Updated July 5, 2023
Introduction to Embedded System Programming
Embedded programming languages are used by the developers to code the embedded systems. The programming languages provide access to low-level device hardware. There are multiple programming languages available for embedded systems. An embedded system is nothing but a combination of a computer system composed of input/output peripheral devices, computer memory elements, and computer processors. Hence they are embedded as a part of mechanical and electronic hardware components to make that machine a complete one, which is called embedded systems. The programming language for this embedded component to make it perform its real-time operation is called embedded system programming language, briefly discussed in this article.
What is Embedded System Programming?
How to learn Embedded System Programming?
To learn embedded system programming, there are certain steps to be followed to make it work efficiently in real-time.
- Be strong and proficient in C because most toolchains and microcontrollers are premeditated to support C as the effective and primary language.
- Have a basic understanding of electronics terms like current, voltage, power, ohms, resistance, etc. Try to practice a few experiments using real-time circuits and online simulators.
- Be familiar with working on electronic components like soldering iron, digital multi-meter, JTAG adapters, OMLEX adapters, ST link, and a few hardware debuggers.
- Now, to execute a compiler, the microcontroller is required, and other toolchains to load the program into hardware. So it is best to choose an STM32 kit with arm-GCC and open OCD. This combination is not user-friendly like Arduino, but application in real-time applications.
- Then, choose the components and go through the datasheets. But don’t believe it completely. Read the datasheet again and again but don’t trust it. It is just a source of knowledge and helps you to get started.
Popular embedded systems programming
The popular programming language that is preferred by the developer is C, Python, Java, and C++. Few have some advantages and limitations, which are discussed below:
- C is a compiled language and serves as a foundation for other languages. Eighty percent of the embedded industry uses C programming as it is more effective. But developers find it more complicated as it uses technical coding methods.
- C++ has most of the flavor like C and has some standard libraries, which are time-consuming. It may be complex at the beginning but can be understood as an inconsistent practice.
- Python shines in machine learning, data analytics, and artificial intelligence. It is open-source, easy to read, write and execute and available for free. As it is not language deterministic, it is not applicable for the real-time OS.
- Java is a general-purpose language that is based on internet applications and is used extensively. On the Android OS, Java is the best choice for embedded systems. Here the code is reliable and portable. So once written, it can be transported easily. Java can be complex and, at times, leads to performance issues as it works on GUI and cannot be practical in real-time systems.
Top embedded systems programming
The top embedded systems programming languages are C, C++, Java, Python, Micropython, Rust, Ada, and Assembly. C, C++, Java, and python are discussed in the above section. So the next top embedded system programming languages are discussed here.
- MicroPython: MicroPython is a version of Python which is designed for microcontrollers. It is easy to learn, open-source, and free to use. The code cannot be executed fast and use high memory space when compared to C++ and C.
- Rust: Rust is a high-level programming language developed by Mozilla for safety and performance. It helps to build secure codes with limited bugs. But it takes time to compile and is still not standardized yet. It is used for multi-stacked systems.
- Ada: Ada is extremely reliable and efficient, but it is not widely used and challenging to execute. It is used in crucial applications to detect runtime errors and array access errors.
- Assembly: Assembly is a low-level programming language designed to communicate with hardware components, and it works fast and efficiently memory. But it isn’t easy to maintain and read.
Comparison embedded systems programming
|C||C is widely used in all real-time applications and building blocks for other programming languages. It is well-known for its prompt execution, stability, and high efficiency.||Modern techniques in coding find difficult to get implemented with it. It is a low-level embedded programming language, and developers find it hard to work on it.||It is used in many embedded applications and real-time ancient environments.|
|C++||It has all functions like C and also has some different abilities that C doesn’t support. It works on a powerful standard library which is time-consuming.||It is hard to learn and execute.||It is applied in many embedded systems|
|Python||It is interpreted language where developers don’t need to cross-code compile. It is easy to learn, compile and transport the code from hardware.||It lacks static and compilation analysis, and the code should be well-checked to avoid runtime errors.||It is used in application processors and interfaces between the user and embedded systems.|
|Java||Java is portable and reliable. It can be transported easily. It is open-source and supports multi-tasking.||As it uses garbage collectors, it can lead to performance issues.||It is used in internet-based applications. It is applicable in an embedded system with other microcontrollers.|
|MicroPython||It is designed to execute on microcontrollers. It has many standard libraries which can be imported to finish the task effectively.||The code cannot be compiled fast, it operates slowly, and it consumes more time.||It is applicable in an embedded system with microcontrollers.|
Hence these are effectively embedded programming languages used widely and can be implemented according to the requirement of the user and his environment. Each has unique advantages which give its complete efficiency to get remarkable results.
This is a guide to Embedded System Programming. Here we discuss the definition, What is Embedded System Programming, How to learn Embedded System Programming?. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –