StackX enables developer to avoid stack overflow

By : |March 31, 2009 0

SAN JOSE, USA: Express Logic, Inc., leader in royalty-free real-time operating systems (RTOS), today introduced a new development tool that helps developers avoid stack overflow problems that traditionally have plagued embedded systems.

The new tool, StackX, performs a comprehensive analysis of a complete application at the executable code level, computing the worst-case stack usage the application can experience.

Express Logic is the only RTOS company that can identify how large a stack customers need for each application thread and automatically alerts them if they fail to allocate sufficient memory!

In the C programming language, the stack, a region of memory on which local variables are created and function arguments are passed, is allocated memory by the programmer, with the amount based on factors such as machine architecture, OS, application design, and amount of memory available.

When the program requires more memory for its stack than has been allocated, the stack overflows,  without warning in most cases, which can corrupt other memory areas and typically results in a program crash.

Such crashes are very difficult to trace back to the stack overflow, causing programmers to expend considerable time and energy to find the overflow. As a result, they tend to overallocate stack memory as a precaution.

StackX solves this problem for embedded developers by computing the required stack size automatically for developers, enabling them to allocate just the amount of memory needed to be safe, and avoid wasting any additional, unnecessary memory.

StackX analyzes a program’s executable (.elf) file, mapping all function calls, interrupt service routines, local variables, and any other factors related to stack usage. This enables StackX to calculate each thread’s maximum stack memory requirements.

StackX produces a “call-tree” that shows the maximum stack usage for each thread. Developers can see their program flow and are better able to optimize their code.

“Stack overflow has been the bane of embedded developers for many years, and it’s about time that someone offered a solution that’s better than trial and error,” commented William E. Lamie, president of Express Logic.

“Our new StackX stack size analyzer now enables developers to be more efficient in their use of memory for the stack, and most importantly, to avoid the difficult stack overflow bugs that have long plagued embedded systems,” Lamie added.

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