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Web-Based Initialization Code Generation System for Embedded Controllers Disclosure Number: IPCOM000005367D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Sep-11
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Sep-11
Document File: 2 page(s) / 27K

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Mike Pauwels: AUTHOR [+1]


Web-Based Initialization Code Generation System for Embedded Controllers

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Web-Based Initialization Code Generation System for Embedded Controllers

By Mike Pauwels and Richard Soja

As microcontrollers (MCUs) have matured over the past several years, they have become increasingly more complex and the problem of configuring a particular MCU to an application has become more and more important. Configuration is controlled by writing parameters into special control registers which are used to control features from the communication baud rate to the strategy required in the event of a memory error. Registers such as these can number in the thousands on a complex MCU. Interactions between the parameters in different registers further complicate the task of initializing the MCU.

MCU organizations have supported the customers' attempts to configure the device to his their applications with manuals and direct Applications Engineering support. As the problem has grown, the use of computer software to accurately generate the initialization code has become more and more necessary. Typically, great sums of money are invested for both internal and external development of these initialization programs.

One limitation of any initialization strategy is that often small changes in the design or implementation of the MCU require corresponding changes in the initialization system. Due to the lead time required to publish the supporting documentation, the data is often outdated before it reaches the customer.

When a new, powerful, state-of-the-art MCU is proposed, typically, a new initialization program is required. The complex nature of a new MCU results in a very high cost for the software. The costs seemed to be attributable to the task of organization and distribution of the software, not the generation of the information itself. Yet this solution cannot address the shortcoming of outdated information.

However, a delivery system for the initialization software is already in place in the form of the World Wide Web. Furthermore, the organization and interaction of the parametric information in similar to the problems faced by the order taking software used by many organizations selling complex systems on the web. For example, the order might be refused until the customer selects a required option, and selecting Option A might preclude selecting Option B, etc.

Furthermore, since the underlying database for the initialization code can be centrally located, updates can be made instantaneously. A further advantage of a web-based initialization system is the ability to identify and provide custom service to particular customers who either are strategically important to Motorola or who have paid for the extraordinary service.

When a new customer browses the wed site, they are allowed to access a certain low level of help anonymously. For example they can search the installed database of manuals and Application Notes and load some elementary device drivers. W...