation and bugs after. The complexity of the code depends on the complexity of the commands that are given to the device. The simpler its functionality, the fewer lines of code involved.
High-quality development of embedded programs is impossible without testing at every stage of work. The inspection plan is also formed at the stage of drawing up the terms of reference. The results of the tests are reflected in the documentation. This stage will allow you to identify and eliminate all possible errors initially. Testing at this stage includes a full check of the operation of all systems – both the case and the firmware.
This operation includes fixing the plan, the entire process and the results of software development. It contains absolutely all the initial information: terms of reference, layout, work plans, costs, checks, a list of tasks and their performers in a certain period of time, reporting, and the like. Documentation is required for prompt and clear identification of erroneous actions, transparency of cooperation, is the legal part of the agreement. It also sets standards for further production.
Embedded Software Development Challenges
Embedded software is difficult to maintain. For example, you have created programs for microwave ovens. After the supply is delivered to the manufacturer, many manufactured devices will be sold on the shelves of hundreds of stores. If one of the microwave ovens becomes unusable due to the fault of unfinished software, it is much easier to recover the fine than to return the device to the enterprise and carry out diagnostics, removing the unsuccessful batch from sales. For this reason, the following restrictions appear when creating firmware:
- A half-working program is never put into the devices
- Special attention is paid to the quality of the software due to the fact that after embedding it inside the case, it will be quite problematic to change anything. Therefore, close attention is paid to the stage of trial operation: a small batch of devices is equipped with this program, then cumulative tests are carried out in different operating modes. The specialist collects the maximum amount of data on the dynamics of the software. After that, a detailed analysis and, if necessary, refinement of the software is carried out.
Benefits of Embedded Software Development
Reliability and stability
One of the main advantages of embedded software is its reliability and stability. Embedded systems typically have well-defined functions and operate under highly controlled conditions. This allows developers to optimize software for a specific device and ensure system stability.
Firmware development allows you to optimize the performance of your device, as it is designed to take into account the specific characteristics and limitations of the hardware platform. This improves device performance, reduces power consumption and extends service life.
Built-in software provides increased security of the device. Developers can implement various protection mechanisms against external threats, such as hack protection, data encryption, and user authentication. Thanks to this, end users can be confident in the safety of their data and the reliability of the device.
Flexibility and scalability
Embedded software allows you to flexibly adapt the functionality of the device to specific user needs. Developers can easily add new features, modify existing ones, or integrate the device with other systems. This makes the embedded software scalable and adaptable to changing market demands.
Savings on maintenance and support
Embedded software development reduces the cost of maintaining and supporting devices. Because embedded systems typically perform consistently and reliably, the likelihood of technical issues and device failures is reduced. This means less time and money spent on repairs and maintenance.
When Embedded Software Development Is Necessary
When the device performs specialized functions
Embedded software development is especially relevant for devices that perform specialized functions that require a certain degree of autonomy, reliability and performance. Examples of such devices include industrial controllers, medical devices, automotive systems, and others.
When the device is running under resource constrained conditions
The firmware is optimized to run on devices with limited resources such as CPU time, memory, and power consumption. This makes it suitable for developing systems designed to operate in resource-constrained environments such as IoT devices, mobile apps, and wearables.
When a high degree of security and control is required
Embedded software development provides a high level of security and control over the operation of the device. If your project requires strict control over processes and data handling, embedded software may be the best solution.