Mbed moves to new IoT development tools

August 05, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Mbed moves to new IoT development tools
The Mbed open source operating system for the Internet of Things (IoT)  is undergoing a dramatic change in its development tools.

The current tools around the Mbed IoT operating system will stop, with a completely new set for the latest version of the operating system in the next few months. Over 450,00 developers use the technology with 150 boards.

“We've been working on the next version of the Mbed Tools for some time now, and believe now is a fine time to share additional details about why we've been working on new tools, the design goals of the new tools, and how we'll be rolling the new tools out,” said Jaeden Amero, Principal Software Engineer at Arm.

“As we've built and maintained our Mbed Tools for a number of years now, we've come to understand that Mbed Tools and their integration into the Mbed Online Compiler have a number of limitations,” he said. The main challenge is the Online Compiler, where the tool has to support all versions of Mbed OS 5.x and 6.x operating system, currently at version 6.1. It isn't feasible to change the Online Compiler to use the Mbed Tools shipped with the Mbed OS version the compiler is targeting. The version of Mbed Tools that the Online Compiler use are the naturally the ones from the latest Mbed OS version.

This limits the testing that can be done with the tools for each new release. While there is some automated software testing of the Mbed Tools and the Online Compiler with multiple versions of Mbed OS. Unfortunately, the test system takes around 16 hours to run and provide feedback. This leads to a very error prone and manual release process.

“Given this release overhead, we are too busy making releases to improve the tools,” said Amero. “ It’s really inefficient to work on the tools now: high effort, for a low return on that effort. The tools have become an unmaintainable mess within which we can’t improve anything, including maintainability, as we are too busy trying to keep

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