Recently, we have been evaluating Continuous Integration (CI) systems for a variety of projects (both OSS and customer). There are many OSS options to chose from. Because we already use Docker containers for Yocto/OE builds, Concourse and Drone made the short list. Both communities seem responsive and helpful.Read More »Drone for Continuous Integration
A recent interview with a KiCad developer prompted some reflection on KiCad and EDA (electronic design automation) tools in general. Below are samples of several PCB (printed circuit board) designs, created with KiCAD, and implemented as part of the SimpleIoT project in the last couple months.
The experience has been excellent. Above all, the tool is very fast, efficient to use, and stable. Schematic and PCB integration works well enough, and routing and copper pours are easy. Switching between inches and millimeters can be done on the fly. The KiCad library has many parts in it, and other organizations, such as DigiKey, Seeed, SnapEDA, and Ultra Librarian are also providing libraries. If a KiCad symbol/footprint for a part is not already available, it is relatively easy to create new symbols and footprints as needed. There is a good KiCad support forum. KiCad is a pleasure to use and production-ready for standard PCB designs.Read More »Reflections on KiCad and EDA Tools
Some things in life you just have to experience to truly appreciate the value. One of these is auto-formatting/linting source code. When I started programming in Go in Vim, I naturally looked for editor support, and found the excellent vim-go project. Through this, I learned about gofmt and then goimports. These tools can be configured in your editor to automatically format your code when you save. goimports goes a step beyond and adds missing imports and removes unused ones.
Some time back, I gave a presentation that included an overview of the Git version control system. I still occasionally get asked why Git should be used instead of Subversion, as it seems harder at first. Most developers don’t really understand Git until they have used it for awhile, and then they will have an “aha moment.” There are 3 features of Git that are especially interesting to me:
- many repositories (vs. one large repository)
- distributed development
- cheap branches
Recently I needed to calculate NAND partition tables for a project where we will be supporting a number of different flash parts from 500MB to 2GB. I first tried this in a spreadsheet, but found it difficult to work easily with hex numbers and do the calculations I needed. I then looked into options for formatting text in columns from a program and found the nice text/tabwriter Go library. With a few lines of code, I was then able to get the below output, which is quite easy to read. The only tricky part was figuring out that for right justified data, you need to:
- not use tabs for the padding character
- add a trailing \t in the input data
As I work at the intersection of hardware and software, I spend a fair amount of time reading schematics for printed circuit boards (PCBs). I’m astounded at how sloppy most schematics are, and have come up with a few suggestions to consider.
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