The free, Web-based airhdl register file generator from noasic GmbH, an FPGA design and coaching consultancy and EDA tool developer, uses a simple, online definition tool to create register definitions from which the tool then automatically generates HDL, a C header file, and HTML documentation. The company’s CEO Guy Eschemann has been working with FPGAs for more than 15 years, so he’s got considerable experience in the need to create bulletproof register definitions to achieve design success. His company noasic is a member of the Xilinx Alliance Program.
What’s the big deal about creating registers? Many complex FPGA-based designs now require hundreds or even thousands of registers to operate and monitor a system and keeping these register definitions straight and properly documented, especially within the context of engineering changes, is a tough challenge for any design team.
“The hardware/firmware interface is the junction where hardware and firmware meet and communicate with each other. On the hardware side, it is a collection of addressable registers that are accessible to firmware via reads and writes. This includes the interrupts that notify firmware of events. On the firmware side, it is the device drivers or the low-level software that controls the hardware by writing values to registers, interprets the information read from the registers, and responds to interrupt requests from the hardware. Of course, there is more to hardware than registers and interrupts, and more to firmware than device drivers, but this is the interface between the two and where engineers on both sides must be concerned to achieve successful integration.”
The airhdl EDA tool from noasic is designed to help your hardware and software/firmware teams “achieve successful integration” by creating a central nexus for defining the critical, register-based hardware/firmware interface. It uses a single register map (with built-in version control) to create the HDL register definitions, the C header file for firmware’s use of those registers, and the HTML documentation that both the hardware and software/firmware teams will need to properly integrate the defined registers into a design.
Here’s an 11-minute video made by noasic to explain the airhdl EDA tool:
Consider signing up for access to this free tool. It will very likely save you a lot of time and effort.
For more information about airhdl, use the links above or contact noasic GmbH directly.