Design Automation

Software development solution for Cortex-M MCUs

31 March 2021 Design Automation

Arm Keil MDK includes a leading Windows-based IDE, debugger, market leading compilers, software pack management and CMSIS. These software tools allow you to accelerate the development of your embedded software projects.

MDK offers support for over 5000 Cortex-M based devices, including Cortex-M23/M33 cores. The Windows-based ìVision IDE includes an Event Recorder and Component Viewer to show the run-time behaviour of software components. Together with the ULINKpro debug and trace adaptor, it offers full instruction trace functionality and complete code coverage information.

Software packs can be added to MDK at any time, making new device support and middleware updates independent from the toolchain. They contain device support, CMSIS libraries, software components, middleware, board support, code templates and example projects. MDK-Middleware provides royalty-free, tightly coupled software components that are specifically designed for communication peripherals in microcontrollers.

The Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) enables consistent and simple software interfaces to the processor for peripherals, realtime operating systems and middleware. It simplifies software re-use, reducing the learning curve for new microcontroller developers and cutting the time-to-market for devices.

The Arm C/C++ compilers with assembler, linker and highly optimised run-time libraries are tailored for optimum code size and performance. All Arm compilers are certified for functional safety applications and offer long-term maintenance and support. Arm Compiler 6 boasts very small code size, with various optimisation levels including link time optimisation.

A ready-to-use software framework for embedded functional safety applications is available in MDK. The blocks are fully qualified for ISO 26262, IEC 61508, IEC 62304 and EN 50128 and contain Keil RTX RTOS, an optimised C library, CMSIS-Core and the Event Recorder which helps to determine the timing behaviour of the application.

Additionally, MDK accelerates important functions for safety-related application development, such as static code analysis and MISRA checking and code coverage, which can otherwise be time consuming. MDK provides interfaces for integration with third-party unit test frameworks and can be automated easily for use in continuous integration environments.

A choice of debug probes to suit your needs

All members of the ULINK family of debug and trace adaptors enable you to download programs to your target, step through your program, insert breakpoints and debug your Arm Cortex-M based devices on-the-fly. The sophisticated ULINKpro debug probe provides high-speed data and instruction tracing that lets you analyse your program behaviour and generate the necessary code coverage information required for safety certifications.

The ULINKplus is ideally suited to optimising battery life in IoT applications. It enables software optimisation for ultra-low power applications, test automation and isolation for high-speed debug and trace of sensitive hardware systems.

For more information contact Renaldo Fibiger, Altron Arrow, +27 11 923 9600,,


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