The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about platforms. Exactly what constitutes a “platform” is unobvious and left to the reader, however. In some cases, they’re so obscure that you have to pull teeth to find out what the platform actually contains.
Many of the platforms are about the connection between Things and the Cloud (and the Phone). But Express Logic recently introduced their X-Ware Platform, targeted at IoT applications, and its focus is on basic Thing OS and middleware: all of the pieces that allow a Thing to communicate, take on peripherals, store files, and so forth. (To be clear, this platform requried no teeth-pulling to suss out.)
This follows what seems to be a trend: while embedded engineers used to piece together the elements that make up a system, now much of that work is being pre-done or pre-bundled. It would appear to serve two purposes: development goes faster for the engineer and the seller gets all the pieces rather than having their technology intermixed with someone else’s. That would seem to be a win-win (assuming that all pieces of the bundle work well).
In Express Logic’s case, they’ve bundled their ThreadX RTOS with NetX, USBX, FileX, GUIX, and TraceX offerings together to provide basic OS, connectivity (TCP/IP), USB host functionality, file management, GUI design, and “event analysis” (for debugging and profiling) capabilities.
In addition to bundling the middleware, they’ve “pre-ported” it – not just for ARM, but for specific development boards using ARM. This means that all of the board-support stuff has already been done for the specific peripherals and configurations of those boards, further saving time. Their ARM focus is described as “initial,” but ARM is everywhere, with a bazillion lines of code already out there. I’m sure other processors can get supported, but I’ll wager they have a hard row to hoe.
X-Ware also ties in with IAR’s development environment, enabling what they call “RTOS-aware debugging” – making it easier to track threads and tasks when sorting out issues.
And they’ve included 15 different demos – most of them for each of the components in the bundle, with one that’s a medical demo combining the whole lot.
You can get more detail in their announcement.