1. Overview of Nios II Embedded Development

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1 January 2014 NII Overview o Nios II Embedded Development NII The Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook provides the basic inormation needed to develop embedded sotware or the Altera Nios II processor. This handbook describes the Nios II sotware development environment, the Nios II Embedded Design Suite (EDS) tools available to you, and the process or developing sotware. This chapter provides a high-level overview o the embedded sotware development environments or the Nios II processor, and contains the ollowing sections: Prerequisites or Understanding the Nios II Embedded Design Suite on page 1 1 Finding Nios II EDS Files on page 1 1 Nios II Sotware Development Environment on page 1 2 Nios II EDS Development Flows on page 1 2 Nios II Programs on page 1 3 Altera Sotware Packages or Embedded Systems on page 1 5 Nios II Embedded Design Examples on page 1 5 Third-Party Embedded Tools Support on page 1 6 Additional Nios II Inormation on page 1 6 Prerequisites or Understanding the Nios II Embedded Design Suite Finding Nios II EDS Files The Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook assumes you have a basic amiliarity with embedded processor concepts. You do not need to be amiliar with any speciic Altera technology or with Altera development tools. Familiarity with Altera hardware development tools can give you a deeper understanding o the reasoning behind the Nios II sotware development environment. However, sotware developers can create and debug applications without urther knowledge o Altera technology. When you install the Nios II EDS, you speciy a root directory or the EDS ile structure. This root directory must be adjacent to the Quartus II installation. For example, i the Nios II EDS 10.0 is installed on the Windows operating system, the root directory might be c:\altera\100\nios2eds. For simplicity, this handbook reers to this directory as <Nios II EDS install path> Altera Corporation. All rights reserved. ALTERA, ARRIA, CYCLONE, HARDCOPY, MAX, MEGACORE, NIOS, QUARTUS and STRATIX are Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. O. and/or trademarks o Altera Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. All other trademarks and service marks are the property o their respective holders as described at Altera warrants perormance o its semiconductor products to current speciications in accordance with Altera s standard warranty, but reserves the right to make changes to any products and services at any time without notice. Altera assumes no responsibility or liability arising out o the application or use o any inormation, product, or service described herein except as expressly agreed to in writing by Altera. Altera customers are advised to obtain the latest version o device speciications beore relying on any published inormation and beore placing orders or products or services. Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook January 2014 Subscribe

2 1 2 Chapter 1: Overview o Nios II Embedded Development Nios II Sotware Development Environment Nios II Sotware Development Environment The Nios II EDS provides a consistent sotware development environment that works or all Nios II processor systems. With the Nios II EDS running on a host computer, an Altera FPGA, and a JTAG download cable (such as an Altera USB-Blaster download cable), you can write programs or and communicate with any Nios II processor system. The Nios II processor s JTAG debug module provides a single, consistent method to connect to the processor using a JTAG download cable. Accessing the processor is the same, regardless o whether a device implements only a Nios II processor system, or whether the Nios II processor is embedded deeply in a complex multiprocessor system. Thereore, you do not need to spend time manually creating interace mechanisms or the embedded processor. The Nios II EDS includes proprietary and open-source tools (such as the GNU C/C++ tool chain) or creating Nios II programs. The Nios II EDS automates board support package (BSP) creation or Nios II processor-based systems, eliminating the need to spend time manually creating BSPs. The BSP provides a C/C++ runtime environment, insulating you rom the hardware in your embedded system. Altera BSPs contain the Altera hardware abstraction layer (HAL), an optional RTOS, and device drivers. Nios II EDS Development Flows A development low is a way o using a set o development tools together to create a sotware project. The Nios II EDS provides the ollowing development lows or creating Nios II programs: The Nios II Sotware Build Tools (SBT), which provides two user interaces: The Nios II SBT command line The Nios II SBT or Eclipse The Nios II SBT Development Flow The Nios II SBT allows you to create Nios II sotware projects, with detailed control over the sotware build process. The same Nios II SBT utilities, scripts and Tcl commands are available rom both the command line and the Nios II SBT or Eclipse graphical user interace (GUI). The SBT allows you to create and manage single-threaded programs as well as complex applications based on an RTOS and middleware libraries available rom Altera and third-party vendors. The SBT provides powerul Tcl scripting capabilities. In a Tcl script, you can query project settings, speciy project settings conditionally, and incorporate the sotware project creation process in a scripted sotware development low. Tcl scripting is supported both in Eclipse and at the command line. For inormation about Tcl scripting, reer to the Nios II Sotware Build Tools chapter o the Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook. Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook January 2014 Altera Corporation

