Byte Alignment and Ordering

Realtime systems consist of multiple processors communicating with each other via messages. For message communication to work correctly, the message formats should be defined unambiguously. In many systems this is achieved simply by defining C/C++ structures to implement the message format. Using C/C++ structures is a simple approach, but it has its own pitfalls. The problem is that different processors/compilers might define the same structure differently, thus causing incompatibility in the interface definition.

There are two reasons for these incompatibilities: (1) Byte Alignment Restrictions and (2) Byte Ordering.

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