Rounding Out Your Embedded Systems Development Environment

By Matt Gordon, Micrium

A well-written RTOS should be compatible with practically any development environment. There is an indisputable difference, though, between environments that merely provides a means of building and running an RTOS, and ones that make it possible to fully realize the RTOS’s potential. Micrium, having long offered the award-winning μC/Probe tool to help developers enhance their embedded systems projects, recently introduced another innovative addition to the typical embedded systems development environment: μC/Trace.

To diagnose problems in an embedded system, it’s often helpful to have a history of the system’s execution, and μC/Trace provides just such a history. However, unlike the tools available with many embedded systems debuggers, μC/Trace provides high-level trace information. In other words, rather than simply displaying a confusing list of the countless instructions that were executed prior to reaching a particular line of code, μC/Trace represents a system’s history as a series of task switches and kernel function calls, allowing its users to easily identify problems and performance bottlenecks.

In the main program window of μC/Trace, important events are depicted on a vertical timeline, as shown in the below screenshot. In this highly interactive timeline, developers can zoom in on important passages, filter out events that are not of interest, and click on tasks and ISRs to view a variety of helpful statistics. Accompanying the vertical timeline are numerous auxiliary views, each of which is capable of providing additional insight into an embedded system’s behavior.


μC/Trace can be used alongside nearly any compiler-debugger combination, and it requires very little in the way of embedded resources. Additional information on this innovative tool is available from the Micrium Web site. Visitors to the site can view μC/Trace screenshots, download an evaluation package, and even purchase the software download an evaluation package, and even purchase the software.

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