HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Electronic News & Comment
9 Things Engineers Need to Know About Embedded Development
7/24/2012

Image 1 of 2      Next >

Wind River's Platform for Android served in an in-vehicle entertainment system built by Clarion. (Source: Wind River)
Wind River's Platform for Android served in an in-vehicle entertainment system built by Clarion.
(Source: Wind River)

Image 1 of 2      Next >

Return to Article

View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
<<  <  Page 2/2
ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
Why?
ChasChas   7/25/2012 10:52:57 AM
NO RATINGS
 

Okay, Charles, you told us that embedded programming is hard to do. Can you now tell us WHY?

I hear some programmers work better in the nude and all kinds of crazy stories. 

WHY?

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Embedded development reality check
Beth Stackpole   7/25/2012 8:27:26 AM
Great point about agile development practices, William. I'm hearing more and more about those as I start to dive into cloud-based design tools and mobile apps. It's definitely a mind set change. Hopefully, it's a practice being woven into new curriculum to help engineers get their arms around how to do it adeptly.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Embedded development reality check
Charles Murray   7/24/2012 5:23:36 PM
NO RATINGS
Beth: As a former hardware guy, I feel comfortable saying this: Those of us who were educated in mechanical/electrical in the 1980s or earlier are have more trouble bridging that cultural barrier that you refer to. We've been trained to think in terms of hardware, and it's a tough habit to break. Maybe it's a bit of an ego thing, but it's tough to say, "Yes, software is the most important part of our product."

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Embedded development reality check
Charles Murray   7/24/2012 5:17:32 PM
Very good point, Bill. The smartphone industry HAD to learn agile software development to survive, given their rate of progression of their products. Others need to learn to follow their lead.

gsmith120
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Embedded development reality check
gsmith120   7/24/2012 2:15:24 PM
Charles, really good article and lots of good points!!

I know and have been on those projects that seem to keep going and going and begging for someone to put them down.  Many good projects have over run budgets or just failed due to poorly written or no requirements or requirement creeping or engineer's free give aways.

If I had a .01 for every time I've heard an engineer say I can do this better and it would be nice to have this extra feature and just write it in without really understanding it is out of scope and most likely budget, I would be a millionaire. 

I remember having to fight management to purchase good lab equipment to test our designs.  It cost the company more money and the designers unnecessary time due to fighting with management to get what we needed to get the job done.

williamlweaver
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Embedded development reality check
williamlweaver   7/24/2012 9:01:42 AM
NO RATINGS
Great article, Chuck. You have hit many of the major pinch points in embedded development. 
 
I like your first point "It's all about the software" and your second - "Software is a relatively new field... and we're really still figuring it out". The difficulty arises from Moore's law -- with every 18-months the capability of each component doubles as we continue to innovate.
 
Five years late with their product? That's more than three generations out of date before the team launched their first product.
 
If the development team decided to use traditional "requirements-based" project management, they need to freeze the requirements and build to the original specification. But as most teams find out quickly, even if they don't change requirements for new technology, the requirements change because of unanticipated difficulties and incorrect assumptions made by the original designers.
 
May I suggest an initial "Zeroth Point" on your list: "0. Use an Agile Software Development Method". Once the team develops using Agile methods, the subsequent components on your list are still important, but can be altered with less difficulty. The smart-phone industry is one of the best examples of successful Agile development. Pushing software updates to the devices, new models with new features arriving often, and using standard ports and interfaces so upgraded devices can be swapped out with relative ease are slowly becoming the norm.


ttemple
User Rank
Platinum
Software
ttemple   7/24/2012 8:59:12 AM
NO RATINGS
"Software is a relatively new field -- only about 50 or 60 years old -- and we're really still figuring it out,"

I think this is one of the best points in the article.  This is a relatively unrecognized fact in the computer world.  There is a lot about software that we are still trying to figure out.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Embedded development reality check
Beth Stackpole   7/24/2012 8:01:13 AM
NO RATINGS
Great job, Chuck, highlighting the common misperceptions and challenges associated with embedded development. The whole notion that the development effort is predicated more around software design, not hardware design, is a huge cultural barrier for many engineering organizations which may lack a deep pool of expertise in that area and for years, have priortized and emphasized non-software related development.

The tools are also a huge issue. You talk about the need to invest in development tools specifically around writing embedded code. There also needs to be an investment in tools that integrate the embedded development effort with the rest of the product design effort, both mechanical and electrical components. If all the work is done in silos, you can run into intercompatibility problems and design snafus late in the cycle when it is expensive to make changes.

<<  <  Page 2/2
Partner Zone
More Blogs from Electronic News & Comment
The diesel engine, long popular on European roads, is now piquing the interest of American automakers.
As more electric cars and plug-in hybrids hit the highways, the need for battery chargers is growing.
If the design of Subaruís XV Crosstrek Hybrid car is any indication, we may now be seeing the next new wrinkle in the evolution of automotive test simulation.
Despite recent news reports to the contrary, cold winter weather was probably no more than a minor contributor to the Boeing 787ís lithium-ion battery fires last year.
Using sensors and a specialized test stand, engineers have discovered that the root causes of head trauma may lie in a complex pattern of forces that todayís football helmets arenít equipped to handle.
Design News Webinar Series
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
5/13/2014 10:00 a.m. California / 1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Sep 8 - 12, Get Ready for the New Internet: IPv6
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service