PLS moves UDE debug tool to 64bit with Python

PLS moves UDE debug tool to 64bit with Python

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By Nick Flaherty

Programmierbare Logik & Systeme (PLS) in Germany has launched a new version of its Universal Debug Engine (UDE) test and debug tool for multicore system-on-chip devices.

An intuitive user interface for debugging highly complex, next-generation multi-core system-on-chip designs in UDE 2021 adds a Python console with more optimised code coverage functions. To make analysis and debug of applications running on microcontrollers and processors with an ever-increasing number of cores more efficient, PLS is using a completely new layout framework in the UDE 2021 and a fully 64bit code base.

In contrast to the previous layout with fixed dock locations left, right, top and bottom and a central tab window in which windows were accessible via tabs, all windows in the debugger – which, for example, display the source code, internal states such as variables or registers, or also provide graphical visualizations – can now be arranged and grouped completely flexibly within the UDE user interface.

If required, the user can create a new dock location at any time or add a window as a new tab to an existing dock location. In addition, dock locations can also be created outside the main UDE window to accommodate single or multiple UDE windows. This allows for multi-monitor debug operation.

The Perspectives mode allows users to define multiple views within a debug session and switch between them to focus on a specific task. This is particularly useful for multi-core debugging, when the developer wants to analyze the behaviour of, for example, a core in detail. Perspectives can be created freely and debug windows can be placed and arranged in them without restriction.

The code coverage functions of UDE 2021, which provide developers with a metric for test quality, are also enhanced.  The Universal Debug Engine (UDE) relies exclusively on trace information to calculate code coverage which means there is no need for instrumentation of the code under test. The entire code coverage analysis is therefore non-invasive and does not affect the runtime behaviour of the application at any time.

The code coverage results are presented in compact form for all calculated coverage levels and can be clearly displayed starting from the function level down to individual instructions at the object code level. A trace recording can be conveniently filtered for interesting functions or code regions. In addition, the handling of the code coverage functions has been considerably simplified.

With UDE 2021, neither explicit activation nor preselection of the desired coverage level is necessary. Generation and output of code coverage reports has also been improved and extended. Besides HTML, now also CSV, XML and plain text are available as output formats, whereby content and appearance of the reports can be easily customized according to individual needs.

The calculation algorithms for code coverage have also been fundamentally revised, which in practice leads to a significant acceleration of the analysis. The UDE object model, the software API for scripting and tool coupling, has also been optimized concerning the code coverage. This allows third party tools, such as external test tools, to better control the code coverage provided by UDE for the evaluation of the quality of test cases, which ultimately leads to even more meaningful results.

The Python console means the popular scripting language can now not only be used for external scripting such as remote control of the UDE via a command line, but can now also be used as a command language within UDE.

This allows users to execute functions of the Component Object Model (COM)-based UDE software API directly within UDE as Python commands. The user is supported by auto-completion and context-sensitive help. The executed commands can also be saved as a script to be able to load and run them again. An integrated script debugger is available for easy debugging of the Python scripts.

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