Full development platform emerges for embedded software lifecycle

The advanced testing features will also be brought to Wind River's recently delivered Linux distribution.
Written by Dana Gardner, Contributor on
At a developer conference today in Santa Clara, CA, architects and specifiers of embedded development infrastructure are getting the first glimpses of a milestone in real-time operating systems (RTOS) and associated development suites. Wind River is unveiling an integrated test and diagnostics capability that ships with the Nov. 7 release of version 6.2 of the VxWorks RTOS and integrated Workbench development products.

Built-in testing during embedded development goes a long way to modernizing the creation and deployment of device-oriented applications, closing the gap between how enterprise applications are routinely tested in development, for example. Wind's latest iteration of its flagship products expands the role of an RTOS to embrace and extend the lifecycle components of modeling, test, tools, deploy, and certify -- a more robust definition of what an integrated development environment (IDE) should be.

The modular VxWorks 6.2 also provides enhanced security, support for strict government standards for robustness and availability, along with the updated tools and a new unit testing Eclipse plug-in. One especially cool new feature is the automated ability from Workbench to generate a diagnostic test script from compiled code in post-production devices in the field. Such test scripts can be gathered to identify specific problem areas as a device encounters the many unknown environmental variables in real-world use.

Such detailed information of in-use issues affords the manufacturer and distributors the ability to quickly develop and deploy patches, to manage recalls early, or to learn swiftly to make changes in the code for the next product batches. This kind of post-production diagnostics at the device level has had to be done on a customized basis, but with Workbench 6.2 can be largely automated -- no small benefit where product liability concerns may be lurking. What's more, these advanced testing features will also, in the future, be brought to Wind River's recently delivered Linux RTOS distribution.

Wind River's inculcation of testing and diagnostics into its Eclipse-based IDE should not come as a surprise, given that Winder River's Chairman and CEO Ken Klein, and CMO John Bruggeman, both came from Mercury Interactive, where the optimization efficiencies of strong testing capabilities helped launch that company on a high-growth trajectory a few years ago.
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