3 Chapter 1: Overview o Nios II Embedded Development 1 3 Nios II Programs The Nios II SBT or Eclipse The Nios II SBT or Eclipse is a thin GUI layer that runs the Nios II SBT utilities and scripts behind the scenes, presenting a uniied development environment. The SBT or Eclipse provides a consistent development platorm that works or all Nios II processor systems. You can accomplish all sotware development tasks within Eclipse, including creating, editing, building, running, debugging, and proiling programs. The Nios II SBT or Eclipse is based on the popular Eclipse ramework and the Eclipse C/C++ development toolkit (CDT) plugins. The Nios II SBT creates your project makeiles or you, and Eclipse provides extensive capabilities or interactive debugging and management o source iles. The SBT or Eclipse also allows you to import and debug projects you created in the Nios II Command Shell. For details about the Nios II SBT or Eclipse, reer to the Getting Started with the Graphical User Interace chapter o the Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook. For details about Eclipse, visit the Eclipse Foundation website ( The Nios II SBT Command Line In the Nios II SBT command line development low, you create, modiy, build, and run Nios II programs with Nios II SBT commands typed at a command line or embedded in a script. You run the Nios II SBT commands rom the Nios II Command Shell. For urther inormation about the Nios II SBT in command-line mode, reer to the Getting Started rom the Command Line chapter o the Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook. To debug your command-line program, import your SBT projects to Eclipse. You can urther edit, rebuild, run, and debug your imported project in Eclipse. Nios II Programs Each Nios II program you develop consists o an application project, optional user library projects, and a BSP project. You build your Nios II program to create an Executable and Linking Format File (.el) which runs on a Nios II processor. The Nios II SBT creates sotware projects or you. Each project is based on a makeile. Makeiles and the SBT The makeile is the central component o a Nios II sotware project, whether the project is created with the Nios II SBT or Eclipse, or on the command line. The makeile describes all the components o a sotware project and how they are compiled and linked. With a makeile and a complete set o C/C++ source iles, your Nios II sotware project is ully deined. As a key part o creating a sotware project, the SBT creates a makeile or you. Nios II projects are sometimes called user-managed, because you, the user, are responsible or the content o the project makeile. You use the Nios II SBT to control what goes in the makeile. January 2014 Altera Corporation Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook

4 1 4 Chapter 1: Overview o Nios II Embedded Development Nios II Programs The Nios II Sotware Build Tools chapter o the Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook provides detailed inormation about creating makeiles. Nios II Sotware Project Types The ollowing sections describe the project types that constitute a Nios II program. Application Project A Nios II C/C++ application project consists o a collection o source code, plus a makeile. A typical characteristic o an application is that one o the source iles contains unction main(). An application includes code that calls unctions in libraries and BSPs. The makeile compiles the source code and links it with a BSP and one or more optional libraries, to create one.el ile. User Library Project A user library project is a collection o source code compiled to create a single library archive ile (.a). Libraries oten contain reusable, general purpose unctions that multiple application projects can share. A collection o common arithmetical unctions is one example. A user library does not contain a main() unction. BSP Project A Nios II BSP project is a specialized library containing system-speciic support code. A BSP provides a sotware runtime environment customized or one processor in a Nios II hardware system. The Nios II EDS provides tools to modiy settings that control the behavior o the BSP. A BSP contains the ollowing elements: Hardware abstraction layer For inormation, reer to the Overview o the Hardware Abstraction Layer chapter o the Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook. Optional custom newlib C standard library For inormation, reer to the Overview o the Hardware Abstraction Layer chapter o the Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook. The complete HTML documentation or newlib resides in the Nios II EDS directory. Device drivers For inormation, reer to Nios II Embedded Sotware Projects in the Nios II Sotware Build Tools chapter o the Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook. Optional sotware packages For inormation, reer to Altera Sotware Packages or Embedded Systems. Optional real-time operating system For inormation, reer to the MicroC/OS-II Real-Time Operating System chapter o the Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook. Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook January 2014 Altera Corporation

5 Chapter 1: Overview o Nios II Embedded Development 1 5 Altera Sotware Packages or Embedded Systems Altera Sotware Packages or Embedded Systems The Nios II EDS includes sotware packages to extend the capabilities o your sotware. You can include these sotware packages in your BSP. Table 1 1 shows those Altera Nios II sotware packages that are distributed with the Nios II EDS. Table 1 1. Sotware Packages Name NicheStack TCP/IP Stack - Nios II Edition Read-only zip ile system Host ile system Description Reer to the Ethernet and the NicheStack TCP/IP Stack - Nios II Edition chapter o the Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook. Reer to the Read-Only Zip File System chapter o the Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook. Reer to the Developing Programs Using the Hardware Abstraction Layer chapter o the Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook. Additional sotware packages are available rom Altera s partners. For a complete list, reer to the Embedded Sotware page o the Altera website. Nios II Embedded Design Examples The Nios II EDS includes documented hardware design examples and sotware examples to demonstrate all prominent eatures o the Nios II processor and the development environment. The examples can help you start the development o your custom design. They provide a stable starting point or exploring design options. Also, they demonstrate many commonly used eatures o the Nios II EDS. Hardware Examples You can run Nios II hardware designs on many Altera development boards. The hardware examples or each Altera development board can be ound in the kit installation provided with the board, and on this website: Alternatively, you can use the Nios II Ethernet Standard design located at or Nios II with MMU design located at 1 The Nios II with MMU design is intended to demonstrate Linux. This design does not work with the SBT, because the SBT does not support the Nios II MMU. Sotware Examples You can run Nios II sotware examples that run on many o the hardware design examples described in the previous section. The Nios II sotware examples include scripts and templates to create the sotware projects using the Nios II SBT. These scripts and templates do everything necessary to create a BSP and an application project or each sotware example. January 2014 Altera Corporation Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook

