Express Logic Debuts ThreadX Run-Mode Debugging for ARM RealView

4/28/2003 - Express Logic, the technology leader in embedded real-time operating systems, announced the immediate availability of ThreadX® run-mode debugging for the ARM® RealViewTM Debugger solution. Express Logic’s ThreadX real-time operating system (RTOS) for the ARM architecture boasts extremely small memory requirements as well as very high performance. ThreadX also provides many advanced features, including a picokernelTM architecture, preemption-thresholdTM, optimized software timers, and priority inheritance. The ARM RealView Debugger integration further enhances development of advanced ThreadX applications for ARM Powered® products.

Many ARM debuggers support only halt-mode debugging, which basically halts the processor indefinitely when a breakpoint is encountered or when examination of system data is required. This type of debugging presents a serious problem for real-time applications where stopping the processor causes complete system failure. For example, suppose a printer application has one or more threads performing motor control functions to guide paper through the device. If a debugger stops the processor – and all the motor control threads – very bad things can happen. Bad things like broken parts and flying gears! In this type of application, halt-mode debugging is almost useless. Until now, developers in such environments were left with printf as their primary debugging tool.

ARM’s latest release of RealView solves this problem by allowing the entire system to execute normally while debugging is being done in one or more threads. The underlying ARM processor is never halted. RealView accomplishes this by adding a small target-resident debug agent to the ThreadX application. The target-resident debug agent is responsible for managing breakpoints, basic execution control, and all data retrieval. Instead of stopping the target, RealView instructs the target-resident debug agent to stop, start, or step specific threads in the system, while other threads keep running without interruption.

RealView communicates with the target-resident debug agent through the MULTI-ICE JTAG connection, thereby requiring no hardware resources on the target. This makes the RealView run-mode debugging highly portable and virtually invisible to the application. In addition, there are no modifications to ThreadX necessary for RealView’s run-mode debugging. In situations where it makes sense, basic halt-mode debugging is still available.

In additional to run-mode debugging, ARM RealView Debugger solution also offers full ThreadX support by providing detailed visualization of execution contexts and ThreadX resources. Developers can view the source and states of multiple threads on multiple processors at once by creating a debug window for each thread of interest. The ARM RealView Debugger can also rapidly cycle through the source and state of every thread in the system. Switching between contexts is as simple as a single mouse click. The RealView Debugger’s resource viewer allows inspection of all ThreadX resources including Threads, Semaphores, Queues, Timers, Event Flag Groups, Memory Block Pools and Memory Byte Pools.

Express Logic’s vast experience with the ARM architecture has made ThreadX one of the most popular royalty free solutions for ARM system developers. ThreadX is available across the entire ARM architecture family. ThreadX for the ARM RealView Debugger includes highly optimized interrupt handling and optional nested interrupt support – for both IRQ and FIQ interrupt sources. The addition of RealView debug integration offers yet another advantage for developers.

"ThreadX for the ARM architecture is one of our most popular products. This is largely due to our licensing model and the inherent size and speed advantages of ThreadX. However, the tremendous popularity of ThreadX for ARM technology is also due to strong integration with the world class ARM RealView development solution,” says William E. Lamie, Express Logic's president. "The addition of run-mode debugging to the RealView solution will definitely help ThreadX developers get higher quality products to market in less time."

Pricing and Availability
RealView’s run-mode debugging is available today. The ThreadX-aware plug-in for the ARM RealView Debugger is provided as a Dynamic Link Library (DLL) that plugs seamlessly into the RealView debugger. It is available today – at no charge - for ThreadX developers and can be downloaded from Express Logic’s website. Please contact ARM for further details about the RealView Debugger.

About Express Logic and ThreadX
Headquartered in San Diego, CA, Express Logic offers the most advanced run-time solution for deeply embedded applications, including the popular ThreadX RTOS, the high-performance TCP/IP stack NetXTM, and the embedded MS-DOS file system FileXTM. All products from Express Logic include full source-code and have no run-time royalties. For more information about Express Logic solutions, please browse to, call 1-888-THREADX, or email inquires to

ARM and ARM Powered are registered trademarks of ARM Limited. RealView is a trademark of ARM Limited. All other brands or product names are the property of their respective holders. “ARM” is used to represent ARM Holdings plc (LSE: ARM and Nasdaq: ARMHY); its operating company ARM Limited; and the regional subsidiaries ARM INC.; ARM KK; ARM Korea Ltd.; ARM Taiwan; ARM France SAS; and ARM China. ThreadX is a registered trademark of Express Logic, Inc. NetX, FileX, preemption-threshold, picokernel, UDP fast path technology, are trademarks of Express Logic, Inc.

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