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Selecting a Programming Language, Compiler, and Support Environment: Method and Example

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131525D
Original Publication Date: 1982-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 14 page(s) / 47K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Gordon E. Anderson: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

Language selection for a specific microprocessor application is often based on an individual's hesitancy to learn a new language or on imposed requirements. It shouldn 't be. Quite often, high-level programming languages are chosen for applications in a hasty and unscientific manner. With ever-increasing software costs, decisions of this nature should be based upon sound consideration of the technical advantages and disadvantages of available candidate languages. Although there are times when the situation limits the choice of programming languages to one or two possibilities, there are many other cases where the number of language options is quite broad. This article presents a methodology that was developed and used to select a high-level programming language, compiler, and support environment for a real-time, military communication processing application. In this particular situation, requirements for the application were well- defined prior to the actual language selection process. Specifically, the target CPU was to be a National Semiconductor NSC800, a CMOS microprocessor that contains the Zilog Z80 instruction set.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1982 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Selecting a Programming Language, Compiler, and Support Environment: Method and Example

Gordon E. Anderson, TRW-Fujitsu, and Kenneth C. Shumate, Hughes Aircraft

Language selection for a specific microprocessor application is often based on an individual's hesitancy to learn a new language or on imposed requirements. It shouldn 't be.

Quite often, high-level programming languages are chosen for applications in a hasty and unscientific manner. With ever-increasing software costs, decisions of this nature should be based upon sound consideration of the technical advantages and disadvantages of available candidate languages. Although there are times when the situation limits the choice of programming languages to one or two possibilities, there are many other cases where the number of language options is quite broad.

This article presents a methodology that was developed and used to select a high-level programming language, compiler, and support environment for a real-time, military communication processing application. In this particular situation, requirements for the application were well- defined prior to the actual language selection process. Specifically, the target CPU was to be a National Semiconductor NSC800, a CMOS microprocessor that contains the Zilog Z80 instruction set.

Given these requirements, steps were taken toward developing a methodology to select a high- level programming language for the NSC800 application. The process needed to select not only a generic language but also a specific implementation of a language processor and programming support environment. The results of the analysis presented in this article are naturally somewhat specific to the choice of processor and the programming application, but the methodology itself is generally applicable. The predominant consideration in the selection of the language for the microprocessor was the minimizing of life-cycle software maintenance costs. This was especially significant, since the NSC800 was to be configured with 128K bytes of RAM. As a result, it was important to select a language that would facilitate changes and enhancements to the developed software over a number of years. Note that the choice of programming language exerts a major influence on life-cycle software costs and therefore should be chosen with the same care as a major hardware acquisition. Yet, we have observed a number of instances where a programming language was chosen with very little consideration given to any longrange consequences.

Language selection is often based...