6 1 6 Chapter 1: Overview o Nios II Embedded Development Third-Party Embedded Tools Support Figure 1 1 shows the directory structure under each hardware design example. There are multiple sotware examples and BSP examples, each with its own directory. Each sotware example directory contains a create-this-app script and each BSP example directory contains a create-this-bsp script. These scripts create sotware projects, as demonstrated in Getting Started with Eclipse in the Getting Started rom the Command Line chapter o the Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook. Figure 1 1. Sotware Design Example Directory Structure <design> (e.g. standard) Quartus II iles (e.g. standard.qp) Hardware system iles (e.g. standard.sopcino) sotware_examples app sotware examples (e.g. hello_world) bsp create-this-app BSP examples (e.g. hal_standard) create-this-bsp Third-Party Embedded Tools Support Several third-party vendors support the Nios II processor, providing products such as design services, operating systems, stacks, other sotware libraries, and development tools. For the most up-to-date inormation about third-party support or the Nios II processor, visit the Nios II Processor page o the Altera website. Additional Nios II Inormation This handbook is one part o the complete Nios II processor documentation suite. Consult the ollowing reerences or urther Nios II inormation: The Nios II Processor Reerence Handbook deines the processor hardware architecture and eatures, including the instruction set architecture. The Embedded Peripherals IP User Guide provides a reerence or the peripherals distributed with the Nios II processor. This handbook describes the hardware structure and Nios II sotware drivers or each peripheral. Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook January 2014 Altera Corporation

7 Chapter 1: Overview o Nios II Embedded Development 1 7 Document Revision History The Embedded Design Handbook describes how to use Altera sotware development tools eectively, and recommends design styles and practices or developing, debugging, and optimizing embedded systems. The Altera Knowledge Database is an Internet resource that oers solutions to requently asked questions with an easy-to-use search engine. Visit the Knowledge Database page o the Altera website. Altera application notes and tutorials oer step-by-step instructions on using the Nios II processor or a speciic application or purpose. These documents are available on the Literature: Nios II Processor page o the Altera website. The Nios II EDS documentation launchpad. The launchpad is an HTML page installed with the Nios II EDS, which provides links to Nios II documentation, examples, and other resources. The way you open the launchpad depends on your sotware platorm. In the Windows operating system, on the Start menu, point to Programs > Altera > Nios II EDS, and click Nios II <version> Documentation. In the Linux operating system, open <Nios II EDS install path>/documents/ index.html in a web browser. Document Revision History Table 1 2 shows the revision history or this document. Table 1 2. Document Revision History (Part 1 o 2) Date Version Changes January Removed reerences to Nios II IDE. Removed reerences to Nios II C2H. Updated the Hardware Examples section. May Introduced Qsys system integration tool February Removed Reerenced Documents section. July November March Installation method changed; Nios II EDS always installed in a directory adjacent to Quartus II tools. Described the Nios II Sotware Build Tools or Eclipse. Nios II IDE inormation moved to Appendix A. Detailed Nios II Sotware Build Tools utility inormation moved to Nios II Sotware Build Tools. Incorporate inormation ormerly in Altera-Provided Development Tools chapter. Describe BSP Editor. Reorganize and update inormation and terminology to clariy role o Nios II Sotware Build Tools. Describe -data argument or IDE command-line tools. Correct minor typographical errors. January 2014 Altera Corporation Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook

8 1 8 Chapter 1: Overview o Nios II Embedded Development Document Revision History Table 1 2. Document Revision History (Part 2 o 2) Date Version Changes May Add What s New section. SOPC Inormation File (.sopcino). Design examples removed rom EDS. Memory management unit (MMU) added to Nios II core. October Maintenance release. Revise entire chapter to introduce Nios II EDS design lows, Nios II programs, Nios II Sotware Build Tools, and Nios II BSPs. May Add table o contents to Introduction section. Add Reerenced Documents section. March Maintenance release. November Maintenance release. May Maintenance release. October Maintenance release. May Maintenance release. May Initial release. Nios II Sotware Developer s Handbook January 2014 Altera Corporation

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