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  • Python Programming Language in Embedded Software Development - Core Roles

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    Image: Business Insider Title: Python Programming Language

     

    The deployment of embedded systems on a large scale demands inexpensive components. Considerations like low power consumption, high reliability and small size are also very significant. The specialized processor chips known as microcontrollers have been developed to meet these goals. Integrating peripherals, memory and CPU on a single chip, the modern-day microcontrollers are excellent devices. However, these features come at a significant price. A usual microcontroller has a RAM of only a few hundred bytes, ROM of several K and orders of magnitude low processing capability when compared with a conventional desktop microprocessor. This is hardly an environment for running python.

     

    Python is of exceptional value throughout the lifecycle of an embedded system. This is due to the resource - constrained nature of embedded devices that make them dependent on the standard PCs for various tasks - both during deployment and development. For example, the embedded software is compiled on the conventional desktop systems, and the object code is then loaded onto target microcontroller. Other example is troubleshooting a device in the field which generally needs extra hardware to run a diagnostic utility. For this application, normal laptops are a very attractive platform because of their relatively high level of standardization and ready availability.

     

    Thus, the vital component of every embedded software development is writing the support code that is required to run a standard PC. For this task, there are quite a few languages available but there are many benefits of python. Python is easily learned by people from different programming backgrounds like Visual Basic, C or Java. After acquiring familiarity with python, the development proceeds rapidly - much quicker than with any other programming language. At the same time, python lends itself to the generation of well structured, compact and highly readable code.

     

    The mix of features of python also help the embedded developers be more efficient while programming a PC. When these developers are familiar with C (extremely popular high level language for embedded systems) a C program written for a server or standard desktop is quite distinct in style from one for the microcontroller. Python programs’ compactness is especially vital because the developers have learned to express their designs in a small amount of code. The automated memory management of python also helps, as many embedded developers have very less experience with the dynamic memory allocation - not a practical technique in most of the embedded environments. Additionally, python’s object - oriented facilities are simple, powerful but not coercive. This enables the embedded developers to adopt gradually to the object - oriented paradigm in their work.

     

    A python program manages the software build process, allowing the firmware for various products to be placed together from many shared components. The build system is simple but a lot more flexible than the make files and easier to extend, configure and customize. Unlike the build tools that are supplied by compiler vendors, the build system based on python can work with various compilers. Python is also used for unit testing and stress tests. Python is being used by many organizations around the world for their applications’ development. Many IT developers are obtaining Python training and gaining expertise in this field because of the salary and job trends of python professionals. It is certain that the use of python will increase much more soon.

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