Posted by Hobson Bullman 26 January 2011
A couple of weeks before Christmas, ARM released v5.3 of its new software development suite, DS-5.
DS-5 is a new product, introduced to the market last year, but it builds on 20 years of software development tools from ARM.
I have been personally involved in this development since inception, when we decided to embrace open source frameworks and build around Eclipse, and I’m very proud of what we have achieved. We’ve created a great new development tool chain with very broad applicability, helping to make it even easier to develop for ARM based platforms, and enabling collaboration with our partners and the ecosystem.
In this short article, I’ll describe what I mean by all this.
Firstly, at the heart of the ARM tools is comprehensive support for the ARM device itself. The tools are used here at ARM during the development and validation of the ARM architecture and ARM CPU, and are designed to make the best use of the features provided by the CPU and associated debug and trace capabilities with technology such asCoreSight. Leading edge CPU support is followed by optimised tools support for specific silicon implementations to ensure the best performance of your application and make it as easy as possible to program on advanced ARM devices. Today, there is a huge variety of ARM based silicon, and we work closely with silicon providers to ensure that ARM tools are optimized for as many ASICs and ASSPs as we can.
DS-5 Debugger contains an ever growing database of supported parts; we are adding around 10 a month.
Secondly, a key aim of the ARM tools is to enable and facilitate software development at all stages of the design flow. We have a debug probe, DSTREAM, used for connecting to the target.
So, DS-5 can be used pre-silicon, and then during the subsequent stages of silicon bring-up, boot code development, OS and driver development, and ultimately application development. Our Partners tell us that being able to use a single tool chain at all stages of software design eases the rollout and adoption of new silicon, for hardware and software engineers alike.
Thirdly, in order to support all aspects of software development, DS-5 comes with a range of included tools, and we’re adding to these all the time. The DS-5 Debugger was the first tool, introduced in the first version of DS-5 in early 2010. In the second half of 2010, we added Streamline, a performance analyser for Linux applications, based on the powerful performance counters in the ARM core. In the next release, we will be adding the highly optimising ARM Compilation Tools. And so on. As I said at the start of this post, DS-5 is fully Eclipse-based, this allows integration with many third party tools: build systems, source control, quality assurance tools, and more. We like the community model of an open source IDE with published interfaces, as it enables us to collaborate with our Partners and customers in ways that were difficult before: this opens up opportunities for everyone.
Finally, here at ARM we believe that it’s important to not only provide all these capabilities, but to provide them in a form that is easy to learn and easy to use, but without compromising on functionality. DS-5 is a new tool for which we put a lot of effort into the “out of the box experience”. By way of an example, when debugging Linux applications on supported platforms, the tool will take care of downloading and connecting to the debug server: developers simply need to specify the platform and the IP address. This reduces a complex task using several applications and a terminal, to just a couple of steps in the IDE. A second example: when using Streamline to profile on a multi-core system, we came up with a timeline view which lets you intuitively zoom from an aggregated view to a per-core view. See the screen shot below where I’ve expanded the CPU load to show me per-CPU details (on a dual core system, here), but for now I’ve left all other measures as an aggregate across cores.
So, in summary, DS-5 is the new tool chain from ARM: we’re building a system to support software development across the broad spectrum where ARM technology is being used.
My team and I are proud to have produced DS-5, and we have a whole host of additions and new target support planned over the coming months.
I encourage you to try it out using the 30-day evaluation version at http://www.arm.com/ds5, and let us know what you think.
Hobson Bullman is Director of Engineering, System Design Division, ARM. Hobson has worked at ARM since 1996, in a variety of roles but always within the engineering department. Hobson has represented ARM at various industry bodies and community organisations, including the Eclipse foundation, the Nexus 5001 Forum, and the Symbian Foundation.