In my last blog post, I provided an overview of the work done by the Nutaq team during 2013 to improve our Advanced Development Platform (ADP) Software Tools. In this post, I reveal part of our 2014 plan to improve the user experience of our products.
When we introduced the PicoDigitizer, the PicoSDR, and the ZeptoSDR last year, we started to include a quick start guide that describes how to quickly set up the product and verify that you can communicate with it. This way, the overall operation of the product can be quickly verified, which is a great way to make sure it is working properly. One improvement planned for 2014 is to provide videos that show the product’s setup procedure. On top of that, we’ll include documentation and videos that describe how to run the included demo applications.
After you establish communication and run demo applications, you know your product works properly. At this point, you’ll want to build your own bitstream and use the MBDK development workflow to create your own application. Using the MBDK in a fully functional environment makes it possible to create a complete bitstream for an FPGA and its accompanying hardware inside a Simulink model without having to write a single line of VHDL code.
To achieve this, multiple third-party applications have to work together, as shown in the following figure.
As much as we would like to provide a complete integrated installation that would set up everything you need in a few simple clicks, the fact is that Nutaq’s tools are dependent on third-party software, each of which has its own installation procedure and licence requirements. It is not possible to install them as part as the installation process for our own tools, unfortunately.
Generally, when working with programs that need to interact, it is important to make sure that all the information they need to share about their file locations can be found in the PC’s environment variables. Nutaq ADP Software Tools are no exception. To take advantage of their power, a fully working environment includes the following properly installed third-party programs:
- Matlab 2011b
- Xilinx 13.4
- Visual Studio 2008 SP1
Most of the problems faced by our customers when trying to use our software tools for the first time are linked to configuration problems that occur during the installation process of one or more of these programs.
With these dependencies in mind, we decided that part of the plan for 2014 would be to create a video guiding our users through the complete installation procedure. It describes all the necessary steps to install the ADP Software Tools and create a fully working development environment. This video is already available and hosted on Vimeo, like many of our videos. You can watch it by clicking here or find it on the Nutaq ADP Software Tools web page.
We really hope that these short videos will help you through the installation process and make your experience with our product even more enjoyable. We know for a fact that once all the third-party software and our tools are installed properly, the efficiency gain in the development of signal processing applications with our solutions is as good as it gets.
But, this is only part of our plans for 2014! In my next blog post, I’ll go over even more improvements planned for 2014.