Have you ever noticed that sometimes the source of inspiration or clarity can come from the most unlikely source? Recently I was listening to a talk back sports radio show where one of the hosts was asked the question, “What has been the biggest change to Football in the last 40 years?”. To add some context here, ‘Football’ is the Australian variety (AFL), which for our international readers can seem quite strange at times. Two teams of 22 players, 18 on an oval field at any one time, using an oval shaped ball. The fundamentals of the game are reasonably simple.
Ok so back to the radio show, and the answer was “Interchanges (substitutions)”. In years gone by, a substitute was generally only used by coaches when someone was injured or playing poorly, with the accepted thinking being you wanted your best players on the field. Then one coach started substituting even his best players every 7 or 8 minutes. The impact was profound because it meant that players could play at maximum capacity in short bursts for longer. So profound was the impact that every team soon followed the same trend.
Reality is that virtual platforms are never going to completely replace hardware testing. Recognise as well that not every test you develop can or should be run on a virtual platform. Does that mean virtual platforms should be bypassed and you continue to wait for hardware to become available? Of course not. VLAB Works is developing flexible virtual platforms that allow developers to quickly get running as many tests as make sense. This may mean that the virtual platform is only a partial representation or derivative of the target hardware. But does that really matter?
By simply challenging your assumptions, the long established benefits of early debug and testing are within reach. The added benefit is that software is generally more robust, particularly to differences in timing, and portable between hardware architectures.