This article deals with programming languages for Embedded Systems. And also Bollywood… Why Bollywood you ask? Well, that’s because Embedded Systems Programming is a lot like Bollywood. Embedded Systems Programming is an exclusive industry and only a few programming languages are allowed entry because there are specific requirements such as low usage of resources as well as low-level system access. Some languages are created specifically for this purpose and yet fail (star kids!!!) while some are great successes. So without further ado, Let’s talk about Embedded Systems first.
Embedded systems are controllers that are handled using real-time operating systems. They are embedded in different devices such as smartphones, watches, cars, etc. to make them “smarter”.They are programmed using embedded systems programming that is quite different than traditional programming as it requires low-level system access and as low usage of resources as possible.
After discussing the basics of Embedded systems, Let’s now discuss the stars that inhabit this space AKA the programming languages for embedded systems.
C is like Anil Kapoor because despite being older, it is quite relevant and also very popular in embedded systems programming. Just like Anil Kapoor has a dashing profile and good acting skills, C has multiple features like low-level access to memory, a loose data typing policy, ease of porting embedded programs, etc. It is also very fast as compared to other similar programming languages which only helps its case!!!
- The loose data typing policy of C makes it quite suitable.
- It is simple to port the embedded programs from one device to the next as compared to other languages.
- The widespread community in C provides vast support for Embedded Systems Programming.
C++ is Boney Kapoor in Embedded Systems Programming. Like Boney Kapoor is not as famous as Anil Kapoor, C++ is less popular than C in regards to embedded systems but the addition of object-oriented programming makes it a great choice for veteran developers. It also has low-level access to memory like C that makes it quite suitable.
- C++ is more secure than C because of its use of string literals, enumeration constants, templates etc.
- Overloaded functions and constructors in C++ are an asset for embedded systems programming.
- The object oriented nature of C++ is also quite useful for complex embedded systems programming.
Java is the Aamir Khan of Embedded Systems Programming. While Aamir Khan can handle different types of roles in Bollywood, Java embedded system programs can be ported onto different platforms because of its WORA(“write once, run anywhere”) functionality. Also, Java is quite popular and widely used in embedded systems programming because of the various DevOps tools available.
- Java can be used to write extensible, portable, and downloadable embedded systems applications.
- There are many DevOps tools and libraries in Java that make it suitable for Embedded Systems Programming.
- The Java Virtual Machine ensures that embedded systems programmed in Java are portable and can be used for different IoT platforms.
Python is like Alia Bhatt because it is a comparatively young, yet popular language as compared to C or C++. While it is currently used in only about 5% of all embedded system code, its popularity is set to rise just like the career graph of Alia Bhatt. (Let’s Leave Kalank Aside!!!) Python is also popular in embedded systems programming because of its .
- Python is a popular language and known for its writability, concise, readable coding style, and error deduction.
- Python is much handier in the case of complicated embedded systems such as those using neural networks.
- Real time embedded systems use Python quite often. MicroPython is a good example of a lean and efficient implementation for this.
Rust is Arjun Kapoor as the language is mainly focused on safety and safe concurrency (just like Arjun Kapoor is focused on safe roles). Rust also has a similar syntax to C++ and so can be easily integrated into existing C/C++ code bases. Unlike Arjun Kapoor in movies, Rust is good in embedded systems programming because of high performance, multiple safety features, a typestate programming style as well as zero cost abstractions which makes it ideal for embedded systems programming.
- Rust allows memory management using both dynamic and static methods using various tools.
- Rust can be used to program a wide range of embedded systems from small micro controllers to large multifaceted systems.
- There is a large community support in Rust for embedded systems programming.
Ada is Akshay Kumar in Embedded Systems Programming. While Akshay Kumar is known for his patriotic movies, Ada can be called a patriotic language as it was specifically designed by the US Department of Defense for real-time embedded systems. Ada also has many safety-critical support features (so does Akshay Kumar while doing stunts) that make it useful in military applications, avionics, space systems, etc.
- Ada is useful for embedded systems programming because of strong typing, run-time checking, parallel processing, exception handling, generics etc.
- Ada packages can be compiled separately as it was created for the development of large software systems.
- Ada is used in critical systems as it supports run-time checks for bugs such as unallocated memory range violations, off-by-one errors, array access errors etc.
Lua is like Shahrukh Khan. Just as Lua was specifically designed for real-time embedded systems, Shahrukh Khan was designed for romantic roles. While Shahrukh Khan uses his charm for those (which doesn’t work these days!!!!), Lua uses a clear syntax and as low memory usage as possible. Other functionalities that are quite useful are garbage collection, coercion, closures, proper tail calls, etc.
- The base language in Lua is quite light as it has various meta-features that can be extended as required.
- Lua can implement object oriented programming using first-class functions and tables.
- Lua is cross-platform and it supports a C API that can be embedded into applications.
B# is Ranvir Singh as it is related to C and C++ (It was developed by Dennis Ritchie – Designer of C). While Ranvir Singh is excellent in acting, B# is excellent in Embedded Systems programming as it was designed primarily for it. B# has a tiny core and as low a memory footprint as possible (which certainly cannot be said about Ranvir!!!). B# also supports the object-oriented paradigm with classes, interfaces, handlers, high-level mapping, etc.
- B# is well suited for small scale embedded systems programming because of its tiny core and small memory constraints.
- B# is type safe and does not allow any pointer manipulation which is an asset in embedded systems programming.
- The code written in B# is directly mapped to a tight instruction set. This reduces the runtime in low resource embedded devices.
Verilog is Salman Khan and it is a shortened name for “VERIfication of LOGic” (which admittedly is rare in Salman Khan’s Movies!!!). Verilog is also a Hardware Description Language(HDL) and it is used frequently in embedded systems programming as it provides low-level access to the system hardware.
- Verilog can be used to design custom hardware that is required by the embedded system.
- Verilog has a module hierarchy wherein the modules can communicate with each other using the input, output, and bidirectional ports.
- The modules contain concurrent and sequential statement blocks. These blocks are executed concurrently and so Verilog is a dataflow language.
10. Embedded C++
Embedded C++ is a subpart of C++ that is definitely Sonam Kapoor as it is not very popular currently (Both the Language and the Actress). It is only used in niche roles ( Embedded C++ in Apple Inc. for the device drivers of Mac OS X and Sonam Kapoor in Romantic Movies). However, Embedded C++ was created specifically for embedded systems programming and thus it contains the useful features of C++ and omits other features such as multiple inheritance, namespaces, templates, etc.
- Embedded C++ aims to minimize the code size and maximize the execution efficiency in regards to embedded systems programming.
- A standard C++ compiler can be used to compile the embedded systems programming done in Embedded C++.
- Some of the specific compilers for Embedded C++ are provided by Freescale Semiconductor, Green Hills Software etc.