Motion Control Resources
What Makes Rtx64 Tick?
by Terri Hawker, Director Product Management
IntervalZero Posted 08/22/2016
When you are working with RTX64, often things can be a bit opaque. You program something, you compile it into a binary and then when it comes time to run it you send it down into this black box and it will, hopefully, do the thing you wanted it to do. Things have gotten a lot clearer since I started working on this product almost 4 years ago. We created the debugger which integrates right on top of the Microsoft debugger in Visual Studios, and we created the Monitoring Framework. A Subset of APIs within the Vanguard Framework anyone can use to figure out exactly where and when a program did some very specific operation down to the tick.
In the world of Real-Time Operating Systems you want to know exactly what your operating system is doing at pretty much any given point in the system. Performance, Speed and Accuracy of when a machine will rotate one rotor or spin a gear make the difference between a smooth production line and turmoil in a factory. So when programming and testing out the code needed to do any number of things it’s useful to be able to layout a timeline of how your program performs on the RTX64 OS. The Monitoring Framework when active will record around 100+ kinds of events to help you determine what is going on behind the scenes of your program. The Information gathered is very granular, from showing when a handle is created to when a memory address is freed. The information doesn’t necessary reflect what the program is doing rather it is describing what the subsystem is doing when the user is requesting actions like CreateSharedMemory or when a Program is reading and writing to that location. It will help the user find out when the subsystem actually gets around cleaning up and how much activity is generated by a program at certain times.
The API’s created to support the monitoring of all these events was pretty simple. The Subsystem, while monitoring was turned on would record a series of binary files into a directory, this would represent a session and then the API’s would take those binary files and parse them into an object which could then be read into a program or just converted in a string. The amounts of information generated by the Monitoring sessions were daunting to say the least, so we contracted out to Percepio to have them integrate the information generated by our Monitoring Framework into their Graphical UI using our robust set of API’s to get the needed information. The end result turned out really well. Letting us see a bird’s eye view of a timeline of events that are separated by which thread they happen on and/or which processor they are executed on. This allows for us, the developers, to get a much faster diagnosis of what’s happening under the hood and isolate where we need to debug. This also allows for users to see what their program is doing at exact times of execution and to get an idea of how to improve and optimize their code to run even better on our Real-time Operating System.